1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. MSC Cruises
  4. MSC Cruises Cruise Reviews

262 MSC Cruises Repositioning Cruise Reviews

we chose this cruise for the itinerary the ship is ok the cabin was fine dining was not good in the bora bora food was cold or luke warm restaurant was better but still on occasions it was only warm entertainment was better when we were at ... Read More
we chose this cruise for the itinerary the ship is ok the cabin was fine dining was not good in the bora bora food was cold or luke warm restaurant was better but still on occasions it was only warm entertainment was better when we were at sea for 12 days not able to dock anywhere we had a great waiter whose name is Dinmark one off the best waiters we have ever had on a cruise embarkation was a joke some people waited from as early as 8am to embark we embarked after 11pm waiting since 5pm we were told we would embark at 6pm disembarkation because of the coronavirus was a shambles too no one checking if anyone had a temperature before they got off the ship now we have had an email from MSC saying some passengers tested positive for the virus all they were concerned about was getting the ship to Genova Italy they left 12.08 the day we disembarked after saying the ship was staying in Marseille for 30 - 45 days not true Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I booked this cruise 3 days before the virus hysteria started. I chose it because it was very cheap (about 40 euro person/day) with an Ok itinerary. It turned out to be probably the best and definitely the most luxurious cruise in my ... Read More
I booked this cruise 3 days before the virus hysteria started. I chose it because it was very cheap (about 40 euro person/day) with an Ok itinerary. It turned out to be probably the best and definitely the most luxurious cruise in my life. First of all, because of the virus MSC completely remade the first half of the cruise, making the itinerary much better than I initially booked. Instead of the freezing and wet Shanghai, Okinawa and Hong Kong, which were cancelled, MSC moved the embarkation to Singapore and added Langkawi, Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Saigon (that's two more ports than the original route!), and all the itinerary was in the perfect tropical weather! The itinerary became MILES better. They let us embark a day earlier, Feb 13th, with no extra charge. I know the ship came 1 hour later than promised and there was about 2 hour line of people who came by the announced embarkation time, but thankfully I found out about that when still at the airport, walked around the city, came at 10 pm and was onboard in 10 minutes with no hassle. There were just 1300 passengers onboard(the max capacity is 4300!), all the rest got afraid of the virus and (stupidly) cancelled. That turned all the ship into the Yacht club. :) Indeed, the ship felt more like a huge private yacht. I had absolutely no problem finding a sunbed in a shadow, in the sun or whatever at any place of the ship you like, no problem in the buffet, any seat you like in the theater, getting on a tender, whatever. Everything was free and empty. I had an internal guarantee, a free upgrade to a balcony cabin in the perfect location (right near the midship elevators) made it the absolute luxury. The food was so-so for the first few days ( I guess they had groceries problem), but then after Kuala Lumpur it became quite good and was like that till the end of the cruise. Of course the entertainment is a great challenge for a cruise of that length. It was a bit monotonous, most nights were one man shows with 2-3 shows by the same person, but they chose the right people for that and it was definitely not boring. There were also four really beautiful production shows, so I'd say the entertainment was good for this type of a cruise. The animation team probably lacked great ideas a bit (nothing compares to "the Quest" by RCI:) but they tried really hard and were a highlight of the cruise. They were friends to every passenger onboard. The service on the ship was top notch, I felt like I had three personal concierges. :) (probably also because there were so few passengers onboard). I didn't use any ships' shore excursions, they were extremely overpriced as usual and I always found the same in the port at least twice cheaper. (The record was the dhow cruise in Khasab which was 86 euro per person onboard, and I found it for just 25 US dollars on the shore with an almost private dhow, just 10 people onboard! Guys, seriously, revise your excursions prices, that's just ridiculous). The second half of the cruise, as the virus hysteria progressed, was less lucky than the first, we missed two ports, Kochin and Colombo and had a trans-Indian non-stop with 7 days at sea. But Kochin was proactively replaced wirh Khasab, and Colombo was closed on a very short notice, MSC couln't do anything about it. And we still received 100 euro per cabin for the missed Colombo. And I had a wonderful time on the empty ship with a great service and my drink package :) At the end we weren't allowed into Abu Dhabi, arrvied 1 day earlier in Dubai (which they somehow persuaded to let us in, it was officially closed too) and were still able to visit Abu Dhabi by a free bus provided by MSC. Overall I had one MORE port than I booked and a 100 euro compensation. My special praise to the people who managed the routing and port admissions, they did THE IMPOSSIBLE in this situation. For other examples - we were the first and probably the last ship admitted to Saigon, Oman was a serious doubt, etc... These people really deserve a fat bonus in my opinion. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Boarded MSC Prezoscia in Barcelona had lunch explored ship then went to our Aurea experience room on deck 12 beautiful large balcony room plenty of space, spacious balcony such a comfy bed. Our steward Ryan was amazing so thoughtful and ... Read More
Boarded MSC Prezoscia in Barcelona had lunch explored ship then went to our Aurea experience room on deck 12 beautiful large balcony room plenty of space, spacious balcony such a comfy bed. Our steward Ryan was amazing so thoughtful and great at his job. We ate at The Golden Lobster restaurant our waiters Pula and Freedom looked after us so well they were amazing, we never wanted for a thing, food was great and plenty of it we never went hungry. Well done boys, there were 6 of us seated and we got on so well and thank you Peter John Angela and Gareth for your company every evening, we had such fun, you made our cruise evenings very special. We visited Malaga Tenerife 5 sea days ( that was very relaxing) saw whales on the way over, then reached Barbados we visited Antigua St Kitts and Nevis St Martin Martinique Guadeloupe St Lucia and back to Barbados for our flight home. It was a fantastic cruise made special by great people. A very happy ship great officers and crew interaction. White Nights were fun. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Told 4 crew about the ordeal including reception who told us "Management has been informed". But nobody ever came to see us or even check if we were ok. Sent an email to customer service department highlighting that this was ... Read More
Told 4 crew about the ordeal including reception who told us "Management has been informed". But nobody ever came to see us or even check if we were ok. Sent an email to customer service department highlighting that this was totally appalling, but they didn't see it that way - "I’m sorry to hear that you felt a lack of support from staff on board. Unfortunately, after the local police have been informed of an incident there is not much that can be done from the ship’s side, as the issue is with the local policing authorities." Wow! Not much that can be done? Not sure if that lives up to any basic duty of care standards. Needless to say we have now cancelled our cruise we had booked on the Meraviglia which was to be our honeymoon, having now had some insight into how little MSC actually care about their passengers. Putting that major concern aside - observations below. previous cruises include NCL, Cunard, P&O and MSC Seaside. Cruise was Genoa, Italy to Santos, Brasil - 19 days. Ship itself is nice as we expected having done a 7 night Caribbean on the Seaside previous which we had loved. Ship developed an operational problem early on which meant it would run slower - as a result Malaga was cancelled. 100 Euro ship credit per cabin was offered. This had knock on effects for us however as the port times were also changed for the remaining European stops. We had to cancel most of our excursions (we had organised independently) because of this. Embarkation was extremely smooth (multiple options for joining ports for the cruise helped), but there were a number of times on the trip with big delays getting off at port stops after docking (up to 3 hours). Unsure the background why. Dining was a major letdown compared to previous cruises (even MSC Seaside). Although I actually think the buffet is excellent, and the additional buffet on Deck 16 has themed dinners for a bit of variety. Noticed a huge difference in table accessibility in the buffet though early on in the cruise with less favourable European weather compared to the South America leg. These ships are really designed for good weather and the usable space decreases dramatically if everyone is forced inside. A few times we gave up and just took our plates back to the room. But the biggest food disappointment was the main dining room. Actually stopped eating here half way through the cruise. Just terrible. Twice I had to send my tomato basil penne back (btw not a single hint of basil anywhere?) as it was still crunchy. Likewise even simple things like steamed fish were often under-cooked. Did do the Roy Yamaguchi experience package (prebooked before we sailed) which gave you 3 different nights, Sushi, Teppanyaki and Fusion. Sushi and Fusion were great, Teppanyaki absolutely everything was covered in butter which tasted almost tainted and it went right through the food. Note that even if you have a drinks package (we did) it does not cover any orders in the specialty restaurants - so you will be paying for water and anything else you order. Talking with the wait staff it seems none of the specialty restaurants were getting many bookings, so half their job involved wandering around the ship selling packages (usually when people were trying to eat their food in the buffets etc). Wore a bit thin getting bothered 50 times a day after 2+ weeks of cruising! Prebooked a spa package that included a couple of massages and a day pass to the Thermal Suite area. Massages were fine, awkward after each though with the (almost begging) hard sell to book again on the spot. Thermal suite we really enjoyed. Snow room, a couple of wooden sauna rooms, scented steam rooms with funky lighting, a relax on lounger salt room, a big spa pool, and stone heated loungers (but only 2 of these so you have to be lucky). Also scented showers - the cool temp one particularly refreshing. There was one other room that you were supposed to walk around while jets of water come up from the ground but it was a waste of space. Another bonus is there is an outside deck are you can only access through the thermal suite, with deck loungers and a spa pool looking straight out to sea. Entertainment was a mixed bag. Generally the guest acts were average, and the actual MSC Seaview singer/dancer/acrobat crew were excellent. Only exception to this was a rather lackluster show staged as a Tina Turner tribute. Shows are scheduled 3 times a night and you have to book for the one you want through the app or touch screens around the ship. Pays to check when they open up (sometimes the day before, sometimes 2 days) as slots often booked out. They scan your card when you enter the theatre to make sure you have booked. You can try your luck without a booking however - as they let people in 5-10 mins before the show starts if there are spare seats. Haven lounge (which was our favourite on Seaside) was hurt by having rotating sets of Duos, who while all talented in their own right, were very much similar so became quite boring after the first week. Still we spent a fair amount of time there after establishing that's where the best barista did most of his shifts. Coincidentally the best coffee on the Seaside also was from the same lounge. Another note on the drinks package - you can no longer use it in the Venchi cafe for coffees or hot chocolates (we could on the earlier Seaside cruise). Service itself was patchy. Room steward was quite shy but lovely, the haven lounge staff fantastic and they got to know us. Elsewhere it would depend on the day as to whether you had to go searching for drinks and whether you'd get a smile or a scowl. Port stops we mostly ended up just looking around adhoc due to the schedule changes. Used to onboard credit for the basic shuttle a few times - they were typically 15-19 euros. Tenerife went to La Laguna which was quite good (although devastated we had to cancel our rental car, chairlift and hiking permit for Mt Teide). Note it is very easy to get to La Laguna on public transport taking a tram or bud to the main depot (or 15 mins walk) and then a direct express bus there (40 mins). It cost use less than 5 Euro each vs the ship shuttle at 52 Euro. Ilheus is a nothing stop, Rio had been before and Salvador is where we had the incident so no fond memories there. In short it is sad it worked out like it did. There are a lot of mixed reviews for MSC out there but we did have a good time ourselves on the Seaside and had high hopes we had found a good match in cruise line, liking the design innovation and generally upbeat vibe. It took me a while to write to MSC as it kind of involved reliving some unpleasantness, but then I was as amazed by the response maybe as much as the lack of concern on the ship at the time. They make a big effort positioning themselves in their advertising as the "biggest privately owned" cruise line in the world. I can see now that is just meaningless drivel, because if it is implying that means they somehow care more about their passengers.... they don't. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
First time cruising with MSC and we were left with mixed feelings. The ship could not really be faulted, being the first voyage from Southampton to Barcelona the ship and everything on board was brand new! Our cabin was well appointed and ... Read More
First time cruising with MSC and we were left with mixed feelings. The ship could not really be faulted, being the first voyage from Southampton to Barcelona the ship and everything on board was brand new! Our cabin was well appointed and modern with many USB ports and universal power outlets, which you would expect from a new ship. We found the entertainment to be interesting, some nights the shows were good and others not so good. As there are many different nationalities on on board it seemed difficult for them to lay on something to everyone taste. As the majority of the cruise was at sea some days we just wanted to do something simple like watch a movie. Other lines like Princess do movies under the stars played on the sea screens. We were shocked that the sea screen on board was not once used to show Movies, TV, or anything other than a picture of a palm tree in the Caribbean, which for a sailing with 4 sea days in the middle of November was depressing to look at to say the least. It was little things like this that seemed odd and could have greatly improved our experience. The cruise we embarked on was due to be a 5 night voyage from Southampton on 13th November to Barcelona, making just one overnight stop at Lisbon. Due to bad weather on the Iberian Peninsula in Bay of Biscay meant that the ship had to stay in port until Friday 15th at the earliest until the weather passed. This was obviously out of the control of MSC and a decision taken in the interest of safety which we could understand. However, it did mean that our one and only stop (Lisbon) would be missed and we then sailed straight to Barcelona arriving one day later than planned on Tuesday 19th. This meant as we booked our cruise and flights separately, we would have to make the flight changes with BA ourselves. BA charged us the full penalty to change flights to new dates, which was understandable. MSC Cruises made it clear in an email sent the night before we were due to board, that all expenses incurred to change flights or hotels ect. would be reimbursed following proof of receipts being sent to their customer helpline email. I was advised on board by guest services that if I sent this across on boarding day (13th Nov) this would be refunded by the end of the cruise (19th Nov). However, at the time of writing this (13 Jan 2020) I am still awaiting a reimbursement for my expenses; £200 total. I first received an automatic reply saying that it may take up to 28 days to receive a response, so me being patient and calm I waited the 28 days from the point of sending the email and ........... did not receive a response. I gave them the grace of a week before calling to enquire of the status and they said that there was large backlog they were working through due to the high volumes of guests that were affected. Although, I found this odd as the ship did not take on a full load at Southampton. Anyway, after numerous calls and emails I kept being fobbed of with the lines "We have your claim and we are in the process of arranging it with the most sacred OPERATIONS TEAM, who strangely enough your not allowed to talk too, lucky for them because writing this on 13th January 2020 and not having my money back, I do have a lot to say to them and the way they treat customers. I would like to add that throughout the whole cruise and after the cruise I have been calm, patient and courteous in inquiring and making my claim, however this has got me no where and i'm starting to think that only the passengers who shout, kick up a fuss and come across as rude to guest services and call center staff get there money back. This is sad and is not right. I can honestly say that even though our cruise itinerary was massively impacted, we did enjoy the ship and ships crew. However, I have been left with a bad taste in my mouth with how I have been treated and fobbed off. I have been left £200 out of pocket over Christmas and lied to about how long the process should take. I can honestly say that MSC would not be on my list of cruise lines to cruise with in the future and I will stick to the legacy lines like, Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean who have been far better in customer service in the past. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Who could not get excited about being one of the first to sail a brand new ship?  The smell of the new carpets and furniture and how everything shined and glimmered was just perfect and it was a pleasure to sail her. However her maiden ... Read More
