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

124 MSC Cruises Europe - Eastern Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

Firstly the positives: Beautiful new ship, great cabins which are spotless, very good itinerary and extremely good value drinks package which saved us a lot of money. Now the bad! Embarkation at Venice was shambolic - 2 hours herded into ... Read More
Firstly the positives: Beautiful new ship, great cabins which are spotless, very good itinerary and extremely good value drinks package which saved us a lot of money. Now the bad! Embarkation at Venice was shambolic - 2 hours herded into holding area with no information or MSC staff around to speak to. We were given a number and eventually when it was called, we were called into another queue to check in ( we had done this online, but don't bother -it doesn't save any time!) Checked in after another 40 minutes and then had to wait in a further queue to actually board, Disembarkation was similarly chaotic - no announcements, no crew around to direct operations and people eventually just took themselves off the ship and then had a long wait for luggage - some people even missing flights. Food: if you did not avoid the 1-2 crush, when you could not get a seat and when you did, the food was cold, was mostly Mediterranean -- good pizza and pasta, but we abandoned the buffet after 3 days and took all our meals in the restaurant, which was better. Food overall was a bit hit and miss in L'Arabesque restaurant, sometimes good and sometimes really not, but the servings were very small overall and never hot enough. Restaurant staff were very nice but struggling with the number of passengers. The entertainment was only ok - quite similar every night, apart from the Queen tribute which was great. Ports we visited were very good, but there was no information given about the ports, as is customary with other cruise lines. Getting off the ship at these ports was also chaotic and sometimes dangerous. When docked in Dubrovnik the staircases were jammed solid with a lot of pushing and shoving, very dangerous for children and the elderly - and again no crew in evidence to keep any sort of order. Only one X-ray machine at the gangway and one person swiping cards - ridiculous with so many passengers. We had the 8.45pm dining room seating, but rarely finished our meal before 11pm - this is probably a reflection on the Italian way of dining, where meals are taken very slowly. In summary: having cruised with RCI, Princess and NCL in the past MSC do not compare well and we would not use them again. However this trip was booked to cover ports we wanted to visit and for a birthday celebration and was the only cruise that met that criteria. We much prefer the American ships with their slick service, organisation and professionalism, and in our opinion it is well worth paying the extra. We did share a table with some great Irish people, who were great fun and we met some very nice passengers - however none of them planned to be an MSC repeat customer. You pays your money and you takes your choice! Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
I went on a Mediterranean cruise from Venice on the MSC Preziosa in April 2014 From the moment we arrive at the port it was total chaos taking us over 3 hours to check the whole process was totally disorganized with people irritable ... Read More
I went on a Mediterranean cruise from Venice on the MSC Preziosa in April 2014 From the moment we arrive at the port it was total chaos taking us over 3 hours to check the whole process was totally disorganized with people irritable especially those with young children. The disorganization continue on board in the main buffet / restaurant which was on the 14th floor. Dawn to Dusk dining here was a disaster as the main serving areas continued to run out of food causing lengthy ques and more frustration and anger among people. At one time I had to go to 4 different beverages areas for coffee as all the dispensers were empty, at this stage I just gave up. I purchased an Eurpoean beer package for the cruise only to be told that I was not entilitied to certain beers which were advertised as available before I purchased the package. MSC allow smoking in the casino, in the lounge area above the casino and on all the port side of the pool deck. In fact they have signs stating " MSC welcomes smokers in this area When disembarking on the final day of the cruise we had to vacate the cabin at 7.30 and told to wait in the Sports bar the ship arrived in Venice around 9am again here the wait over 2 hourse to disembark. People had concerns due to the possibility of missing the return flight home. When returning home the following day we actually spoke to people who had missed their flights as a result of the delay in disembarking. My friends who paid their final invoice in cash at the accounts desk and given a receipt stating paid in full when returned home only to find that the same amount was also debited to their credit card. When contacted MSC stated it could take up to 20 days to rectify the error. This was my 2nd MSC cruise if it had been my 1st it would be my last.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
