And I had something to compare it to - we just finished cruising on RCI, Mariner of the Seas, Western Carribean, which was amazing (food, staff, ship itself). I only picked this ship because of amazing itinerary - many Greek islands, even ... Read More
And I had something to compare it to - we just finished cruising on RCI, Mariner of the Seas, Western Carribean, which was amazing (food, staff, ship itself). I only picked this ship because of amazing itinerary - many Greek islands, even though the cost on MSC Musica was almost twice as much as on RCI Mariner - but again, wanted to see all those islands! I sailed in July 2012, only getting to review now, in Jan. 2014, very sorry for the delay, but wanted to do it.
Just to board the ship was an ordeal, ship was the farthest one away from the monorail in Venice, then the long, long line-up in the heat, people jumping line, it was pure suffering and seemed like chaos. Ship is fairly new, but looked dated, stains on the carpet, worn out look inside, outside the cabin. No welcome, just 'find your own cabin".
First thing, I was just famished from not eating all day (last meal breakfast in Rome the morning of, train ride to Venice), then I get to my cabin and go up to find something to eat, it was around 5pm. There was absolutely nothing, buffet restaurant closes something like 4:30pm, reopens at 7pm. I couldn't comprehend that there was NO food on the whole big ship for 2+ hrs? (every other ship I've been to had a pizza place, gourmet sandwich place - awww, dear Mariner of the Seas one week before... yummy). I asked staff, he disappeared in the kitchen, then brought me 2 apples..... Nooooo, I'm thinking. The sailing away from Venice though was amazing - feast for your eyes, sailing into the open sea from beautiful Venice. So I come at 7pm to the buffet restaurant, and again such a disappointment with the choices of food - first what I see is... burgers... hot dogs... fries... 2-3 salads, yes, other stuff, but really poor basic selection - maybe I was spoiled on other ships (cruised on Emerald Princess, RCI - 2x, Carnival - 4x, Norwegian Dawn, Disney Magic - all I was super happy with) - but I thought it was the norm, to have some good food while cruising. Breakfast - lunch, again average-below average, slim choices, crowds, nowhere to sit, it was bad. The set sit down dinner was eventually kind of ok, but they charge you for bottled water (that is sooo CHEAP) - had some coupons, but not for every day, why not put a carafe with ice for the whole table? They charge for everything that is free on other ships, eg, ice cream. Little things, but together the ship comes across as cheap - disappointing. What shocked me most though is how rude (mostly) Italian staff are. Not the little working bees, wait staff, room stewards from Indonesia, Phillipines - they are very polite! I've seen Italian staff - usually in higher up position to be rude to the lower ranked staff (from Asia), very sad. Especially rude was the head waiter named Bruno, he scolded me for not being able to find me seat once, was sarcastic when I didn't want to order anything to drink when no free water provided... Not just Bruno I remember also staff at the Accounting Desk (there is no ATM on the ship, and no banks really at some tiny islands... so go figure), they act like it's your own fault, you dumb passenger, forgot cash? Too bad, so sad. Most of the passengers are Italians - I've never seen so many people jumping line, shoving, some almost got into fist fights - in a simple line up for food... about who was first. I'm not a difficult person to please, I've traveled a LOT, but this was just bad. When you want to cry.. in frustration... on your dream vacation, that's just bad. The day we disembarked in Santorini was a total fiasco - many passengers on the ship complained afterwards... if they only let you know before hand what's to be expected, but of course not... It's a tiny area when the tenders take you - and that day there were other FOUR ships there! So imagine the crowds of people being dropped off at this small place - from where there's nowhere to go. You either have to take cable car (1+ hr wait) or donkey taxi (1+ hr wait in the HEAT), to get up the mountain where you can do something. I had no clue how this worked, so wasn't prepared (if you take expensive tour - they have it arranged - but not if you want to go on your own). Crowds of sweaty angry people from 5 ships, some jumping the long line... (we had only 1/2 day on this island), those who opted to take a donkey up the hill - abandoned the idea after seeing the poor animals (but they're used to it), but mostly you ride a donkey, the one ahead of you starts pooping - you end up with fresh poop on your flip flops... if you want to walk it - again narrow steep steps up big hill, watch out for poop, fast moving donkeys who bump into you... just a nightmare. Total disorganization. It was my first time on MSC - and never ever again. I guess it's OK for people who have never cruised before, because they just don't know any better. But if you can compare - you're just shocked but how different - Princess - RCI - Carnival - you name it... can be. I remember cruising on Costa Atlantica in 2007, Carribean, also Italian ship... but it was nowhere as bad as MSC... That cruise (Costa) was really nice... Sigh...
So overall - embarkation - chaos, cabin average to below average, service - depending from whom, bad from Italian staff, good from the little worker bees, lower positioned staff, food - buffet upper deck - bad, evening sit down dinner - OK, entertainment - average. Shore excursions - good.