Who could not get excited about being one of the first to sail a brand new ship?  The smell of the new carpets and furniture and how everything shined and glimmered was just perfect and it was a pleasure to sail her. However her maiden voyage was not plain sailing and we were stuck in Southampton due to bad weather in the Atlantic, thus missing the port of Lisbon and overnight stay.   Yes this was very disappointing but when you saw the forecast you could understand why the captain chose to delay departure.. why take a brand new ship through a huge storm!? The ship itself is simply beautiful.  As soon as you board you are greeted by the stunning Galleria and it took us the whole first day to walk around and discover the ship.   Although I know its big it was bigger than expected  The ship was kept spotless throughout the cruise and it the design throughout is stunning.  From the signature crystal staircase to the impressive Galleria with the LED roof and the lovely pool deck, everything is beautiful.    Food and Drink - Expectations were low as MSC does not get a good rap for food, however the MDR food was well above par.   Food in the Buffet restaurant was also very good.   We found the speciality restaurants a little overpriced and also you could not use your drinks package in any of them (unless you are on premium deluxe package) so adding drinks to the cost would mean around €50-€60 per head which is not worth it given the MDR was very good anyway.   Bars were all very nice.  We loved the British Pub which was very authentic and also the Sky Lounge which was the most relaxing bar on the ship with the best service.   Entertainment seemed always be shoved in the Grandiosa lounge and never anywhere else.   Drinks package was a bit confusing..  so we took the easy package which allows you to have any drink up to €6 value..  easy right?  Wrong..  So in the British Bar you can have a pint of Heineken for €6 but if you want a pint of Heineken Lite for €6 you can't because this is one of many exceptions.   OK so if I want a drink that's €6.50 (like most are) then I just pay the difference, right?  Wrong, you pay the full amount! Fancy a tea in L'Atelier Bistrot lounge, watching the world go by on the Galleria..  this will cost you, even though the very same tea is available for FREE in the buffet area or the same coffee included in your drinks package..  MSC just don't do easy!  Facilities - It was a shame this is a winter cruise as the facilities outside are fantastic.   Thankfully we had great weather when we were in off the coast of Portugal and the ships outside space came alive.  The rope walk is fantastic!!  Very scary at first and a lot harder than I thought but once I conquered it I did it again and again.. and the views are breathtaking!   The aquapark is also really good fun with 3 slides which would wow both adults and kids.   The indoor facilities such as bowling and the virtual race car all acquire an extra fee and a large one at that.   If you want to do them all you need to pay well over €100pp.  Bowling for a family of four is over €60 for one hour with show hire!!    Keeping a family happy on this ship will cost you! In the safari pool there are fusball and ping pong tables which are free however you need to go to the other side of the ship to ask for the equipment..  like a lot of things on MSC this did not make sense! Entertainment - This is a mix of amazing, good and VERY bad.Firstly the amazing -  We went to the Cirque de Soleil show 'Eccentrics' and loved it.   My only complaint is it was too short, under an hour.   However well worth it. All the theatre shows were very good but short (35 mins), from an amazing pianist to the general shows put on by the dancers and singers.    Theatre is a little small though so on busy cruises make sure you book.  (easy to do on the screens around the ship) Now the bad - the entertainment crew were AWFUL!!   They all congregate in the Grandiosa lounge and either shout and dance like drug fuelled teenagers or drag you up to dance and then instantly look uncomfortable and uninterested.  The whole thing was just cringy and uncomfortable to watch.   Activities during the day were either dance classes, which were actually done quite well by two dance teachers, or games put on by the awful entertainment crew.   Quizzes were terrible with the crew (around 10 of them)  screaming down a mic and yelling and dancing at any given moment.  They actually turned an art quiz into a rave!!  This was cruise number 16 for me and by far the worst, most immature and unprofessional entertainment crew experienced.    Cabins  - We were originally in a cabin on the 8th deck with obstructed view.   The view itself was not an issue and its compensated by bigger balconies, however we were above the British pub and my parents were above the TV studio bar and sadly there is NO sound insulation so the music thumos through til 1am.   AVOID these at all cost!!!    Another negative about the cabins (all cabins) is the lack of sotrage.   Cabins seem slightly smaller than the most ships and the storage is tiny!   12 hangers for 2 people on a 7 night cruise!!!   Pack some from home if you don't want to double up.  Beds are very comfy though.  Lastly I cannot write a review without mentioning ZOE, the in room virtual assistant!   MSC, what a huge waste of money!!   Unless they use it to listen in on you I cannot see why they thought this was a good idea.. it was so pathetically bad it was entertaining.   The only thing ZOE can say is ask customer relations or turn on the info on your tv!!    So overall, and despite the delay, we had a fantastic cruise on a beautiful ship.  I loved the ship but am not a fan of MSC.. if this ship was Celebrity or even RCCL it would be the best.  Our sailing was just over 2000 passengers so my experience was quite unique.  I don't think it would be the same at full capacity and I fear it would be awful when full.   Even with 2000 it felt busy at certain times.  Due to lack of entertainment I would say this is more a summer ship than winter ship but that all depends on what you want out of the cruise.    Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I spent two nights in Marseille, France, before the cruise began. Because of weather conditions we were taken by coach to Cannes where we boarded. I was in an inside cabin on deck 11, which was quiet adequate for my needs. The ... Read More
I spent two nights in Marseille, France, before the cruise began. Because of weather conditions we were taken by coach to Cannes where we boarded. I was in an inside cabin on deck 11, which was quiet adequate for my needs. The stewards, Donald and Mariavan, were very helpful and caring. I was very satisfied with the food on board, both buffet and dining room. I did not find the entertainment in the theatre to my liking but that was not a problem. There was music in some of the lounges which I enjoyed. I found the lectures given by Susan about the ports we were to visit very informative. For me service overall was very good. I enjoyed the ports that we visited. In Europe I did not take the excursions but I took those offered in Brazil. Some guides' command of English was not great but otherwise I enjoyed them. I would go again but it will take a lot of saving to be able to afford another cruise! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
My husband and I chose this cruise as it covered the Med, Suez, Petra and Ports in the Middle East. We arrived in Barcelona for check in which took 3 hours as there were so many people boarding and not enough staff to check us all in. ... Read More
My husband and I chose this cruise as it covered the Med, Suez, Petra and Ports in the Middle East. We arrived in Barcelona for check in which took 3 hours as there were so many people boarding and not enough staff to check us all in. The cabin was nice, double bed, sofa bed and balcony. The staff in the sit down restaurant were from Bali and all very nice people and very good at their job. The food offered at the restaurant was of acceptable standard, and the wine very nice. But then we get to the ship itself..... there was noise and loud music playing everywhere, no where to sit quiet and read a book....only on your own balcony. You cannot walk to the front of the ship as this is reserved for the Yacht Club only. The announcements were done in 6 or 7 languages and one announcement went on for 50 minuites in all of the languages!! The "organisation" of the excursions was somewhat chaotic....the Market place buffet was awful, not the food or the staff.....the mass of people all trying to grab food.....like, really!?!? The volume of thousands of people all talking made breakfast and lunch there AWFUL. The pool areas were just a mass of sunbeds crammed in, every bed touching the other, so you had to chose your area very carefully! We feel that all MSC have chosen to do, was to cram in as many paying passengers (Cattle) as possible on to this Ship...completely forgetting there are other aspects customers expect when cruising. The entertainment was hit and miss. Some good shows, but some a bit weak. Cirque du Soleil was very good. No, I will not be going on any MSC Cruise again!!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Staff in the Lighthouse restaurant were fabulous and service exceptional, in particular Iveth Valle and Ovilen Pumbien. Our cabin attendant Juli Antara was also amazing. Trushant Ligam from masters of the seas was a very professional ... Read More
Staff in the Lighthouse restaurant were fabulous and service exceptional, in particular Iveth Valle and Ovilen Pumbien. Our cabin attendant Juli Antara was also amazing. Trushant Ligam from masters of the seas was a very professional employee & always remembered our name and our family members. Eka was also very efficient and very new to the ship. These staff were very accommodating and work very hard. The negative experiences for our family was the attitude of majority of passengers, rude and pushy and at times staff just let them push in even when there was a line. Hygiene is important and staff were not able to enforce this in buffet and restaurants, and people would wash there mouth out in the sink where you should be washing your hands!! Disgusting! too much up sell, I felt sorry for the staff who literally stalked you to upgrade or buy something. If people want to buy something extra they will. We had access to the spa as part of our package and were still hounded as we walked out. We had the drinks package and to our shock this was not unlimited as advertised. Of course, again we had to pay extra as the limit was $5 euro for a glass of wine, and of course there were two to choose from (the cheapest and most horrible wines) and all others were at least $5.50 euro. Very strategic tactic to con paying passengers. After a week on board I became very unwell, visited doctor and was diagnosed with chest infection and treated with medication and antibiotics. I also suffered sea sickness and asked to change rooms, to a lower level as we were on 13 and was told that we could not downgrade. Again, how ridiculous when we had already paid and I was not asking for money back. We were very excited when planning this trip and looking forward to cruising on the new ship and it is a shame that we felt so let down. There was no where to sit and enjoy the outdoors, the front of the ship is closed off to those who can afford it and the outside area at the back is way to small for all the passengers on board, and the designated smoking areas were not enforced. I would hate to be be on the ship when all the children would be on, another 1000 people would make it even worse. I understand that the company can not control the behavior of passengers, but the lack of consideration to people when seeking assistance is very unhelpful. The main customer area was staffed with unhappy and unhelpful staff who always appeared that they did not want to be there, again these staff are key to the service and who ever managed this team perhaps needs some help in increasing staff morale. We have cruised on many cruise lines before and I know that it is probably not been worth writing this review. However, I would really hope that the staff I have mentioned above are made aware of what a great a job they are doing and how grateful we were as they made the cruise for us, funny how it only takes a few people. MSC please take more time to care for your staff and for the people on board and not use it as an opportunity to make more money. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Itinerary was very good Barcelona to Dubai via Suez Canal. 19 days so plenty of time to check out most things. Embarkation at Barcelona was a nightmare. Three hours to board & no organisation in terminal what-so-ever. Cabin very ... Read More
Itinerary was very good Barcelona to Dubai via Suez Canal. 19 days so plenty of time to check out most things. Embarkation at Barcelona was a nightmare. Three hours to board & no organisation in terminal what-so-ever. Cabin very good. Dining in restaurant & buffet very good. No complaints about the food at all. Entertainment was poor, especially for a 19 day cruise. Same trio or quartet in two of the bars every night. In the Sky Bar it was the same trio every night, singing the same songs every night!!!! I would class a lot of the entertainment as self creating. Watching people dancing or watching people learning to dance. Theatre shows were of mixed quality. Cirque Du Soleil was very good. We went to the 2 different shows they put on. The large screen by the pool showed, for example Duke Ellington in concert, they were all very old videos! We went on 3 excursions from the ship. Two were very good, but one was an absolute nightmare. On this one, at Muscat, the guide was a disgrace! 1) Didn´t know how many people should have been on the tour, so put everyone´s name in his table & then we had a roll call after every stop. Should have known the expected number & then do a headcount! Started off the excursion by asking if everyone was there !! 2) 2.5 hours late getting back to ship, so we went from 9:30 - 16:30. He gave us a bottle of water to keep us going, nothing to eat. Held up by waiting for non-existent people. 3) People at back of coach could not hear him, as we set off from ship. He turned the volume up, but that didn´t help, so he switched the whole thing off & we never heard another word from him on the coach all day. I went to MSC Excursions to let them know what a disaster the excursion had been & took time to write everything down. I wanted them to know so that they did not employ this guy again, as I didn´t want anyone else to waste their money. The lady on the desk did not seem interested, and told me to go to reception to ask for a refund. I told her that I was not doing this to get money back, but for the reason I explained above. Only when I said I wasn´t after a refund did she show any interest. I have not had any response from MSC Excursions. Overall, enjoyed the cruise, but some things need improvement. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
The cruise taken- Genoa to Dubai 16 nights. I was aware from the start when booking this cruise that 9 days would be at sea. Having taken over 80- cruises, that's fine by me. Unfortunately it's a shame MSC didn't ... Read More
The cruise taken- Genoa to Dubai 16 nights. I was aware from the start when booking this cruise that 9 days would be at sea. Having taken over 80- cruises, that's fine by me. Unfortunately it's a shame MSC didn't provide us with much in the way of keeping us occupied! In my opinion the first of what you might call a decent show wasn't provided until the 6th night? Activities during the day were so limited, I became very bored very quickly! I went to every lecture, that on the whole were very good, but come on, you have a captive audience, give us some variety! The ship looks nice, as with all their modern ships I would describe the decor as Italian glitz! Having said this the promenade looked nice, but functionally didn't work? Large area's of space were filled with services that hardly anybody used, e.g, a huge chocolate shop//cafe and over priced shops. Unlike Royal Caribbean, who's Royal Promenade, buzzed with life every evening as they have a pizza and snack bar, the food provided was free and Irish pub that brings people together! I agree with other comments made about the staff also, who didn't seem to work well as a team or make much effort to be chat with passengers. On attending a welcome back party the officers didn't seem to want to mix with passengers and the captain spoke to us from the seventh floor, while we were all the 6th! For a cruise in the med this maybe less noticeable, but MSC, need to work much harder at providing good customer service and not appearing arrogant! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
This was my first MSC cruise. The Meraviglia is huge - but it never felt crowded. It has a good layout, centered by an atrium featuring the (to date) largest LED ceiling at sea. My balcony cabin was comfortable (especially the pillows!). ... Read More
This was my first MSC cruise. The Meraviglia is huge - but it never felt crowded. It has a good layout, centered by an atrium featuring the (to date) largest LED ceiling at sea. My balcony cabin was comfortable (especially the pillows!). Not much storage space for two on a longer cruise, but you can make it work. The staff is friendly and works hard, although I sense an undercurrent of dissatisfaction with management - one which I share. Often, managerial decisions caused inconvenience and traveler frustration. MSC's multi-language communication (in print and verbal) leaves something to be desired. The biggest drawback of the cruise was the food. The line still does early / late dinner sittings and flex dining is only for those in premium class. Not one meal went by without something returned to the dining room. Menu items were not hot, bland, unseasoned, and sometimes not even what they were listed as when they showed up at the table! The specialty restaurants were no exception. Do not be lured in by their "experiences" - where you must chose from a restricted menu. Ocean Cay (the seafood restaurant) only offered five choices, three of which were pasta dishes! The Butcher's Cut (steak house), served chopped and formed previously frozen onion rings like the type sold at Burger King. The Kaito Sushi Bar requires you to sit "outside" (in the atrium) where gawkers watch you eat and lurch into your table when the ship rocks. The good news is that the room service is free if you don't order hot food (continental breakfast and lunch of sandwiches and salads). They brag that they make all their pasta onboard, but this is not always true. Most, but not all! The Market Buffet often is the best choice because of their delicious pizza, fresh mozzarella, and fresh-baked breads. Also, when something comes right off the buffet grill or is carved in front of you, at least it is hot! The buffet, however, is basically the same night after night with no themed nights. This cruise packed six ports in six days. Martinique, Sin Maarten, Curacao, Barbados, Grenada, and Aruba. I only wish MSC would stop patronizing ports that imprison LGBTQ people. Barbados is particularly egregious - life in jail. Disgraceful. We were scheduled to be the first to visit MSC's private island Ocean Cay - but it was announced mid-cruise we would be going to Jamaica instead (another island unfriendly to the LGBTQ community). The line offers a nightly gay and lesbian meeting, so it is a big of a contradiction. I took two MSC-sponsored shore excursions, both of which were well managed and pleasant. I would definitely travel MSC again - provided they get their act together in the dining room! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Food like Europe style. Food is ok. But lamb and steak yummy, new and clean and comfortable. Price is good, show is good. But different from Royal Caribbean cruise style. Staff always friendly and lovely. Always do their best. Nothing ... Read More