After more than 30 cruises mostly on RCL and NCL, the time was right to try out an "Italian" cruiseline. Price was right and expectations were not too high. I read many reviews about MSC and especially Fantasia so sort of knew ... Read More
After more than 30 cruises mostly on RCL and NCL, the time was right to try out an "Italian" cruiseline. Price was right and expectations were not too high. I read many reviews about MSC and especially Fantasia so sort of knew what to expect. Check In was easy and very well organized in Genoa. Ship appeared very well taken care of and quite grand. They obviously took a lot of thoughts into the conception of the vessel. Staff were super friendly and efficient (all through the cruise), Spa beautiful, Gym a bit small, saunas not necessarily worth the extra money ( not a very tranquil place the way they were built), if you need to pay for it. Had the beste massage ever on this ship by the way. My cabin, all the way aft, was beautifully decorated, had a large balcony due to its loacation, unfortunately the bed was the worst I had on all of my 30+ cruises. The mattress was the cheapest one I have ever slept on and unfortunately was well past it´s sell date. Actually quite unacceptable. However table mates did not seem to have the same issue, nor did they complain about their mattress. Main reason fro writing this review is the culinary experience I had on the Fantasia. I can honestly say that it was by far the worst dining room food, I had on any cruise so far. MSC definitely is no ambassador for the Italian cuisine. The only thing that was conistantly good was the pasta, in the dining room as well as on the buffet. Everything else was a joke, in taste, presentation as well as quality. It definitely couldn´t get any cheaper than that. The buffet in fact would have been a good alternative , the food there however, although better in taste, was never hot. Cost cutting on MSC definitely went too far with the food. For me it is a reason not to come back to MSC. I also doubt that it was much better in their Yacht Club restaurant to be honest, but have not heard from anyone, eating there and thus cannot comment. Another thing that I did not like at all, was the wine they freely offered (even in whole bottles) with the Allegrissimo drink package. The package is not as overpriced as with some cruise lines, gives a great value, staff is very happy to serve you drinks with the package by the way ( no extra tip wanted or needed), BUT(!) the wine that comes with it was undrinkeable. And I am not exaggerating. It was the cheapest wine, the stuff that would cost € 1,99 in the supermarket. MSC would not give you alternative wine by the glass of the wine menu, unless you paid extra, despite the fact that the actual wines there were not even that expensive and would easily fit in the drink package price wise. So figure... The wines from the regular wine list were actually quite good and not too expensive. A last remark on their entertainment. Well it´s an Italian run ship and you can tell. The Italians are a lively bunch and they seemed to have a great time in the bars and with the activities around. Do also expect 5 year old childen in the bars and discos at midnight running about having a good time. The nightly shows consisted of a female violinist ( mostly electronic and battling against extremely loud canned music), the ships singers and dancers ( good), an opera singer, some aerealists, jugglers, a "magician" and some very talented artists that you would find going to a varieté. Now imagine all of them in one show, that´s what they did . So far so good. Now imagine this EVERY single night, only given it a different name, motto or storyline, imagine it with lack of a stage scenery except for 3 stairs and an up and down moving part of the stage, imagine it being very noisy at times - This was the Fantasia entertainment. Not really bad , actually quite good at times, but totally repetitive and often not for my taste because it tried to please at least 20 different nations at the same time and every night. Quiet a waste of the talents on board. I stopped going after seeing the 5th mostly identical show.. MSC might be the perfect fit for some, it would be a good product if the food was better, it is great for families, the ships are beautiful and well designed, staff is fabulous, however it is not for me. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
We had done a cruise with Holland America last year this time since it was December and options were limited we went with MSC Ship Speledida lives up to its name its absolutely "Splendid" The activities in comparison were very ... Read More