Food like Europe style. Food is ok. But lamb and steak yummy, new and clean and comfortable. Price is good, show is good. But different from Royal Caribbean cruise style. Staff always friendly and lovely. Always do their best. Nothing complain. Many ports within walking distance. Nice ports and pretty place. Travel w my husband. Have basketball and soccer and table tennis tournaments. Fun and ppls can group together. Didn’t feel boring. Many activities. Staff alway will help. Really clean everywhere, staff always work hard and work heart. Many Europe ppls join. Can meet a lot of countries ppls. Many languages. Staff always take care u, and always remember u. Always concern u. I didn’t join their excursion. No comment. But I will join msc Cruises again. I did join many cruises b4. Carnival princess Royal Caribbean.... but what I feel msc is best vales. Shower nice and powerful. Using grohe faucet. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We have previously sailed exclusively with NCL and 1 time with Royal Caribbean. This was our first experience with MSC Cruises and we were pleasantly surprised with our experience onboard. We chose this itinerary because it was the ... Read More
We have previously sailed exclusively with NCL and 1 time with Royal Caribbean. This was our first experience with MSC Cruises and we were pleasantly surprised with our experience onboard. We chose this itinerary because it was the ship's inaugural cruise and the stops were all new locations for us - Hamburg, Southampton, Lisbon, Barcelona, Marseille. After reading many reviews here on Cruise Critic we were very concerned about choosing MSC. Everything from the service, the different languages during announcements, food portions, taste, etc. But from our experience, it was absolutely fantastic. Mind you we did have a very unique experience on a few fronts. Because it was the inaugural cruise, the ship was not full and we were well looked after from the staff onboard. Embarkation was very smooth. Easily the fastest we have ever embarked on any other cruise (that's even sailing in the Haven with it's own private check in desk). Also, unlike in US embarkation ports, the handlers in Europe do not have their hand out asking for tips for taking your luggage onto a trolley. The staff who takes your luggage are MSC staff and take it away for you. The one small little thing was that we downloaded the MSC for Me app so that we can do all the pre-check in ahead of time. Taking our own photos, setting up our credit card information and doing the check in. But when we got to the port they still had to do the photos and check in. Anyone who has sailed with MSC knows that your credit card payment is done at the small kiosks throughout the ship. I was unsure of this idea but it actually works very well. Disembarkation was a breeze. We had some help with guest services because we have two small children a ton of luggage. They were able to assist us getting off the ship. Excellent. The ship because we were the first paying customers was in perfect condition. No complaints whatsoever. And the staff did an amazing job taking care of it while in its infancy. The gym though was quite small. Considering that our ship, from what we were told was only at half capacity was full most days and using the equipment was difficult. I cannot imagine that a full cruise you would be even able to use any equipment. Oh well, use of stairs and walking everywhere became our work out. Because of large swells, our 1 day in Southampton ended up becoming a multi-day stay. You can't control the weather right? So even though we were disappointed to miss our Lisbon stop and lose our full day in Marseille it didn't stop our family from enjoying more time on the ship. Our family doesn't do the shows in the theater on any cruise. We have dinner a bit later so we miss them. So I cannot comment on the quality of the shows. But we were invited to watch 1 show of our choosing since it was the inaugural sailing, EXENTRICKS with dinner and it was amazing! Our children loved it and so did we. But near the end of our cruise, we were invited to watch Cosmos as well. We loved it just as must as the previous show. This time we didn't have dinner, just drinks. I have read that the drinks given aren't very good. But there were 3 choices, a tropical drink, gin and tonic and a non-alcoholic. We had the gin and tonic and we enjoyed them. Our cabin was 10281. Aft facing balcony considered a "suite". We didn't have any extra perks but our room was huge! We have a regular balcony but it was wider by about half. So we had our queen bed, a sofa bed, and a bunk bed built in its wall. We have read that storage is a problem in most rooms, which we have seen with the demo rooms onboard. But our room had 2 large size closets, and the bunk bed area had 2 extra drawers, 2 smaller closets, and a head area in the bunk that could store more items. We had plenty of storage and we needed it since we were on the cruise for 12 days. Our balcony was huge since it was aft facing. Wish it was warmer out so we could use it more frequently, but still amazing. Our cabin attendant kept our in fantastic shape the whole cruise. When passengers mention that they never see their cabin attendant, I never believe it. We would see him multiple times during the day as we were in and out of our room. Zoe in the room unfortunately is not very good. We are very optimistic people, but we tried using it to get some answers and it couldn't answer any of them. Not even basic questions. We just used it as blu tooth speaker which was fine for us. But it needs lots of work still. Dining, what can we say. Probably the best food we have ever had in all honesty. Food portions were totally normal, not small like some people have posted about. And if it was small, just order more! The variety was great and the desserts were fantastic. We dined in Il Campo which is reserved for Suite guests so we had anytime dining. We just showed up and we were seated immediately. We never waited once. Not for 1 second. it was fantastic. Service was impeccable every single night. We did not dine in the specialty restaurants since we felt that the food and service was perfect for us. The buffet was incredible as well. Easily the best pizza we have ever had. Mozzarella made fresh everyday. Choices were plentiful and good variety. Breakfast was pretty much the same, which it is on every ship. Again, because our ship was at half capacity, finding service or a seat was never a problem for us. The children & family buffet seating area was always available for us. We liked it there. Our only comment is that like others have wrote about, MSC does not enforce hand washing or sanitation. We would like for them to be more strict on it to help prevent contamination. Because of the cool weather, we were not able to use the outdoor facilities. Except for 1 day when the weather was warm. Our son and I used the slides, amazing fun! We just wish it was warmer. It will be a great area if the ship is in better temperatures. Our children had never used any kids clubs on any other ship before but absolutely loved and enjoyed the kids club onboard the Grandiosa. The staff there did a wonderful job with the children and they had such a great time. Highly recommended. Service was great! We didn't have the feeling that staff were trying to sell us on everything. They were polite and very nice everywhere we went. High marks to all. Guests services manager and hotel director were fantastic as well. The captain (master) was also incredibly nice. We were able to meet him on 3 occasions and it was an amazing experience. The photography team took excellent photos. We love taking photos on cruises so we don't shy away from taking pictures. But from what we could see, passengers who didn't want them taken were not pestered or bothered further. I know passengers complain about aggressive photographers, but they were not like that at all. Our children can be a handful taking photos and every person worked with them patiently and the photos turned out awesome. For the ports, we didn't use MSC. We roamed around on our own and I had set up tours prior to us boarding. We wish there was comment cards so that we could recognize great service to the staff who deserve it. Again, we don't know what it would be like if the ship was at full capacity. I'm sure there might have been some line ups, waiting for tables in the buffet area, etc. But we cannot comment on that since our ship was half capacity. Our cruise was wonderful and based on our experience we would 100% sail with MSC again. Some people go on cruises just to complain about everything. Others enjoy it to the fullest. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We sailed on this ship on 3 previous occasions and loved it. We liked the itinerary and price. Unfortunately, things have changed and the crew is incompetent. They kept our American passport when we got on. Made it difficult to get it ... Read More
We sailed on this ship on 3 previous occasions and loved it. We liked the itinerary and price. Unfortunately, things have changed and the crew is incompetent. They kept our American passport when we got on. Made it difficult to get it back. Food is now terrible. Little info about ports. Entertainment is repetitive. No television service other than free movies of their choice. Very poor Wifi and no communication with cell phones on the divina. Our last port, San Juan Puerto Rico, they tell us that everyone must get off the ship for the immigration procedure and you cannot get back on until 4:00 pm. We are supposed to get off ship at 10 am but still not off at 12 noon. During this process, they are having a crew drill and making announcements constantly. Also, we asked for a box of tissues and were told that we don’t get them in the Fantasia experience and they just changed that policy during this cruise!!!!!Terrible procedure. Also, minimal concern for hand washing.After this trip, we will not be back on the Divina and most likely will not choose MSC! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We have been cruising with MSC for the last 3 years. This was the 11th cruise with MSC and the 7th on the Divina.This review compares the Transatlantic cruise from the Divina during November 2019 against the previous cruises we did with ... Read More
We have been cruising with MSC for the last 3 years. This was the 11th cruise with MSC and the 7th on the Divina.This review compares the Transatlantic cruise from the Divina during November 2019 against the previous cruises we did with MSC out of Miami on the Divina, Seaside and Armonia.Comments are the differences between this cruise and all other MSC cruises we took. We didn't compare MSC with other cruise lines we have been on 20+ cruises on three other cruise lines). We flew into Rome and took the transfer from the Airport to the cruise port. Finding a meeting point at the airport was problematic. Other cruise lines picked up passenger at baggage claim. After some asking around we found a MSC sign and were hooked up with the driver and the transfer van. Arrived at the port around 9.30 and had to wait until 11.00 Am before embarkation. No computers were available (broke down.....) so only the embarkation ticket and passport let us on the ship. The cruise card was in the cabin. Since our passports we not scanned in, MSC kept our passports. We demanded and got them back the following day. This was not done in other ports as we found out later. The cabin was roomy and clean as was the ship. Had some broken lights replaced in the cabin at our request. Since we are Diamond members (MSC just changed the name from Black Members to Diamond Voyager Members) all the goodies coming with that level were present. Since we where in an Aurea level cabin we had tissues in our bathroom. Fantastica and Bella had no tissues. No tissues were on sale in the shops either. Cost cutting in the cruise industry continues! Ship and cabin throughout the cruise were kept clean to the standards we are use to from MSC. The dining menu has not changed in 3 years. Since this was a crossing some local cuisine was added (Spanish, Portuguese and Caribbean). One problem though, the food was always cold dining room or buffet was no different. Only a few time I had some hot French Fries because I was watching them refilling the bin.This was not a unique experience. Our fellow passengers experienced the same cold food. The steakhouse was a bit better and had good food. The entertainment on the ship was the same as it has been the last three years supplemented with some opera and a few one man shows which were hard to watch since everything was translated in 6 different languages. The stage has not changed since the ship was built and is not current anymore. The 25 year old MSC Armonia is more modern in that regard than the Divina. This ship right now is set up for one time cruisers! May one timers said this will be the first and last MSC cruise. MSC has not figured out what the American market wants. Hope they figure out fast before their large investments into the cruise fleet will not generate any income! Than the activities: There at least 3 dance classes a day, throughout the whole 20 day cruise. The craft projects were the level of kindergarten. Also Calligraphy was taught everyday. What was missing of the activities list was the three times a day Trivia and other activities we have gotten use to on the Divina. The majority of the daily agenda was dance classes and sales in the shops! When Trivia was held a large group participated . The cruise staff was friendly when approached but behaved anemic in presentations and involvement. Only the Dance instructors were busy. This made the cruise very boring (if you are not into Dance and listening to the same three musicians in the bars!). Since we are frequent MSC cruisers we are use to the multiple languages. However the announcements were very long and in all different languages , which made it very annoying. Also very lengthy sales announcement were done in at least 6 languages! The excursions sponsored by MSC were OK. Also here, the multiple languages made it more difficult to follow the tour guide. On previous MSC cruises, leaving out of Miami, only English was the language use. At this time of the year there are very few kids on board and they didn't cause any issues. Since no children in our party so can't judge the children's program but it appeared to have the same problem (didn't see any children groups with MSC staff as on other MSC cruises): lack of activities.. The cherry on the ice cream came in Porto Rico. Since the cruise had a large amount of none Americans the process of going through customs took over 10 hours. MSC had notified us in advantage of the slow process.We had to wait more than an hour in the staircase after we were told to leave the theater. For many elderly and handicapped certainly a problem. We were not able to get back on board until 6 PM. (the night before it was stated that by 4 PM people could go back onto the ship). During this waiting time in the hall no information was provided by MSC concerning the status of the debarkation. Guests were still leaving the ship to go through customs as late as 5.30 PM. In the mean time the crowd got to be very unruly and a mob scene developed. And when finally embarkation started there was a rush onto the entrance (as per good European tradition) with no control of the crowd!. MSC expected the issues and didn't plan for the comfort and safety of the passengers which were waiting to get on board. A few days before the cruise I received an email from Cruise Critic stating a mix and mingle party will be organized on the cruise. Two days before the end I checked with the service desk which had no answer and promised to get back to me. Surprise, surprise, never heard from them and no Cruise Critic party was held.My experience with MSC has mainly been positive (except when unannounced a group of 2500 Vegan passengers took over ship making others second class citizens. MSC has compensated us for the inconvenience of that cruise). This was the first time I took an MSC cruise based out of Europe. Never again. Hopefully they adapted there cruise staff and programs since the Divina now leave from Miami for the next 5 month. Although cruising with MSC is good value for your money, maybe not this time! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
In 2015, I had traveled on the MSC Divina to the Caribbean. It was a good trip on a ship that needed some upgrades but not unacceptable. In 2019, I again traveled on the Divina – repositioning cruise Milan to Miami. I was so ... Read More
In 2015, I had traveled on the MSC Divina to the Caribbean. It was a good trip on a ship that needed some upgrades but not unacceptable. In 2019, I again traveled on the Divina – repositioning cruise Milan to Miami. I was so disappointed in the condition of the ship, the food, the entertainment, the coldness of the officers and the rudeness of European fellow passengers. There were no amenities in the cabin - not even a box of tissues. I resorted to buying my own in different ports. The bed couldn’t be separated into twin beds even though I had requested that when I made my reservation. We could view the tops of the lifeboats from our balcony. They were dirty and rusty in parts. The sensors in the elevator doors weren’t working properly. We never knew how many times they would have to open and close before the car moved. Frayed carpeting near staircases were a potential hazard. Our safe malfunctioned and had to be replaced. Our tv set stopped working and no one could fix it, therefore no tv. In Barbados, there was a problem with the water system. It was shut off ship wide until repairs could be made according to Guest Services. Unfortunately, this was a beach day for many of the passengers. I, for one, didn’t appreciate having to go to the Dining Room full of sand and lotion. The water was turned on too late for a timely shower before dinner. On a different day, there was a huge leak in the hallway on my deck. Water was coming out of the ceiling like a waterfall. The food was not enjoyable. We returned items frequently. Many nights what arrived at the table did not even closely resemble what the menu described. Meat of any kind was tough and difficult to cut. The entertainment was opera and classical music based. Even the pop music shows had a stilted feel to them. Opera singers do not sing rock and roll successfully. The Cruise Director was only seen at the beginning of a show. I couldn’t even tell you his name. The officers, especially those in white uniforms, constantly walked right by us without even a nod. Even if we said “good morning”, several kept walking without acknowledging us. Guest services were no help either. Every time I called or went in person, they offered no solution, often just replying, “Company Policy”. Since I speak several languages, I am not bothered by non-English conversations around me. I mention this as a caveat to fellow Americans who are usually mono-lingual. Do not book a voyage on a ship that caters to Europeans. You will be very uncomfortable. No one will even greet you even in their language. The rudeness I encountered on this ship was unbelievable. What I don’t understand about the Europeans was a sense of entitlement and cultural arrogance. They would walk right into you and never say “excuse me”. The greediness at the buffet line was astonishing. The amounts of food they would take were incredible, even to the point of leaving nothing behind in the tray. Who were they feeding? The fiasco in San Juan was beyond description. We were told that everyone had to leave the ship for a face to face meeting with American immigration We would not be allowed back on board until everyone had been seen anticipating a 4pm re-boarding. The passengers started to return to the cruise terminal around that time. Time passed and it was almost 6pm when we were allowed to get back on. No explanations from anyone. In the meantime, the crowd was becoming impatient and ugly. There was much shoving, whistling, screaming and actual punching among the tired and angry passengers. Absolutely no one from MSC was there to explain the delays or to help with crowd control. It was a very bad and dangerous situation. Then to add insult to injury, when it finally was my turn to approach the security check I was shoved aside by a Yacht Club butler who yelled “priority” as he escorted his passengers through. No common courtesy or even recognition that other human beings were there. The only positive things I wish to note are the price of the trip, the itinerary and several individuals who went out of their way to help all passengers feel comfortable. The cost was $1,089 which was quite a good deal. The ports of call were excellent but there was a misunderstanding about an overnight in San Juan. Leaving port at 2am does not constitute an overnight for passengers looking forward to 2 days in San Juan. The following crew members deserve mention for their kindness and professionalism: Photographer: Nikola Vujcic, Waiter,Black Crab restaurant: JR De La Cruz, Entertainment team: Michelle Rosales, Dance Instructors: Raymond Araujo-Peña and Karlina German, Waiter, Doges Piazza: Roxan Reyes, Waitress, Golden Jazz Lounge: Beenisha and Excursions: Fabio. My recommendation for Americans – Stay off MSC ships. There are much better companies and much more pleasant trips for your hard earned money. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We chose to go on this cruise for a couple of reasons. One reason was we had never been on a Transatlantic Cruise, and two it seemed like a good deal for the amount of time of this cruise. We booked the cruise back in the Summer and at ... Read More