We had done a cruise with Holland America last year this time since it was December and options were limited we went with MSC Ship Speledida lives up to its name its absolutely "Splendid" The activities in comparison were very limited 1 activity at each hour no choices The Service left a lot to be desired as the Italian staff were always walking with swollen faces The cabin was fantastic hygiene levels on ship excellent Dining had limited choices and same Menu for breakfast everyday and same Menu for lunch everyday. Food was pasta inclined on a ship whose occupancy was mostly Asians/American and v few Europeans in comparison we never got any other food than "Italaian" Children activities were Ok Library was pathetic The Entertainment was average The disembarkation not v well arranged if you have traveled before on other cruise liners you may end up making comparisons like we did and will be a tad bit disappointed however its great value for money ,ship is beautiful and rooms excellent.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
This was our third cruise on MSC. Unfortunately it didn' t go as smoothly as the previous ones. The main reason: The human factor. The attitude towards the passengers is simply too laid back. The ship is beautiful and very well ... Read More
This was our third cruise on MSC. Unfortunately it didn' t go as smoothly as the previous ones. The main reason: The human factor. The attitude towards the passengers is simply too laid back. The ship is beautiful and very well maintained. The cabins (balcony) are somewhat smaller than on the older MSC ships (e.g. Lirica), but still nice and comfortable, Embarkation and disembarkation in Venice went smoothly, especially if you are an MSC Club member and use the priority lines. Otherwise you should expect to spend som time in lines. The food in the restaurant and cafeteria is good and tasty, especially if you choose the Italian dishes. The real challenge on this ship is the lack of service management and management of the passenger flow. When all 4.000 passengers return to the ship (all the excursions return at the same time) and go to the cafeteria there is simply not enough room. Twice we gave up finding a table. If you do find a table, then you will have to hunt for cutlery, plates, coffee and by the time you have found most of it, half of the food is gone. We had to go to 5 different drink stations just to get hot water. This can be done much, much better ! From the second day we were delayed. No reason or information was given. If you asked, you were simply misinformed by the crew. In Katakolon we arrived more than one hour late. Nevertheless we were told to be in the meeting place for the tour at 7 am. At that time we were still saling at open sea at full speed ! If you asked, why you should get up this early, the standard answer was: We wil be there in 10-15 minutes. It took more than one hour before we could se Katakolon.... Same story in Istanbul, just in reverse order. All must be aboard 4:30 pm. We didn´t leave until 6:30 pm. No reason was given. But we could easily have spent 2 hours more in this exciting city. By the end we of course arrived late back in Venice, For the first time an expanation was given: Due to heavy fog the port was closed. Strangely enough this socalled closure didn´t affect NCL Jade or RCCL Splendour who both have arrived on time back in Venice.... Finally a word of advise: If you buy any packages , e.g. the laundry package aboard, that are not swiped, make sure to get a receipt. We were charged for all our laundry at full price, as the accounting office couldn´t find the package order slip in their apparent mess. The rude and arrogant answer to my complaints - twice ! - was to imply that I was lying and never had turned in the order slip. Customer service may need a new name to more correctly reflect the attitude of the staff. All in all a mixed experience. This might have been our last cruise on MSC. We will return to NCL and RCCL... Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
been on a few cruise lines...and overall this wasn't bad for the money.its not the same class as celebrity...but you don't pay the prices either. we upgraded to a balcony cabin...still good value.room was large and very ... Read More
been on a few cruise lines...and overall this wasn't bad for the money.its not the same class as celebrity...but you don't pay the prices either. we upgraded to a balcony cabin...still good value.room was large and very tastefully set out.the only prob being that nearly all balcony cabins are on deck 10....above is the open pool deck...and u get woken every morning about 7am with the crew moving the sunbeds around cleaning. same about 5pm in the eve..and you can hear people waliking abouy....ok at night though. if ur gona have a balcony cabin...go for the few there are on deck 12...avoid the problem.did see other cabins...they were v small and basic. food overall was good...never go hungry. but the food was never the top quality u get on some other ships....cuts of meat for eg where usually the cheaper ones.but there was lots of choices. staff were goog and ship was clean. wouldn't bother with the drinks packages they try and sell you..unless you intend to drink all day! we did take a premium wine package...for a bottle with dinner each night. wasn't worth it....they give u a booklet with the wines in it. when u come to order it...they usually say they've run out and offer u another one...annoying!! much better to choose what u wan each evening. overall I would go with them again....but only on a balcony cabin....which by the way ive never had on any other ship. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
Date of departure: 27th September 2013 I travel with my elderly Dad and disabled son, we are frequent cruisers as cruise ships (and crews) are geared up for the elderly and disabled. We always share a triple berth cabin. We chose this ... Read More
Date of departure: 27th September 2013 I travel with my elderly Dad and disabled son, we are frequent cruisers as cruise ships (and crews) are geared up for the elderly and disabled. We always share a triple berth cabin. We chose this cruise for the itinerary - Ancona, Dubrovnik, Corfu, Gythion (we had to omit because of bad weather),Cefalonia and Kotor. All ports access to World Heritage sights - and despite reading adverse reviews of MSC were prepared to give them a go. We flew from Newcastle direct to Venice with Jet2, and had a night in Ca` Formenta hotel pre-cruise, a lovely hotel that we`ve used before. Easy to walk from the hotel to the Arsenale vaparetto stop where we picked up the public Alilaguna boat which took us straight to the port for embarkation. Embarkation time was 14.00, but we arrived early and after queuing (standing) for 30 minutes were through to check-in. Not sure who the "Priority Boarding" is for, but it certainly isn`t for elderly or disabled people, though I didn`t make a fuss at the time as I was too frazzled. Once onboard we navigated ourselves to our cabin only to find that 2 of the beds we pushed together to make a double. After reporting this 3 times, they were finally separated at 10 p.m. The cabin was just OK - very clean but nothing special about it. We could hardly see out of the windows because they were so dirty on the outside, and I object to paying almost '£100 pp more for an outside cabin, only to find that we can`t see out of the windows. The soap dispenser in the bathroom didn`t work at all, despite our cabin stewards best efforts to fix it. I asked if we could have a bar of soap instead, but this never materialised. Looked forward to getting to bed (although I have the top bunk and at nearly 60 I`m getting too old to use a top bunk!) I was horrified to find that the sheets smelled faintly of vomit. I complained about this the next day and the sheets were changed. Same thing happened, so I guessed it must be the mattress and asked at reception for a clean mattress. "Right away" they said, but that also did not materialise. I spent the rest of the week sleeping between the top blanket and the spare blanket, well away from the mattress / sheets. We always use the buffet restaurant on ships, but the food in La Brasserie was the worst food I`ve ever had on a cruise ship. It seemed that the quality of the food itself was poor, and the hot food was nearly always lukewarm. We are not gluttons,but do like to eat well when we are away - the sea air gives you an appetite! The kitchen service was excellent, but with the exception of a couple of boys, the waiter service was terrible. However, as mentioned in other reviews, the staff were overworked and looked worn out and disheartened. Although there was a hand sanitizer at one of the doors to the buffet, the machine was empty several times, and on the penultimate day we arrived at breakfast to find no machine at all. I asked where it was, and was told that there was no more hand sanitizer! Euw :( I thought that the entertainment team was fantastic. Yes, the shows were just a re-hash every night with a different theme, but the team worked so hard, and were always helpful and pleasant when met elsewhere on the ship. We also used the casino as my son is a whiz on roulette. The staff were helpful and very friendly. Ports - outstanding for me were Corfu and Kotor. In Corfu we walked from the ship towards the centre of town and picked up a horse and carriage. We then had a very pleasant 30 minute drive around both the old and new towns with full commentary from our driver for €40, which I thought was great value. Kotor is like a mini medieval Dubrovnik in a stunning setting, but I was disappointed that we only had half a day to explore. Disembarkation: We have never had to leave the cabin at 7.30 before, which I felt was unnecessary. We then transferred to another hotel, Ca` Angeli, for 2 more days in lovely Venice. To summarise: This was the cleanest and most stylish ship we have been on - with the exception of the hand sanitizers, badly let down by the quality of the food and the shortage / attitude of service staff. Our cabin steward worked very hard, but seemed to have more than the usual numbers of cabins to cover. I have written a letter of complaint to MSC, so far no reply. We would not use MSC again.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
Fantastic ship, very clean and cabin/excursion/resturant staff very helpful and polite. We went on our first holiday without our children and did not expect to be on a ship overun with other people's children. As a primary ... Read More