We chose to go on this cruise for a couple of reasons. One reason was we had never been on a Transatlantic Cruise, and two it seemed like a good deal for the amount of time of this cruise. We booked the cruise back in the Summer and at that time we paid for the Easy Beverage package (which is the low end Alcohol included up to $6.00) and we pre-paid our Gratuities. When we got on the ship we were approached by a number of people and one was selling the Beverage packages. When we told him we had the Easy package, he proceeded to show us the beverage menu and told us that we could have any beverage up to $10.00. The person I was traveling with drank mostly Chardonnay and after looking at the beverage menu she decided that there was a California wine that she liked and didnt really know the other wines so we both decided since she wanted that one particular wine and I wanted other drinks that were $6.50 and not covered by the Easy package, I would also up grade. We paid $207.00 additional for each of us to have the Premium Beverage package. The first two days of our 21 day cruise went fine as far as all the bars we were in had the Chardonnay she paid for. On the 3rd day of the cruise and forward till the end of the cruise the ship ran out of the one wine on the Premium package that she bought the up graded package to get. As we changed from one brand to the next they continued to run our of mixers and out of the Brand we chose. Time after time we heard "We dont have that any longer we ran out" The other issue with the beverage package is that when we went to the Gym, the bar/counter in there had smoothies. When I asked about the $6.50 fruit smoothies they looked at my card and said nothing in that bar/counter was covered by the Premium Package. So although we were told when he was trying to sell us the upgrade we could have any beverage up to $10.00 that was not true. When I tried to go back to the Desk to tell them in the first 5 days of the trip that since they seldom have the beverage we thought we paid for with the upgrade, so we wanted to revert back to the first Easy package we had bought and we wanted a refund of the $207.00 each we were told we only had 24 hours to cancel. When I explained the issue to the Head Person in charge of Beverage Packages (Pedro I believe his name was) he told me the wine that we bought the up grade for and was on the beverage menu we were shown and that was in all the bars on the menus, the ship had not had that wine on board for the last 4 months. When I explained that was not true that we had the wine the first 3 days of the cruise and it was a hit and miss to get it any place else, he basically called me a lair by saying "You are wrong we have not had it on board in 4 months.". He refused the refund the upgrade difference and left our table. About 15 min later he sent a bottle of the wine we had wanted to the table and said it was the only bottle still on board. Needless to say he never came back to apologize for what he said and never showed his face again. Bottom line before up grading your beverage package be sure you like more than one or two items on the menu because most likely you wont have it after the 3rd or 4th day of your cruise and for sure dont expect that they care or will do anything about it to make it right. In addition to the Beverage package issue, we also had cold food we had to send back and we had raw fish. Both of those things happened within the first week or so of the 21 day trip and did however, start to get better as the days went by. The food is not the best I ever had on a ship. I find Celebrity and even Carnival has better food and better choices for dinners. To top it off when we started our 5 days across the sea towards the Islands and the US we lost all TV Channels. There was no English speaking channels on at all until someone got to the top person and found out the issues with the Satellite and that MSC does not subscribe to channels in the Islands. We were out of our TV for half the trip! There was even a day or two when the TV Channel aimed at the front of the ship was not working either. It was actually a bit scary that there seemed to be no communication to the ship that the passengers could see. I will say on a good note the Service Staff were great. Slivio from the Black Crab Dinning area was very accommodating and did all he could to ensure we had a good experience. All the dinner and bar staff were very nice and were always polite and accommodating as much as they could be. Our Room Stewart (Babu) was great. Our room was always clean and he was always doing things to help (got ice for us, provided tissues as we needed them etc.) Thats another thing dont expect to have tissues in your room becuase MSC has cut those out and in order to get them you have to pay for them or you need to buy your own at a stop over, which is what most people did. If the back office and head people at MSC acted like the Service Staff does, I am sure MSC could be a good company to sail on again. As it is now with all the issues we had and the fact that they did nothing to help with those issues above we will spend our cruise time on other Cruise lines and not go back to MSC. This was our second on MSC and last on MSC. BE AWARE BEFORE YOU GO!!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
My partner and I spent 20 nights on the south bound transatlantic crossing which sailed from Genoa on 5-11-2019. We (41 and 42) were accompanied by 1 set of parents (64 and 65) and 1 couple who are friends our age. I researched thoroughly ... Read More
My partner and I spent 20 nights on the south bound transatlantic crossing which sailed from Genoa on 5-11-2019. We (41 and 42) were accompanied by 1 set of parents (64 and 65) and 1 couple who are friends our age. I researched thoroughly before choosing this cruise. Our primary reason to select this journey on MSC Divina was the brilliant itinerary. I read the reviews and noted the negative and positive accounts. We have been on Cunard QM2 and Q-Elizabeth, Celebrity Solstice, Golden Princess and Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas since 2015. We enjoyed Celebrity and RCL the most. I took a pragmatic view when reading past reviews as we were primarily motivated by the destinations and itinerary which were fantastic !!!! We were incredibly lucky with weather and the uneventful marine operation of the ship. Our group had a great time all up BUT the MSC experience was unfortunately mediocre at best. If you enjoy Celebrity or RCL you will have a very different experience on MSC. The SHIP. Newish, cleanish, cheaply but tastefully decorated, okay layout, a bit worn – particularly the furnishings. Not much to do. Not much on. Not many crew visible. The ROOM. We had fantastica balcony deck 10. Bigger than average, good bed, great bathroom, small tv, good fridge, just enough storage, well kept by our lovely room steward but VERY dusty as were the hallways. Buy some decent vacuums MSC and maintain them. The FOOD in MDRs. Sorry to say it was well below the standard of all the other ships we’ve experienced. We had to change restaurants because our wait staff were so bad and incorrect meals were delivered 5 days straight. They laughed it off and made no offer or attempt to bring what we actually ordered. It was quite shocking and they had a very blaze attitude amidst disingenuous platitudes. Some of the dishes were ok but it was, mostly, cheap and simple rather than simple and delicious. Even the paid meals in the MDR were of a poor standard at 23 euro for what turned out to be a cold steak - a real disappointment and we were charged for the same steak 3 times instead of a refund. We were so glad to have some amazing meals ashore and absolve ourselves of the ship’s abysmal food whenever possible. Breakfast in the MDR was survivable but the service random. The stories of tough cold steaks and tasteless or just salty food are all credible as that was exactly what we experienced. The FOOD in the buffet. The buffet was pretty busy with our load of 3222pax. It was really the better option for lunch and dinner despite the crowd. A good range of hot dishes and some nice cold options were varied and well replenished. Again an ‘economic’ approach was conspicuous. No smoked salmon or other cold seafood or fancy cheeses and only cheaper fish and cuts of meat. Only 2 DIY toasters in the entire buffet and no staffed toasting available. Daily specials being made to order at pop-up stations like pasta and hot roast rolls were often the best thing going. The Pizza was indeed lovely. My Coeliac (gluten free) father had very limited options and zero G/F labeling in the buffet. The ROOM SERVICE. Is Not Free (except Breakfast) on Fantastica or above. Whilst the spiel suggests it is included the wording just means no delivery or service charge. There is an item charge of 3 / 5 / 8 / 10 euro for 1 / 2 /3 /4 items respectively. The only hot item was soup. We were impressed with the quality of the room service. The breakfast was continental - only the drinks were hot. The ENTERTAINMENT. We went to two shows in 20 nights. The talent was good and gave it 100% but no sets to speak of, just the odd prop and it is aimed at a multilingual crowd so is a bit ‘different’ to what an anglophone audience might expect. Again, it looked cheap. The theatre and lighting were the main visual backdrops which made the entertainers look sparse. Oh and best to avoid the crew/captain introduction presentation unless you have a massive sense of humour and the patience of a saint. The ACTIVITIES. Origami, a bit of ‘visual trivia’ to bridge the language gap. Various fitness and dance activities. We felt like there was very little to do and were consigned to reading in our room on sea days. There was only news in English on the TV and nothing else. We were given 12 FREE movies on the pay per view for the 5 consecutive sea days. Perhaps the channels are reconfigured whilst the ship is sailing from Miami… but it seemed like they wanted to force us to buy movies. The COFFEE. Okay here is my most positive comment. The BEST CRUISE SHIP COFFEE I’VE EVER EXPERIENCED !!!!!! Great self-serve coffee in the buffet when it’s hot. Espresso 9/10 times was strong and pleasant. The DRINKS PACKAGE. We had the ‘Easy’ included and upgraded it to ‘Premium’ for 9 euro a night per person plus 15%. So, 207 euro for 20 nights per person. It covered most drinks at max 10 euro. If it’s 10.50 you pay the whole 10.50 not the difference. They ‘ran out’ of most of the good by-the-glass red wine early on. You can only get large 1 or 1.5 litre water on the premium package. The easy package would have been a problem for us as we like wine and the odd cocktail. The speciality restaurant wine list has only a handful of by the glass wines 10 euro of less. The 6 euro or less options are limited. I believe they were running stocks down prior to arriving in the US where they change all the drink menus as the currency becomes USD. Perhaps a restock of US duty paid liquor has some bearing on the dwindling stocks of various things. Also, there were no prices on most of the items in the various shops. Oh, and in the gym health bar only fresh orange is available on the premium package. No smoothies etc. Also, gelato and ice-cream are NOT INCLUDED despite the connotations of the advertising. Upside was they are in no-way mean with the drinks or pours. Our FELLOW passengers. Older with an obvious sense of entitlement but not particularly decrepit. Now there have been various comments about the social tendencies of particular cultures on MSC and other European cruise lines on Cruise Critic. I think the average Australian, American, Brit, New Zealander, Canadian, German or French guest might have found the manners and approach to interaction somewhat confronting on this particular voyage but not unbearable. There seemed to be a conspicuous lack of enjoyment and conversation amongst our fellow passengers. Barely any children and none of the “noisy Italian families” others mention on MSC cruises. I’d imagine a school holiday Mediterranean summer cruise may be a different story but if you were in a new port every day it would probably be survivable. There were quite a few of the selfish towel pegs on the sun loungers by 8am – a pet hate of mine. The UPSELL. It was everywhere and the prices were a bit silly. A 50% off 50 min massage was 80 euro. The crew weren’t all that pushy though. The SPECIALITY RESTAURANTS. Our best meal of the cruise was at the Butchers Cut. The Sushi place was ok-ish. Again if you buy the 2 dinners package you get a limited menu and have to pay if you want certain items but it was great food. I ordered additional sides which were very good. MSC speciality dining is much more expensive than other lines and nowhere near as good. The STATUS MATCH. One of us got black the other gold. It was as advertised but mostly meaningless and more of a sales tool than a passenger benefit. Loyalty in MSC speak means ‘gotcha’ rather than ‘we got you’ I felt. The CRUISE DIRECTOR. Who ? Made a few announcements. Very multilingual but never saw the guy or any of his staff. The CAPTAIN. Met him for a photo. Clearly an excellent sailor and manager as the ship was spotless on deck and ran like clockwork. Otherwise never heard from him or any of his officers who seemed to avoid passenger areas at all costs. The PORT CALLS. All wonderful except Puerto Rico where the ship was drilled by the US Coast guard with lifeboats down and all manner of alarming announcements that were just for practise. Also EVERYONE had to disembark including all crew via 6 or so border agents which took all day and no one was allowed back on until everyone had come off. It was 8pm before reboarding was allowed. MSC use this day to clear the ship into US waters with a load of paying passengers who are massively inconvenienced in the process. It was nothing short of a disgrace and a shambles. The ship should have been scheduled with a lay day with no guests to go through this process but MSC like to keep the euros flowing. Our HIGHLIGHTS were probably every port other than Barbados. The embarkation port of Genoa is actually worth a day or more of exploring. > Civitavecchia – be wary of delays if using trains to get to Rome. Valencia – the old city on foot is fantastic as are the tapas bars. La Siena was our pick and the food was amazing. > Lisbon was great and a ride on tram 28 to the old cemetery is a must. > The Azores (Ponta Delgada) – a beautiful place with the loveliest people. Our jeep day safari with GREENZONE AZORES (booked directly) was brilliant and our lovely guide Eduardo Miranda made the day so enjoyable! > Martinique - is a lovely island with French finesse and all the bells and whistles. > St Marteen – we spent the whole day at the famous airport beach drinking at the bar which was fun! > Miami – having never visited before, Miami was a pleasant surprise! A cool town where you do need a car but heaps to do, great cuban food and a relaxed fun atmosphere. OVERALL We all enjoyed our journey and loved the places we visited and the people we met. The cruise was unfortunately a big letdown and devoid of those little luxuries and premium experiences we’ve found on other ships. Had we been on an RCL or Celebrity ship it would have been a damn near perfect holiday but unfortunately MSC spoilt it a bit. Now I know they are a cheaper option, but we paid full brochure price of $6980 AUD for the room (2 pax) for this cruise and don’t think it was good value given the truly awful food, mediocre service and cheaply appointed ship. If you’re looking for a mobile 3 star hotel and are happy to eat ashore MSC is ok but it’s not the cruise experience I think most people expect if they’ve been on a few ships. If you get an incredibly cheap deal on a last-minute voyage and go with no expectations then you might rate it but we definitely did not. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We flew to Genoa from Miami, spent the night at the Holiday Inn and taxied to the port in the morning. Embarkation was a breeze. We sailed the Divina 6 times before so we Knew what to expect. Different Captain and different Hotel Director ... Read More
We flew to Genoa from Miami, spent the night at the Holiday Inn and taxied to the port in the morning. Embarkation was a breeze. We sailed the Divina 6 times before so we Knew what to expect. Different Captain and different Hotel Director this time. She is a beautiful Italian design ship. Love the crystal staircase. We had a balcony starboard forward cabin and a great steward (Alphonso). The cabin was adequate. We had first seating table for two and had a fantastic head waiter Silviu who took great care of us. We did buy our own pepper grinder in the Azores and salt grinder in Martinique. Got tired of fighting the shakers. Meals were adequate and the best eggs with bright orange yolks at breakfast. We did go to Butcher's Cut and had a fantastic meal there. So glad they got rid of the plastic chairs in Eataly. We went to few of the shows as we have seen many of them before but the cultural show in the Azores was very nice as was the can can show. There were some great music ensembles on the ship. We did no ship excursions but did do a hop on-hop off bus in LIsbon and went to the Cathedral in Valencia. The disaster was San Juan customs. There were only 8 stations open for over 4000 guests, the power went down for a while , and the ship was not finally cleared until 5:45pm to reboard. This was a Customs and Border Patrol issue not an MSC issue. And, we still had to do customs in Miami. I love the Cafe Italia coffee shop and the Easy drink package was wonderful for a 20 night cruise. We did this back to back with an 11 night cruise and got to be the first ship into Ocean Caye Marine Reserve. Beautiful. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We just returned from a transatlantic cruise on the Divina. November 5th 2019 departing from Genoa Italy to Miami Florida. Embarkation was great and handled quite well. Unfortunately the issues began shortly after. Here is a ... Read More
We just returned from a transatlantic cruise on the Divina. November 5th 2019 departing from Genoa Italy to Miami Florida. Embarkation was great and handled quite well. Unfortunately the issues began shortly after. Here is a short description of some of the issues:: Cabin Steward--Either hates his job or is just miserable naturally. I do not even know his name because he barely spoke to us. The beds are not made with top sheets--only the duvet-- so when the bottom sheet was changed we had to ask for the duvet to also be changed. There was always an excuse--I am sorry but I did not have time--Serious? Toilet paper was only left if you were totally out......no extra rolls in the room. This required us to call and seek toilet paper on two occasions. How cheap is MSC? Or was this just the cabin steward? Kleenex are not allowed to be given in the cabins??????? Again is this the way MSC wants to present itself to guests? Our Diamond amenities were not left in the cabin and we had to ask two times for them. Overall I have to say that this was the most miserable and one of the worst cabin stewards we have ever had. Food--Most passengers are going to tell you the best food they had was ashore..........true. The internet was barely usable most of the time.......I used data whenever I could instead of the wifi Guest Services--This is where MSC truly lacks--If three people went to customer service with a question there were three different answers. Guest service would rather tell untruths than explain the reality of a situation. We asked why we could not get Kleenex in our cabin and we were told because guests tend to clog the toilet???????? The cabin steward then told us that only certain experience levels are allowed Kleenex. We had another issue and asked to speak with the guest services manager- Fillipe told us that the manager was a very busy man????? Fillipe is also a miserable unhappy person but he did take our information and said he would give it to the manager. This was on day 2--he never ever contacted us. We overheard a meeting or a training session where the staff was being told that "Americans were difficult" Instead of explaining that American's might have a higher level of expectations, staff were told they are difficult which in my opinion creates a pre conceived idea that there will be problems and therefore it is ok to be rude to them. I went to the guest services desk one morning after a crew member burst out of a door on the 13th floor and hit my arm so hard my cell phone flew out of my hand. I simply said that it might be mentioned to the crew to open doors slowly if they open outward into hallways. The guest services person simply said "well maybe he did not see you" then turned and walked away........The correct response should have been--I am so sorry are you alright? Shore Excursions--We had an Excursion for Rome from Civitavecchia. The meeting time was at 7:40 am in the Pantheon Theater deck 6. We arrived in the theatre at 7:25. We received our bus number and waited--and waited--finally we were able to board the bus at 9am. The trip to Rome was 1.5 hours. After all the time waiting once we boarded the bus my husband was struck with a gastric intestinal issue. We knew that he would never make it to Rome and we decided we had to leave the bus. We told the Excursion person our problem and they returned our ticket to us. Once my husband was feeling better we went to the shore excursion desk to ask for a refund. We told them that between the delay and diarrhea we could not do the excursion. We were informed that there would not be a refund and were told that the delay was announced.......it was not. Additionally it would not have been pleasant for anyone if my husband had stayed on the bus. Again a bad choice by MSC. And it was MSC because the people running the excursion returned our ticket so we could take it to MSC for a refund. The biggest and most unforgiving issue was in San Juan. MSC handled the Customs and Immigration procedure so poorly that it put passengers in danger. First the procedure to get off of the ship was poorly handled and took far longer than expected.....this was not so much the problem as the re boarding. No MSC personnel were in the terminal organizing or updating passengers as to the time and procedure for boarding. This lack of information and organization lead to an unsafe uncontrolled crowd. Tempers flared and fights ensued in different areas of the terminal. One female passenger actually hit me from behind because I was in front of her. I could not believe that she did this and turned and told her it was not alright to put your hands on another person. The lady just kept screaming that she was Yacht Club she was Yacht Club. I could not go anywhere because the push of the crowd was so great. MSC finally held this woman back but did not detain her nor did they ask if I was alright. Hitting a person is a crime in the United States and my disappointment with the way MSC handled this is beyond words. I did go to guest services and filed a report and they gave me an email address to communicate this to. During this report they also said that the Guest relations manager had left a message to meet with us in Fort de France.....he did not but she said he would leave us another message after this latest incident......he did not. This all leaves me to question whether MSC even cares about their guests. There were some bright spots during our cruise. MSC did a wonderful job with the Cruise Critic meet and greet. This was one of the best meet and greets we have attended on any ship. Irish is a bar server that is delightful! Irish is always smiling and talks easily to guests. More crew should takes lessons from her. Irish usually works the buffet and the casino. The itinerary was great and we enjoyed most of our stops......of course the exception was Civitavecchia. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Veteran cruiser this was our 5th with MSC. Sadly they seem to be going backwards with Entertainment, food and service. I gave this review 2 stars, out of the dozen or so cruises I have taken this was by far the least enjoyable. ... Read More
Veteran cruiser this was our 5th with MSC. Sadly they seem to be going backwards with Entertainment, food and service. I gave this review 2 stars, out of the dozen or so cruises I have taken this was by far the least enjoyable. This is the reason for each star I knocked off. 1. Lets start with entertainment. It was bad, the shows they put on were cheap and the crew performing were poor. The Queen night vocalists were far worse than you could hear in a karaoke bar by amateurs. The guy from Cuba (don't know his name) whom I partially blame for being one of the low points of the whole cruise destroyed the main pool area twice a day. He screams in to the microphone and has no talent to engage a crowd. It was just terrible. There were many bars and if they had live music it was often depressing and sad acoustic music, a sure way to kill atmosphere. 2. The next problem is the food. It just isn't good. As I said earlier I have travelled with MSC before and it is never the best but its been better before than this. I am fully aware its an Italian company but as I have also travelled with Costa who are also Italian and have food 10x better. The buffet whilst large offered such little variation it was not something to look forward to. The main dining room food was a huge let down. Service in the dining room was also poor, some days you would get dishes rapidly other days the waiter would be apologising as he left you for 20minutes waiting to have your plates cleared. It was disappointing to always have to ask to refill the wine or water and not have our needs attended to. 3. We booked an Aurea cabin one of the more premium choices. The cabins are meant to be in better locations. We were on deck 13 and we had a terrible view due to the above overhang. It really spoilt our enjoyment of looking out of the window. I would seriously class this as an obstructed view if you can only look down and not see above the horizon. Whilst I appreciate no cruise is ever perfect, these 3 things stood out so much it left us regretting going on this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I don't normally post reviews but in the case of MSC I found other people's opinions useful so thought I'd add my brief thoughts on MSC Fantasia. We booked mainly because of an attractive itinerary that included a land ... Read More
I don't normally post reviews but in the case of MSC I found other people's opinions useful so thought I'd add my brief thoughts on MSC Fantasia. We booked mainly because of an attractive itinerary that included a land tour to Machu Picchu with a price that was too good to miss. We joined at Barcelona with the itinerary including Malaga, Madeira, Tenerife, San Salvador de Bahia, Ilehus, Ilha Grande and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Many of the reviews on this site for any MSC ship were alarming so I was worried the cruise might be a disaster. First impressions weren't good with a very slow embarkation prolonged by the fact that shore staff were more intested in chatting than giving me a boarding number. On the plus side our inside, Bella, cabin was bigger than we expected with ample storage space. The buffet was enormous (about 1/3 deck) but very badly designed and organised making it time consuming to put together a meal. Drinks stations offered tea and basic coffee only - no free soft drinks - and were often out of either hot water, toffee, tea bags, sugar or cups. We adapted to it after a few days though. We found it better to take breakfast in the dining room. At least tea and coffee was erred at the table - usually after a long wait - and you could more easily construct a meal from a breakfast buffet. Dinner was a variable affair. early sitting as 7.30 which is relatively late. Late sitting was 9.30 which would be odd for American guests. I've never seen so many meals half eaten although some were excellent and the service at our table was also consistently good with waiters happy to find alternatives if diners were dissatisfied. For those on drink packages they were generous in topping up glasses. For those, like us, on pay as you go, drinks are modestly priced but there are no free options. You pay for mineral water. Fortunately our fellow table guests were great company which made the whole cruise a very sociable affair. I enjoyed the evening entertainment although there was an element of repetition and a hint of amateurishness. They tried hard and some of the local flavour of operating singers and Brazilian salsa in bars and the atrium were good. Managed to find sunbathing spots on the days the weather as good but be prepared that the rule is that you can reserve a lounger with a towel or a book and then disappear for the day! Just embrace it. Staff don't clear away possessions like other cruise lines. Shore excursions were another matter. It was as if they were doing it for the first time. It was chaos. My tip is that if they say you should gather at 8am be there at 7.30 and be Cole to the front. It might help but be ready to get seriously annoyed. The only unacceptable things I saw were the lack of attention to hand hygiene. They don't care if you sanitise your hands before meals. Also some of the deck maintenance included scraping paint which was then left on the deck overnight with quantities of the plasticised paint being blown overboard. Probably illegal. Finally there was a tender boat at Ilha Grande spilling fuel into the sea. They didn't seem too bothered. Overall I'd say there are good things about MSC. price, room size, reasonable costs onboard and on shore excursions. The ships are reasonably comfortable. On the downside, food and buffet are below par. There's no deck or theatre cinema, in room TVs are from the Ark and there's very little English language programming. We had a few English language channels as we left Europe but when the TV signals ended they dint seem bothered with running English movie channels. A lot of the bad things would be easy to fix but it looks like there's an absence of any proper management of the hotel side. In a nutshell, if you're looking for a cruise and need your experience to be just so, I don't think it's a good choice. If you're mainly travelling and are more interested in the itinerary and used to adapting it might be a good and cost effective choice. I've already booked MSC again next year for that reason. It's really not as bad as a lot of the hysterical reviews suggest. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
This cruise was a 13 day repositioning cruise to the Caribbean, from NYC to Miami & not the five day Canada cruise, as stated! We chose this cruise because it left from our home port of NYC, eliminating on air fare, plus the cost was ... Read More
This cruise was a 13 day repositioning cruise to the Caribbean, from NYC to Miami & not the five day Canada cruise, as stated! We chose this cruise because it left from our home port of NYC, eliminating on air fare, plus the cost was low, i.e. $499. per person for an ocean view room! The ship was opulent & the shows presented were beautifully staged, with the digitally changing backgrounds better than anything that I have seen in my 62 cruises! However, my estimate of MSC cruises changed on Nov. 7th when my wife experienced a heart attack on board! After spending a day in the ship's somewhat limited infirmary, & a $1,800. fee, we were forced to leave the ship on the island of Jamaica ( an originally unscheduled port) & taken to a "third world" very poorly equipped clinic/hospital in Montego Bay, for two days of observation & care! (only 2 days before cruises end!) After having to pay a $1,000 ambulance & a $11,000. hospital bill (out of pocket)we were air lifted to Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. where my wife had quadruple by-pass surgery. After 16 days recuperation in Fla. we were again air lifted to a REHAB center near our Long Island home. Not once in this nearly one month ordeal, did anyone from MSC contact us to see how my wife & I were coping with this totally unexpected "nightmare"! So, the lesson in this is if you cruise with MSC & get sick, be prepared to deal with it on your own! Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
About the Reviewer: I’m a 37-year-old male who sailed with his mother to celebrate her milestone birthday. This was my second MSC Cruise, my first being on the MSC Seaside in October 2018 (there’s a review for that voyage as well). ... Read More
About the Reviewer: I’m a 37-year-old male who sailed with his mother to celebrate her milestone birthday. This was my second MSC Cruise, my first being on the MSC Seaside in October 2018 (there’s a review for that voyage as well). However, this sailing I was celebrating a milestone of my own as this was my 47th cruise overall and my accomplishment was hitting a full year of my life at sea! Other cruise lines I’ve sailed on are Norwegian Cruise Line (Platinum Plus with over 25 cruises), Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Princess Cruises and lastly a couple of times on Carnival. My reviews are typically written in chronological order so you can follow along with when things occurred and what my thoughts on them were. At the end there’s a summary and thank you to staff who stood out. I hope you enjoy! Day 1 – Embarkation Day – New York City After the first cruise to sail from NYC had a bad embarkation, I was happy I wasn’t arriving to Manhattan until Noon on the bus I took down from Boston. Upon arrival to the pier, the porters quickly took our luggage and with a decent tip ($2 per bag), our bags were gone and down the conveyer belt in no time! We entered the terminal and encountered a fairly long security line at 12:30PM. When I had my documents out, the lady pulled me aside and told me to go into another line which was not snaked. I did so and we were at security in no time. The check in counters didn’t have any lines at all. I was taken straight away and we were on the ship by 12:45PM. It was pretty seamless! We embarked the Meraviglia from the front of the ship and walked down the indoor Promenade with the giant LED screen, the largest at sea! It was impressive, although some of the shows watching them looking straight up later in the cruise would make me get dizzy. To best view them, go to deck 7 by the spa and look the long way down the promenade. Helpful Tip: We registered our credit cards at the onboard kiosk on Deck 6 by the elevators mid-ship. There are two types of machines to register your room card with. One takes cash and credit cards, the other one takes credit cards only and is smaller. The cash machine had so many people fiddling with them, I just wanted the card machine and this was located on Deck 6 starboard side. We went to lunch at the Market Place Buffet up on Deck 15. The buffet is quite lengthy. Each side has the same type of sections. In the front on the port side is the pizza station which serves pizza pretty much ALL the time (breakfast pizzas, and a changing variety throughout the rest of the day). There’s a pasta, salad, rotisserie, sweets and wellness sections. On port and starboard side there was ethnic sections which largely consisted of Mexican / Spanish foods throughout our voyage. In the back of the buffet (most didn’t walk that far), there was a stir fry section which was really good. During the voyage, on port days, the back section of the buffet was closed. We grabbed a plate of food and sat on the outside deck overlooking the Hudson River. It was overcast but not too chilly to enjoy a lunch out there. While eating lunch, I connected to the ship’s WiFi and loaded the MSC for Me app. This app is quite handy in booking reservations for all the shows and seeing what’s on. It also has a chat functionality which you can use to stay connected to new found friends on the ship. It was the first cruise where I used the chat functionality and it worked quite well. The app also gives you guidance on where things are in the ship and how to get to them. I strongly urge you to download this prior to the voyage so you can take full advantage of what’s on offer and waste minimal time at the touch screens scattered throughout the ship. After lunch, it was announced the staterooms were ready. We proceeded to our stateroom and the luggage was already there! This was quite impressive given how short of a time it was. The rooms were ready at 2PM. Stateroom 9218: This is a Fantastica balcony stateroom. If you don’t know what Fantastica is, it’s a tier level of room you book on MSC ships where you get certain amenities – main among them is room service. This stateroom was located starboard side on the mid-ship bump out and it was the second to last room heading aft in the mid-ship bump out. MSC seems to have a standard stateroom format as the room looked exactly the same as Seaside. The closet was small and didn’t have enough hangars (we remembered and brought our own). There is two cubbies and two drawers on the right side of the closet with the safe in the middle. There’s also another cubby on the floor of the closet on the right side. The bathroom consisted of a shower with glass door, very deep sink (love the sink design on MSC) and a counter which extends down the wall for storage. There are three shelves in the bathroom. The stateroom was in physically good condition upon initial inspection. It quickly became apparent due to the ship’s configuration with the bump out, we must’ve been on the end of the vacuum line with our neighbors being the last. The toilet was very picky so you had to flush it constantly. We had to get it fixed twice during the voyage. The refrigerator was good at cooling items such as the water containers we brought. There’s a desk drawer under the counter top, it’s quite big and another helpful place to store stuff. The light to the left of the beds was constantly flickering during the voyage. I never used it but when the evening turn down was done, it would flicker. I don’t know if it was an electrical issue or what not. I did not report it. Now this part is important, when the ship was at sea and we had some rough sea conditions due to passing cold fronts, the room was constantly creaking! For a ship as new as this, I couldn’t believe the amount of noise the room made. It wasn’t anything the ship could do to fix it as it was the room itself. I still slept but when you were in the room, you could hear it with the ship’s movement. If you’re a light sleeper, book another room and probably not on the bump out. Of more important note, the room did NOT have any Kleenex / tissues. We asked for a box and were told the ship does not provide them, only to Yacht Club guests. Some guests on the previous voyage (where an illness had started to break out) were given them who were not YC guests. This would later come back to bite MSC big time. If you’re going to be an Eco Ship, why not get rid of bottled water but instead tissues? I’m still scratching my head over this one. After unpacking, we headed down to the dining room to change our dining time. We requested the early seating but when we said early – we didn’t mean 5:15PM. I don’t know why MSC doesn’t allow a person to pick slots in first, second and third order so that if you booked an experience, they could work best to accommodate you. Having fixed dining times is inherently lazy of cruise lines anyway! It’s the one thing on MSC that I do not like. The restaurant manager switched us from Waves at 5:15PM to 6PM in Panorama. Panorama is a really beautiful restaurant aft on the ship. However, what I didn’t realize is when he switched us, we went to a table share with two other couples. Thankfully they turned out to be quite lovely people when tables around us had some really odd pairings with people swapping out. This process took us over 1 hour to do so if you don’t like your dining time, change it first thing when you get on because the people pile up and you don’t want to spend your first day of holiday waiting. At 5PM as we wasted so much time getting the table and time changed, it was the compulsory emergency drill. Our muster station was in the casino (oddly it was on Seaside as well). We arrived early to get a seat for mom and waited and waited. People were not attending the drill like they were required to. Finally, it started and it was over in the blink of an eye. They only demonstrated how to put the life jacket on. The rest was found on the stateroom TVs which was clear during the voyage people did not watch (throwing cigarettes and other items overboard, smoking on the balconies, etc.). Fellow Passengers: There was truly an international mix of passengers on the ship. I became friends with people from Germany, Holland, Canada, Austria and Greece! What unsettled me was the group of people MSC used to fill the ship closer to sailing. I booked fairly last minute (8 weeks out) and thought wow, the ship is still fairly open. However, when they discounted the prices even lower around 3 weeks out, the passenger make up got really interesting both posting online beforehand and on the ship. The Cruise Director joked about it not being a Carnival ship one night in the theater, well I guess he never visited the nightclub. Those folks causing issues were the scum the low pricing MSC did brought onboard, amazingly and not shockingly… all Americans. Before you say how rude, I’m American but I do have a sense of propriety and class. I understand everyone is on holiday but save your offensive shirts, surly (perhaps drunk) comments, feeling up your fellow (perhaps drunk) cruisers for your stateroom or better yet… don’t cruise if you can’t act correctly in public. Most of the latter stuff was in the nightclub. Cruisers also didn’t seem to practice good hygiene either leading to a massive spread of a sinus and upper respiratory bug throughout the ship. Cough etiquette goes a long way. Coughing into your elbow is great way to stop the spread of germs, but most just chose to cough on everyone else. The lack of tissues made the spread of germs on all surfaces even better. Way to go MSC on that one! I will give credit to MSC for trying to make the situation right during the voyage. I truly appreciated the guest services hospitality when my concerns were addressed. It was dinner time in Panorama and the first night menu resembled a similar one to NCL with the vegetable spring rolls. I had the lamb t-bone. The spring rolls were great. The lamb t-bone was incredibly small so I asked for a second portion. Lino, our head waiter, delivered it without issue. Lino and Frederick in Panorama offered great service throughout the cruise. Frederick was very attentive and constantly filling my water glass. The food was way too salty and it just made me thirsty incessantly. Frederick would have to refill my water glass up to five times during the dinner service! FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Serge Massot We booked the 8PM showtime for the ventriloquist. I realize there’s an international audience on the ship so he would say somethings in English and I believe the other parts were Spanish. However, the little character was not really amusing and he was hitting on female passengers and calling other male passengers ugly. It was entertainment but not the kind I experienced on Seaside. I know Meraviglia had to add entertainment to the ship as they only had 7 production shows but this guy was not very entertaining overall. After the long day of traveling and getting up early, after the show I showered and relaxed. It was at this time that we discovered the room service menu’s inadequacies. I remember having room service on the Seaside and not having any issues finding something to eat. This cruise I was up in the buffet for breakfast more than I had anything from room service. Mom found items but it was challenging as she doesn’t like chocolate (and most of the menu was chocolate items) and can’t have dairy. Other entertainment going on the first night was a welcome party from the cruise staff around 10:45PM in the Promenade and the disco with the DJ after 11PM. DAY 2: At Sea The weather was still chilly outside and the seas were kicked up. Cold fronts coming off the USA East Coast would cause issues during various days of the cruise. Today was the Cruise Critic gathering and the ship did it nicely with cocktails being served at 10AM and little bites to eat. This time they let the passengers mingle a bit before they introduced the officers and presented us with a cake. It was a very nice touch and I got to make some great cruise friends along the way! It was today I discovered the Gym on Deck 16 mid-ship and wanted to do a workout since the weather wasn’t warm enough for it. The gym was packed solid and hideously small for a ship this size. Some of the cardio equipment was broken further compounding the crowded feel of the place. I went for a walk around the walking track with mom that goes around mid-ship to aft on Deck 16 to get some steps for the day. While doing the walking track, it’s single file so where possible I walked outside to the right of it to talk with mom. Runners were coming along on the other lane or just running everywhere and not staying in their lane. When you got to the aft section of the Horizon Pool where the track loops around on the Starboard side, you go right through a smoking area! How dumb!! If you’re trying to workout, why on Earth would you want to inhale smoke?! After an early lunch, I decided to go to the gym and finally found a spot to work out on the mat. I did have to work in for one of the two benches near the free weights. Very few guests were sanitizing equipment after use so I did before each usage. The side room which could be a good stretching area, was locked as it had the spin cycles in them. An aerobics room was missing on this ship since they used the basketball/soccer court for those classes. You couldn’t take a mat down there to stretch though! After a brief nap, I went to the single / solo cruisers gathering. It was there that I met two wonderful ladies at the bar who introduced me to some of the bar staff they knew from a previous voyage. All the bartenders and wait staff in the Sky Lounge were really friendly, helpful and out-going. It would become a good place for a pre-club drink or to pass time between activities. It was the first formal night of the cruise and I had the beef tournedos. The meat was cooked to order and very well presented but the sauce was way too salty. I didn’t have time for dessert as the ship had scheduled the LGBT gathering at 6:30PM in the Sky Lounge and I wanted to attend. Both the LGBT and the singles were unhosted events and unlike the Seaside – occurred every night of the cruise from night 2 onward at the Sky Lounge. Since we booked the 9:30PM show because I was unsure whether or not the LGBT gathering would run late or not, mom and I went to the Sportsplex which included the arcade, bowling, F1 simulators and the flight simulators. I purchased the Fun Pass pre-cruise for $100 for what I thought was unlimited usage of the entire complex, it turned out, it wasn’t unlimited but that’s not too much of a worry after the weather finally moderated. Of note, the bowling only had one functional lane meaning you had to arrange an appointment to use it. The 4D Cinema was intense. I played all three of the interactive movies with the skeletons in the mine one being the gentlest of them all. It’s quite an intense experience. The arcade has minimal games for a ship this size: 1 competing motorcycle game, Star Wars Game, shooting game (which didn’t seem to be working during the voyage much) and a demolition style sit down race car game. Turned out I was really good at destroying opponents in this game! The arcade would be a good place to pass time in between moments in the evening hours where entertainment gaps existed. I would highly recommend the Fun Pass at $100. The 4D Cinema is $10 per person, bowling is $25 for a half hour play, F1 was also expensive. One bad weather day and you could easily hit the $100! FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: One Day More It was the first production show of the cruise, featuring Broadway hits like Singing in the Rain, Cats, Les Miserables. The productions make extensive use of LED walls for graphics saving tons of space for props and endless costume changes back stage. The production cast tonight was great, the opera singers were more overpowering of their cohort singers in group numbers but I knew they’d both be shining stars during opera night later in the cruise! I would definitely recommend catching this show on the ship! Tonight, was the first night I went to the Attic Club disco on the ship. It was here that I discovered one of the two DJs from the Seaside was onboard (and he wasn’t the better one from Seaside – DJ Tony). At the bar in the nightclub was a younger guy with his head down sleeping, apparently passed out. Security went over to check on him and let him stay there but he put his head back down. Eventually he ordered two Red Bull and was much more awake but only caffeinated. It was a good night out but most hung outside at the Horizon Bar to smoke on the starboard side. With the crosswinds, it would waft across the deck into the non-smoking area making it impossible to get air. The Attic Club was insanely hot as the ship still had the heat on from the colder cruises. I retired shortly around 1AM. DAY 3: At Sea It’s October 30th and the ship began coming alive with Halloween decorations. The culinary team in the buffet carved pumpkins yesterday all day in the kitchen they make the fresh mozzarella in and today they setup a display of them with fake candles. The display was just as you entered the Marketplace Buffet. Also, in the Meraviglia Lounge, they had pumpkins carved on the tables there and the whole bar was even more decorated than the previous day. Actually, the whole Promenade on Deck 6 was alive with Halloween items, including some scary looking man who was later used for photos by the ship’s photography team. The weather was not cooperating so well so the Fun Pass was used to play some bowling, arcade games and 4D Cinema before heading back to rest for the afternoon. The temperature outside was finally starting to moderate a bit but the weather was still overcast with occasional rain showers. We also found a nice place to go for a walk downstairs away from the smokers. It was on Deck 7 forward and was a horseshoe from port side to starboard side through the front tunnel in the ship from one bump out section to the other. It’s by the life rafts and was a good place to go to not be in the direct sunlight as well. There are NO deck chairs on this deck, it was strictly used for walking purposes only and it’s not very well advertised. Crew do a lot of work out on this deck so parts may be shut off as well. Today, the ship delivered strawberries and prosecco to the room as part of the Diamond status Voyager’s Club welcome back gift. Prior to sailing, make sure to status match with your other cruise line’s loyalty club status. On NCL I’m Platinum Plus which makes me Diamond on MSC. Just before dinner it was announced Cirque du Soleil’s scheduled performance of Viaggio was cancelled due to the rough sea conditions. I was scheduled to attend the 9:30PM showing. It would become practically a routine to visit the scheduling guy at the Carousel Lounge to get the shows rescheduled this cruise. Why would you ever build a show lounge at the aft of a ship for a Cirque performance? The least amount of movement is mid-ship! Tonight, after switching the dining time around, the birthday cake showed up to the Panorama restaurant for mom. The first night it was delivered to the Waves Restaurant because we were scheduled to be there but the second night I left early before it could be served. It became a running joke this cruise because the travel agent also bought a cake for my mom’s birthday so there were TWO cakes floating around the ship! The section host, William, did a splendid job of tracking them all down and getting them arranged though! FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Born to Rock The second production show of the cruise with the production cast was mom’s favorite. She loves rock music and loved all the tunes. They had Tina Turner and many other rock legends. The production was pretty solid with full usage of LED panels and several wardrobe changes by all. Less group singing in this production so it made it a lot smoother. A definite must catch show! THEME NIGHT: Country and Western Night MSC has several theme nights on their American sailings or so it would seem (some appeared on the Seaside as well). The first theme night was Country and Western. I don’t particularly like country music but I was interested to see what they would do. The cruise staff dressed in Western attire and danced to the same line dance songs you’d hear most other places with a few country dance tunes thrown in for good measure. The overhead LED panels in the promenade had different graphics displaying throughout the event. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Beer Prov Adult Comedy Show This was an adult’s only improv comedy show. It started slow and just died. It wasn’t too funny and when it took too long to setup the next act, most people, including myself walked out. I felt bad for them but with a more engaging party (Country Night) going on just feet away, I felt my time could be better used to watch people have fun than those four TRYING to be funny. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Black Light Party Cirque du Soleil might’ve been cancelled but the Carousel Lounge was still open for usage. I loved the Carousel Lounge as a nightclub. Yes, the bar had a significant shortage of various types of alcohol requiring you to walk to the casino bar to get your drink but the lighting system and sound systems in there were FAR superior to the Attic Club. It also was much better climate controlled. It was sad the Neon party only lasted one hour before they closed it down at 12:30AM and sent us up to the Attic Club. DAY 4: At Sea – Happy Halloween MSC Meraviglia Finally, a good morning to go sunning on the pool deck after breakfast! I went up for a little while before returning to the room to join my mom at the Welcome Back Cocktail reception on the Promenade Deck 6 for all Voyager’s Club member. The event was attended by all senior staff on the ship with little snacks and drinks being served, including non-alcoholic ones. The best part was the production cast came through and did a song and dance number for us after the captain came by to say some remarks and toast. There was also a history presentation on the LED ceiling. It was very well done and probably the best welcome back party I’ve attended on any cruise line to date! After a buffet lunch, it was time to hit the gym. While most folks were out on the pool deck or worked out earlier, I could find a corner to do my ab workout and didn’t have to battle nearly as many people for the equipment. Dinner tonight was ribs and an Asian Salad. The salad was good. I asked for a double order of the ribs and still felt hungry. I didn’t order more because of the showtime and needing to get to the theater. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Serge Massot Yes, this ventriloquist came back with a new show dubbed to be full of surprises and laughs. Some of it mirrored the first show and there were new elements. The female he selected from the audience clearly didn’t want to do it and looked like she could’ve punched him at any time. I was sitting in the back and her unwillingness was palpable from there! It was a show to see but again, if he’s on, take a pass on it. THEME NIGHT: Halloween Several cruise guests, largely Americans, dressed up for Halloween. The top 3 were picked by the cruise staff for final voting up on the bridge in the Promenade. I dressed up as Cesar, quite a few vampires around but the winner of the contest was a group of drag Pan Am flight attendants and a pilot. I’ve never had my picture taken by so many cruisers before! A ship’s photographer named Veronica (I think) also snagged me for a photo shoot and she did some amazing poses. She was having a ton of fun with it! I don’t customarily buy ship photos but I did from her shoot. She’s got a good eye! Music tonight was by DJ Fabiano and the LED ceiling was on fire with creative and spooky graphics. I’ve done 3 Halloween parties at sea and this was by far the best one yet! Bravo Meraviglia entertainment team! The after party was up in the Attic Club and Horizon Pool Bar at midnight but since I was getting up to go ashore tomorrow, I went up for a bit and went to bed. Cirque du Soleil was cancelled again tonight, although it was the SONOR show I was scheduled to see. It was again due to the ship swaying in the sea conditions (high winds). DAY 5: Land Ho! ST MAARTEN After a quick breakfast, it was off the ship and in a taxi with other guests to head to Maho Beach. I was heading to Cupecoy Beach, a LGBT friendly beach on the island. It cost me $30 for the trip for myself one way. When we arrived at Maho Beach, the beach was underwater and the sand had gone up over the wall and a bus got stuck causing a traffic jam. This should’ve been my clue to get out but I didn’t. I went to Cupecoy anyway and the beach conditions were similar. The beach was underwater due to the tides and high seas. I stayed and sunned myself on the rocks until some other cruisers from the ship arrived. We walked the different inlets from above and admired the views. I split the van on the way back with the other guys from the ship. It took us one hour to get back to the ship because the traffic was so bad. Mom spent the day walking around Philipsburg, St Maarten and finding tissues. She wasn’t sick at this point but the only option available at the time was to use toilet paper to clean out your nose when you awakened in the morning. This was very silly to her (and eventually to me too when I saw what a lack of it was doing to the ship) so she sought out tissues and made that her day ashore. She was successful. You knew it was starting to get bad on the ship because a hand sanitizer lady appeared in the entry way to the Marketplace Buffet. She wasn’t there until this day. When I arrived back onboard and synced by phone back to the Meraviglia Wi-Fi, the restaurant reservation was gone showing what time we were supposed to have Teppanyaki. My mom reserved the Teppanyaki for me to celebrate a career advancement. SPECIALTY DINING: Kaito Teppanyaki This specialty restaurant is where a cook prepares a meal in front of you using a grill and puts on a show. The price varies depending on what meal you select. I had the Samurai meal which was 7 courses and included sushi, salad, soup, tempura, steak, rice and dessert. Mom had the vegetarian version of it with tofu, cucumber rolls (versus tuna rolls), tempura, salad, soup and dessert. Dominique from the Philippines prepared our meal on the grill and did an excellent job of the show. I asked him if he’d been on NCL doing it as the show was quite similar and he said he actually did work on NCL. If you’ve done Teppanyaki on NCL, this is similar but with more food (courses). Also, during the reservation process, the lady asked my mom if I was celebrating anything and she put it in the computer. To my surprise, during dessert time, the Kaito crew came out with a congratulations cake and sang a modified happy birthday congratulations song to me! I wasn’t expecting it and it caught me off guard… my mom’s payback for the birthday cake for her earlier on I presumed! It was a great meal with excellent service. I would bump into the waitstaff in the mornings up in the buffet and they’d always greet me by name. Impressive! FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Antonio Versini: A world of Hands I figured this would be the standard magicians show with sleight of hand magic tricks and such. It actually was that and a whole lot more. He put up this projection light on the starboard side and this circle screen in the back and started doing impressions with his hands of animals, singers while songs were playing and morphed them all together. It was quite impressive and unique as I’d not seen anything like this before at sea. THEME PARTY: White Party A signature event on MSC seems to be their White Party. It’s simple, you wear white and dance the night away. It was the first night a party was held at the Atmosphere Pool outside. It was high energy once the line dance songs ended that accompanied most theme nights on the voyage. We had some good EDM tunes before the party shut down at midnight and moved to the Horizon Pool and Bar on Deck 16 / 18 aft. I stayed up until 1AM enjoying the fun before heading to bed. DJ Fabiano was spinning the after party. At the bar, one of the late bookers was drunk and loudly complaining about how crappy the music was. He was a complete buzzkill for anyone near him at the Horizon Bar. DAY 6: FORT-DE-FRANCE, MARTINIQUE We called on Fort-de-France, Martinique and when the morning started it was sunny and I had a leisurely buffet breakfast. I was joined by another solo from New York who hopped on last minute. She was very pleasant and we chatted for a bit. By the time I got off the ship, the sky had changed and storms were coming. The local dancers were out and performing tunes for photo ops. We decided to head to the museum we couldn’t see the last time we were there because it was Sunday. This time it was Saturday and the museum still closed because it was a holiday weekend for them (All Saints Day). The problem with going to the other side of town was the sky opened up and it down poured. Everyone ran for cover; my very large umbrella was no match for the deluge of rain that came. I ducked into an open shop. It was at this time we began to realize most of the city was closed! After getting soaked, it was time to head back to the ship and change. We decided on a leisurely lunch in the Panorama Dining Room. It was leisurely alright; it took 1.5 hours to get our lunch service and it largely seemed because the waitstaff didn’t want any other people to sit in their section again. We never dined in Panorama for lunch again after this one experience. In the PM, I returned to the gym and did a workout waiting for the sun to come out and then watched as the new guests embarked. The cruise was split into two segments to try and get more of it sold. We had a lot of new faces but sadly the sick ones were still around coughing everywhere. I continued to use my avoidance precautions as best as I could but the buffet was a hot bed of germs. Tonight, seemed to be a Greek themed menu so I stuck with the selection of Greek plates including Zucchini meatballs (Kefeta [sic]), slovaki and a custard pie for dessert. A table mate recommended all the dishes and he was supported by Lino, our head waiter for our table. It was a pretty tasty meal. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Virtual The third production show of the cruise featuring the singers and dancers. The show is with more modern music and features a cast member interacting with a phone which has different apps. Dancers come out as dancing emojis and such. While the costuming was engaging, the show, in my opinion, was the weakest one of all the productions. It just didn’t flow right and seemed wonky as they moved from app to app on an iPhone displayed on the LED screen. THEME NIGHT: Space Party I didn’t know or have anything for this party to wear so I just went as I was. It seemed like a lot of cruisers just showed up because it was on right after the show. It was at 10:15PM in the Promenade. The LED ceiling had different solar system displays and stars showing. It was a nice party with the cruise staff decked out in light up silver wardrobe. The funny part was the party was over at 11PM and they told everyone to check out the after party up at the Horizon Bar. When I went up there along with several other cruise guests, there was no music! Someone messed up this night and left a one-hour gap between the two parties! When the DJ came up, it was music under the stars at the Horizon Bar and not inside at the Attic Club. The lack of music and movement for one hour made me exhausted so I headed to bed shortly after midnight. DAY 7: BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS Our arrival was a nail biter for those of us on the starboard side of the ship. We watched as the ship backed into the channel and then come alongside a shipping container vessel (carrying some MSC containers by the way), and then slowly inching back. It was probably the tightest park job I’ve ever seen by a ship. We had to use this section of the pier because it was Sunday and the trolley trains wouldn’t be working. It was truly a sight to behold and nice work by the shore pilot and the bridge crew for an awesome docking without hitting anything (cargo ship or pier)! It was Sunday so everything was largely closed here. It wasn’t due to the same holiday in Martinique but just a very traditional church-going island. This actually worked in our favor as we decided to head to the Garrison and see if the George Washington House might be open. The ship was doing a tour to it so we figured we would try and the walk was a nice jaunt from the ship. We arrived and found a worker who was doing some clean up and said we could enter for $10USD per person. We did and walked the whole site and when we were leaving, the curator actually had just come back from church to close it up. He opened it before church for the ship’s tour. We lucked out! It was noon so we tried a place close by, one of two that were open for lunch called Brown Sugar Restaurant. It was a buffet lunch for $40 USD per person, since the other food option open was spicy Jamaican, we had to dine here. The service was non-existent. We needed water as the sun had emerged finally and it was a scorcher but the lady seemed to make it a chore to refill the glass even once. The buffet was extensive but not worth the money they were charging. After lunch, we decided to take a taxi back over to the port because it was so hot! The one-way taxi fare cost us $20 USD. Back on the ship, we showered and relaxed. Tonight’s dinner menu was not appetizing. I had the strip steak off the always available menu and it was tough despite requesting it be medium. This was one of two nights where I found the main dining room’s menu seriously disappointing and I’m not a picky person by any means. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Come Il Mare This night featured the Italian opera singers of the Meraviglia. We had heard them in earlier productions but tonight showcased their range. It was a spectacular show. Before the show and the previous night, the cruise director made it a point to say the show wouldn’t be for everyone. It wasn’t for everyone. The interpretations were on the side panels of the words being sung. The problem was the port side panel with the English was partially blocked by the curtain to the stage. I still enjoyed it! An aside: What I found really rude was despite the warning, the folks who had the 8:30 dining time still attended the show and got up and left en masse to their dining room! It was beyond rude given the caliber of the production being put on. MSC needs to put a block on reserving the show times if it overlaps with the person’s scheduled dining times. Folks with late seating need to see the first show only. Folks with the early seating see the second or third shows depending on when they finish. It’s much more respectful to the performers and the audience that way. THEME PARTY: Pirates Party Channel your inner Jack Sparrow mate and come along on the promenade for a fun-filled night at sea! I had a pirate shirt with me after learning of this theme on the Seaside the year prior. It was well-received by the staff who were surprised anyone had anything to go along! It was a typical night of line dances. However, when the party ended at 11PM this time around, I knew there would be a one-hour gap between music so I went straight to bed. DAY 8: GRENADA MSC SHORE EXCURSION: Spices and Rainforest Despite having been on so many cruises, sometimes I do go to someplace new. Today was the day to explore Grenada using a ship’s excursion because I didn’t know the island. I always take an organized tour the first time to a place and then go on my own the second time after I have my bearings. With that said, do NOT take this tour if you’re prone to motion sickness. The roads in Grenada are tight with lots of twists and turns and ups and downs. I got was getting car sick in the back and trying to get some fresh air. The AC in the tour van wasn’t working effectively and the hot air plus the lady who was coughing her head off up front was making me feel more nauseous. Finally, at the lake when I almost puked, the driver let me open the back window. I was fine thereafter but we had already stopped at the spice factory and driven well over an hour like this. The spice factory was short but informative with a 20-minute presentation and then time for shopping in the gift shop out front. The next stops were in the mountain at a lake and national park and then the Annendale Falls. The falls were spectacular and I wish I could’ve gone swimming but timing didn’t allow for it. They had cliff divers doing crazy jumps into the water for money. When the tour returned to the ship, I was still queasy. Overall, there were cheaper taxi options available doing a similar tour minus the nutmeg factory. However, no tour will be without the windy, bumpy roads so keep this in mind. We sailed for Curacao at 2PM. I went back and sunned for a bit before catching the Snow Party up on deck. At the pier welcome back show they had today, they had the snow machine out there and it appeared again on the pool deck for fake snow during this party. I live in New England, the last thing I wanted to see was snow – fake or real! Ha but it was a good afternoon party to have poolside and helped pass the time. SPECIALTY RESTAURANT: Butcher’s Cut (Elegant Night) As a Diamond member, you are given a choice of complimentary specialty dining. We chose this restaurant. The sommelier was quite helpful in finding mom a non-alcoholic drink she could order since the first one she had ordered; the ship didn’t have one of the ingredients. I ordered a glass of Robert Mondavi and the sommelier delivered it promptly. He was very attentive and so was the specialty restaurant manager who stopped by to say hello. I had the shrimp cocktail, the New York Steak (better quality than main dining room) and cheesecake for dessert. It was a nicely paced meal with great service offered by all. It was a nice evening to have dinner away from Panorama and well done! FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Way Yet another production show brought to you by the production cast of the MSC Meraviglia. It was a high energy dance show with some opera thrown in. I sat much closer to the stage than I usually do for this show because it had filled up quite early tonight. The dancers had a soda fountain themed attire and several wardrobe changes. I liked the energy from it and would recommend it. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Cirque du Soleil’s VIAGGIO The production was off to a very slow start. It didn’t seem too engaging. When the jugglers and all the other entertainers got going together, the show ended. It took forever for it to ramp up to something exciting and when it did, it was over in the blink of an eye! Yes, there were people walking on the LED wall sideways and a bike which was being pedaled across the ceiling but this show was not like any other type of Cirque show I’ve seen before. It was my first Cirque du Soleil and frankly, I wasn’t impressed by it. My mother fell asleep because it was boring. Other guests were just as confused as we were when the show ended because it had just started to get good when it did so. Being so short, it meant it had to be high energy the whole way through and instead it seemed like the last 10 minutes were. I would skip this show. I did the drink option for $18 pre-booked online. THEME NIGHT: Gatsby Party The Gatsby Party was taking a step back to the roaring 20s with cruise staff in period costumes. Since I was in Viaggio during most of it, I didn’t hear the actual type of music played but the LED ceiling was still putting on a good show while it was happening. DAY 9: CURACAO We arrived at 1PM. I went up on the sun deck and grabbed some sun before our arrival. I started to feel a bit under the weather today. Mom had started to feel that way at the end of the previous day. By the time we docked at 1PM, I was definitely coming down with something. During the afternoon, mom and I walked over to the Maritime museum and had a look around at the exhibits. The museum was not too far from the Queen Emma pontoon bridge. We had a walking tour of historical buildings in Willemstad we did afterward on our own. The ship was offering something similar but we found this walking tour online and it actually explained buildings quite well. We walked around quite extensively before heading back to the ship. Tonight’s main dining room theme was Tropical Night. The menu featured Jamaican jerk chicken and several other Caribbean favorites. It was a good menu, but not perhaps if you’re not a fan of spicy foods. It seemed like the spices weren’t too heavily applied though to the dishes I had but I have a high tolerance for spice. I went back off the ship after dinner since we were in port until 11PM to grab a drink in town with friends. It was a nice night off the ship. Most of the crew were off the ship that worked during the day, the production casts had the night off and were out and about in town. I returned to the ship and skipped the Tropical Latin Party to go to bed. I was exhausted and wanted to try and beat whatever this sinus thing was happening. Thankfully I had bought more tissues! DAY 10: ARUBA Today, mom and I walked around town which was scorching hot as the sun was out! It looked like it was threatening rain but it never materialized. We first went to the National Aruba Archaeological Museum. It was highlighted in a tour book of the island we had bought years earlier. When we arrived, the gentleman said we were in luck as the museum had just reopened during a ceremony the night prior with a new exhibit as well. The cost of admission was FREE. The museum was quite interactive and extensive on the island’s history and archaeological finds. I enjoyed it and would recommend it! The Aruba Historical Museum was also in Oranjestad and it was a five-dollar admission fee. What the gentleman at the ticket booth failed to state was this museum was also under renovations with the exhibits squished in the middle of the floor and largely unlabeled. They were in the process of moving things around. You could climb the fort tower and get a view in both directions. Overall, I would pass on this museum until they’re done their reorganization of exhibits. The island has a few other museums on offer as well and can be found by going to Visit Aruba’s website. We didn’t go to the model train museum as it was too far out of town. However, there was an antiquities museum in town as well. There was a free trolley running very infrequently from the port taking you on a loop around town. It was free as well. This was new since the last time I was in town. The entire port area had been done over nicely. When we returned to the ship, this was the first port where workers were outside squirting you with hand sanitizer besides the girl in the buffet. The gym was largely deserted so after a late lunch, I went there to do a workout and see if I could sweat out whatever this bug was coming on. I took a brief nap before getting ready for dinner. I didn’t write down what was on the menu tonight but it couldn’t have been too memorable as I didn’t take photos of it either. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Life is Magic Now here was a proper magic show with sleight of hand tricks, the sawing in half of the beautiful lady, putting her in a box and escaping and then switching it out for the magician. The show was definitely engaging and used some of the dancers as well to move things along between his wardrobe changes or setting up for the next act. I would recommend this show if it’s still around on the ship for the 7-day itineraries. For the second time, the production of SONOR from Cirque du Soleil was cancelled due to a technical issue. This time it wasn’t due to rough seas. When I went to go and change out the tickets, they were in the midst of a dress rehearsal or something and there were a bunch of technicians standing around. Since this was the second time I had to re-schedule this show, I wasn’t happy. If they had done this rehearsal earlier in the day instead of going ashore (which they did do because I saw them out), the cast would’ve discovered the technical problem and got it fixed in time. I was starting to regret booking any of the Cirque du Soleil shows on the ship. THEME NIGHT: 60s, 70s and 80s Party The cruise staff once again dressed up in their best 70s outfits, mostly bell-bottoms and glistening tops. The party was true to the time frames in questions featuring songs from the 60s, 70s and 80s which were heard at most of the other parties. I didn’t finish the party and went to bed. DAY 11: At Sea The morning consisted of a Welcome Back party for Diamond Card members only on the deck 6 promenade with more drinks and light snacks available. The LED screen did a performance of outer space landing on Earth and then the Captain and the senior officers appeared on the bridge. They seemed to be keeping their distance from the cruise guests as a good portion of the ship was now sick with whatever upper respiratory / sinus bug was going around. In the afternoon after a buffet lunch, I went out to the sun deck and relaxed. They had a King of the Sea show on at 4PM but it seemed like they picked up random people to do it. It wasn’t overly entertaining so I went back to the room to shower and take a nap. Tonight’s dinner was a formal night and the beef tournedos were on the menu again. I ordered a double of them as the meal was good the first time around. The first one was very tender but the second one on the plate was overcooked. I’m not sure how that occurred but the salt from the covering made me thirsty the rest of the night. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Paz This is a production showcasing the Flamenco dance with the art of Picasso on the LED screens behind the dancers and rotating through the audience projections. The lead dancers did an amazing job. The footwork of both of them was so fast and graceful, it was a good show. The artwork itself was enjoyable to see and how they worked it into the show. Definitely a must catch, especially if you like the flamenco dance. MOVIES UNDER THE STARS: Cars 3 The ship had run a few shows and music video type productions on the big screen at the pool but tonight was Cars 3. I hadn’t seen it in its entirety with my nephew and was waiting on the silent disco to open so I watched it for a bit until I got to a part I saw and then got a drink and came back. It’s nice they have a movie on the big screen because during the day, the screen is largely used for what’s on at the pool deck with no movies playing. There’s just tables and chairs setup but no food on offer like Princess Cruises does with popcorn and such. The bar is open there if you want to do a walk-up drink order. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Silent Disco The Carousel Lounge once again opened up with a silent disco. Housing three channels, one EDM, one Latin and one old school, there was plenty on offer. It seemed most people were on the first channel which the DJ was actually spinning in real time. The other two were pre-recorded it seemed. You had to check in for the headset and check out for it. The problem was, the bar in the Carousel Lounge didn’t have Grey Goose so I had to exit to get a drink at the bar straight ahead in the casino. You also had to hand over the headset when you had to use the bathroom which was just outside the Carousel Lounge. It seemed a little bit silly if they scanned your cruise card for taking one of the headsets. However, the Carousel Lounge was an amazing venue and it was a fun night. The music continued after the Silent Disco ended up at the Horizon Pool and Bar. I stayed up a bit later to dance to the music before finally crashing to bed around 1:30AM. DAY 12: JAMAICA Now if you’re wondering why we hit Jamaica, it was because on November 4, 2019 after sailing from Grenada it was announced due to operational issues on Ocean Cay, the island was not ready to accept ship visits. As a result, the compensation offered was a $100 onboard credit and a 20% of cruise fare paid to be applied to a future cruise. The compensation offered was astounding for missing a private island. I wasn’t sure they were going to make it there when I saw the photos on Cruise Critic prior to sailing but if we did it would’ve been nice to be one of the first. Turns out three sailings stops were cancelled and now it seems on hold for the next sailings as well. Since we would’ve had 3 sea days instead of 2, MSC decided to have the ship call in Ocho Rios, Jamaica since there was berth space available. When we arrived in Jamaica, we pulled in and looked like we were going to dock at the James Bond pier which was not close to anything but swung a hard left and came around to the other closer pier. We didn’t book anything on this island as we’ve seen what we wanted to see. Mom just wanted to go to the shopping center outside the port area with Margaritaville and to find another box of tissues. The tissue hunt brought us way outside the port with all the harassing taxi drivers trying to sell you tours every 2 feet and then other seedy characters trying to sell you marijuana. Both were out of luck, in MA marijuana is legal. I don’t smoke it but told them it was legal back home so didn’t need it. They didn’t like that response. Ha ha! Soon, those annoying folks are not going to find someone to buy it. One interesting thing to note, while the taxi drivers were all local, a predominant part of the stores we visited in search of tissues were not owned by original islanders. We had noticed this in the last few ports but this was really in your face here. No wonder the locals are not making any money if they can’t even sell their tourist wares. It seemed more desperate than my last visit. I truly was annoyed with the locals pushing stuff at me every couple of feet. I wanted to get back to the ship asap. I really wished MSC had gone somewhere, ANYWHERE but Jamaica like Cayman or Cozumel! Tonight, was Italian Night on the ship. In the main dining room, the menu was Italian themed with meatballs as an app, chicken parmigiana and Osso Bucco on order for mains and a lemoncello-type of dessert. The waiter also brought the second cake for my mom that was ordered by the travel agent. It was a nice touch and they did a whole big thing. The cake said Best Wishes and it was handled by William, the section lead. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Meraviglioso Amor The last of the production shows was the second best for mom (Born to Rock her first) and one of my favorites as well. The production featured hits like Gloria, foreign love songs with familiar lyrics so the person knew what it was no matter what language it was. The dancers and singers came together at the end along with the cruise staff and selected staff from different areas to say goodbye to Italian opera singers singing Time to Say Goodbye. It was a fitting close to a great show and a capstone to the production shows presented throughout the voyage. After the show ended, we hurried down the promenade to the logo shop for the Logo Shop Happy Hour where if you buy 3 things you would get 20% off. I bought a Lego version of the ship for my nephew for Christmas and two magnets to give him of the Doremi character for the refrigerator and trip souvenirs. I was also entered to win a ship figurine signed by the Captain. Since it was 9PM, I stuck around for the drawing. I didn’t win it but it was a good thing I hadn’t because my luggage was already overweight! THEME PARTY: MSC Little Italy The cruise staff were dressed in the colors of Italy but sadly I was exhausted so I went to bed after quickly stopping by. To be in theme, just wear red, white or green or all three! DAY 13: Sea Day The last day on the ship meant doing things I’d said I was going to do the whole cruise and never got around to. After walking a bit in the morning after eating breakfast, mom and I stopped by the Bamboo Pool for a smoothie. The Bamboo Pool had a bunch of delicious smoothies and the MSC for Me app tipped me off to them when they offered a special earlier in the cruise. I did stop by and look at the beverage menu and said I would return. I never did until today. I had the Strawberry concoction with yogurt and it was very nice. Mom sampled a different one without the yogurt in it and hers was a purple color so I’m not sure what was in it. The drinks cost $6.50 each but were pretty decent for the price paid. I spent the rest of the morning catching some sun and returned for lunch to the Marketplace to meet up with mom. After lunch we decided to head to the Photo Shop to pick up the complimentary Mediterranean night photo and find the others. I found the Halloween photos and decided to buy one of them. The embarkation photo didn’t look good so we chucked that. Vanessa who did the photo shoot with the Halloween photos rang us up. I asked her why they had printed all these photos when you can tap the cruise card in the kiosks and print them around the corner. It is so wasteful and you have to jack up the price of the photos to cover all the paper and chemical waste. MSC should have a selection pre-cruise where you choose if you want any photos printed or if you want them done digitally and you can request the print be made if you like it. This would be more environmentally friendly and perhaps the cost savings could mean they’d purchase tissues for the staterooms again! Win win, right?! After finishing up with the photos, I met up with some cruise friends at the Polar Aquapark in the aft part of Deck 19. I had not been up there the whole cruise but wanted to try the water slides. The water slides were a ton of fun. Two of them require an inflatable tube to ride, the other one which shoots you into a bowl doesn’t require a tube. The bowl slide was not as fun as you don’t shoot around it as much and then stop and have to climb out and go down the stairs. There are other water features largely geared towards kids but tons of adults were in the water park having fun too! After the water park, I needed some sun to dry off as I had to finish packing stuff including the bathing suit. The girls who I met were in the Aurea area up front on Deck 19. I wondered what this area was like as it faces the pool deck. It wasn’t relaxing because the music from the pool deck is blasting right at you. It was also a bit windy up there since it was so high up. I went back down to Deck 18 forward behind the screen and a nap. At the last dinner we had an amazing time chatting with our table mates and wishing each other well in our future travels. We also missed the Beer Prov Adult Comedy Show. I wasn’t too saddened by missing it and instead enjoyed the company of our fellow table mates a bit longer. We returned to the room to do the last of the packing and get the bags out of the room. They had to be out by 1AM but ours was out by 9:30PM. We went to bed early because we had to meet in the Carousel Lounge at 7:30AM. All Diamond US citizens had to meet at that time and were assigned Lilac 1 luggage tags. DAY 14 – MIAMI, FL, USA I was up at 5:15AM to get ready and the Marketplace Buffet was open at 6AM. When we got upstairs, the Norwegian Breakaway was still in the Miami turning basin. Goodness, what an early start this was! We were in the channel in the early hours of the morning and tied up. The siren they have on the inside of the ship by the bulkhead doors that opens out is so darn loud and ricochets off the buildings it was impossible to sleep with our starboard side facing the pier. This made a long day even longer. We reported to the Carousel Lounge as directed by the information left in our stateroom. You had to vacate your stateroom by 8AM anyway. We noticed none of the luggage tags had been called. This continued for over an hour as we noticed more and more cruisers disappearing from the Carousel Lounge with Lilac tags. We had a noon flight and needed to get off the ship. When 8:30AM came and they said disembarkation had been stopped, I made my move and asked where the actual gang ways were because we needed to get out. The lady told me where they were but disembark had stopped. When it resumed, we were in position and got off. Most of the lilac people had done so as well. There was huge gaps in luggage in the terminal for a luggage color that wasn’t called yet! No wonder the whole disembarkation process was messed up. The line for the non-US citizens inside the terminal was lengthy. All of them needed to be fingerprinted. For US citizens, all they did was snap a photo of the passport with a handheld device and send us on our way. The US citizen line moved faster and those were supposed to be the ones getting off the ship first anyway if people read the instructions! We made it to the airport by 10AM and checked in for our flight home. THOUGHTS ON SHIP DESIGN: The Meraviglia is a ship dubbed for all seasons. Her overall design supports her being a ship for cold weather cruising only. Her top deck is woefully inadequate for the passenger load she has and this will become a problem when the ship commences its Caribbean season. One side of the ship is always shaded from the smokestack back and deck chairs are crammed in every nook and cranny along the walking/jogging track. If you’re looking for a proper sun deck, stick with the MSC Seaside sailing year-round Miami. The ship’s interiors have some really beautiful spaces including the crystal staircases in the atrium. There’s a lot of wasted space on Deck 6 and 7 midship where the entry to the dining rooms and casino / Carousel Lounge are respectively. The gym is a postage stamp and is in dire need of better equipment and expansion. The promenade is great but with all sorts of sales going on and photography setups, it makes passing this area a pinch point every night on the way to the shows. The bathrooms on this ship were always distant from where you were, especially for the nightclub. If you wanted a bathroom that was large enough from the Attic Club, you had to walk down past the kid’s club to the ones by the elevators. The Horizon Pool had a one stall bathroom on Deck 16 but this wasn’t enough to support a mildly packed nightclub. You’d always have to walk a distance to use the bathroom. This didn’t make sense if the goal was alcohol sales! Likewise, for the sun deck, if you are on Deck 18 forward by the solarium roof, you have to come down one deck and go inside across the Bamboo Pool below where you were sunning and into the bathroom there. There didn’t seem like any convenient bathrooms to the Atmosphere pool deck either. You had to go into the Marketplace buffet to go bathroom. I never found it more cumbersome to need a bathroom on any cruise ship than this one! I found this truly odd. The Carousel Lounge is a far superior venue and fully equipped with a lot of audio-visual equipment. I’m surprised only a very small portion of what the equipment was in the lounge was used for Cirque du Soleil. It was evident either the shows were changed in some way to shorten them or to make it easier for the cast. There were projections and a large circular screen which were never deployed during either Viaggio or SONOR. I tend to notice production aspects more and love a good visual show. Sonor used some visuals on the LED wall but not nearly as much as the room was capable of handling. Lastly, the ship’s walking and running tracks are so crammed during warm weather days with sun bathers and people trying to run and walk and just figure out what they’re doing, it would make sense to have walkers use the Deck 7 semi-loop and leave the runners topside. My mom got clipped a few times by runners while staying in her lane. The runners didn’t seem to care or apologize for it either. This ship is not the best for fitness if you’re looking for that. STAFF SHOUT OUT: I always like to recognize staff who went above and beyond to make my holiday memorable. Ahmadi, my stateroom steward for accommodating most special requests (sans tissues) and always greeting me in the hallway no matter the time of day or night when he was working. He got used to our schedule and cleaned our room when we had our dinner. Our dining team of Lino, the main waiter and Frederick, the assistant waiter, were amazing and kept us hydrated and offered us more food if we wanted it. If we wanted more, there was rarely a wait. William who oversaw this team of amazing professionals was also quite attentive and handled a special request to find decaf tea for mom. When coming to the USA, the Meraviglia had to get rid of this nice tea display case which didn’t comply with USCG Vessel Sanitation program inspection criteria. As a result, it was a hunt for various versions of tea. He saw to it mom had her supply! He also oversaw the birthday cake situation and figured out a workable solution! Ryan De Leon in the Sky Lounge and in the nightclub was also amazing. He knew my name and my drink order by heart! Lastly, the Kaito Teppanyaki restaurant cook Dominique for a good show and the team who would greet me whenever they saw me in the Marketplace Buffet when they were up there selling the restaurant. Even the guest services staff on this ship were so kind and helpful (unlike Seaside’s guest service staff). I had a repeated issue with the ink on my stateroom keycard rubbing off in the intense heat topside and they replaced it without issue and with a smile. They have the toughest job on the ship constantly getting yelled at! SUMMARY: The Meraviglia is a nicely decorated ship. The LED panel is a great way to entertain. The night time cruise staff went out of their way to make the ship enjoyable and make sure everyone was dancing. The crew on the ship were the happiest and most efficient if I had to compare it to the Seaside last October. The crew made the trip. The chef could lay off the salt and I’m not a foodie but if I’m saying it was salty, the food was not as good as the Seaside’s preparation was. I didn’t encounter a rude staff member anywhere on the ship and only had slow service once, in the main dining room during lunch. I know the crew had a chance to get off the ship finally in each of the ports we visited. I think that plus a crew party helped to lift spirits among them. Would I recommend the Meraviglia? For top notch service, yes, I would! Would I sail on the Meraviglia again? I’m not so sure I would. If it were the Caribbean and the Seaside were on offer, I would probably sail Seaside instead. If it is a cold weather cruise, then I would consider Meraviglia again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Already Booked?

Get to know who you’ll be sailing with

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click