Fantastic ship, very clean and cabin/excursion/resturant staff very helpful and polite. We went on our first holiday without our children and did not expect to be on a ship overun with other people's children. As a primary schoolteacher I love children but do not want them running riot in the evenings in EVERY area of the ship. There are no adult only areas unless you pay for Top 18 which we did but you still have to put up with the awful noise coming from around the pool - the Italian DJ never shuts up!!! During the very good entertainment in the bars in the evening we had groups of children throwing toys/flip flops to each other as well as bouncing on and off chairs and nobody stopped them. The food is adequate but rarely hot. The evening entertainment is brilliant. We did not buy the excursions as you can do them all on your own for half the price. We chose MSC because of the ports that were visited but not enough time is given in each port. The cabin was fantastic and the cruise good value for money but lack of activities during the day and the huge amount of children on board means we will never sail with MSC again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
We flew to Rome to embark and the embarkation process was very efficient. We soon made our way to our suite on the top deck and found the suite and the ship in general to be very clean and well presented. She's a mid sized ship which ... Read More
We flew to Rome to embark and the embarkation process was very efficient. We soon made our way to our suite on the top deck and found the suite and the ship in general to be very clean and well presented. She's a mid sized ship which is just what we prefer. There are the usual amenities (gym, sauna etc) but we don't use them. First stop was to the buffet while we waited for our luggage. There are 2 sides to the outer buffet, each serving different food. Here's the first disappointment! There were burgers, hot dogs, fries etc which were kept warm from underneath. This meant the top of the food was cold. We stuck to the inside buffet after that. This was a little better but still not too good. On sea days this became a bit of a bun fight with other guests pushing in front of you, standing blocking the aisles etc looking for a free table. The food in the restaurants was better though still not up to my standard. The potions were small and if the menu said "slices of veal", that's what you got. No accompaniments. This means having a 5 course meal to fill you up. There was no coffee afterwards and as others have said, water was charged for. No complaints with the service from the waiters and the room service. One big problem for me was a lack of enforcing of the rules. People were smoking on balconies and adjacent to the pool despite notices saying this was not allowed. Food was also taken to the pool which presented a danger when dropped on the floor. There were lots of children on board who were well catered for with kids clubs, mini golf, wiis and so on. You could even leave your kids with the team while you went off on an excursion. Unfortunately, most of the kids preferred to run riot round the ship knocking things over, bumping into people, playing in the lifts pushing every button then running down the stairs to start again. Evening entertainment was very poor with some awful singers in some lounges and decent ones in others. The theatre and Lirica Lounge were totally underused with shows lasting an average 20 minutes. We don't go in for many excursions as we prefer to mooch about in port. However we did book one excursion. Right in the middle of our cruise was an overnight stop in Haifa, Israel. One full day on Saturday and a half day Sunday. As the Saturday was the Shabbat we knew everywhere would be closed, so we decided to book an excursion on Saturday and stay on board Sunday morning. We didn't fancy an all day excursion so the 5 hour trip to Acre and Baha'i Gardens was ideal. This included the 2 places we wanted to visit and left us the afternoon to chill around the pool. On board ship, we were advised to confirm our places on the excursion. When we did this we were informed that there was a change of plan which nobody had bothered to tell us about. The visit to the Baha'i Gardens was cancelled and the trip to Acre was now taking place on Sunday leaving at 06:30 am! We couldn't cancel if we wanted as it was too short notice. That left us with nothing to do on Saturday. The staff on the excursion desk were happy to let us book another trip but that would cost over two hundred pounds extra to go to places we weren't particularly interested in. Never mind, we could always get the free shuttle bus which would take us around Haifa and we could hop on and off throughout the day. "Yes it did run on the Sabbath" we were told - sorted. So, on Saturday morning we got off the ship, walked through passport control and were told the shuttle was due to leave at 9:00 but we had probably missed it. When we got to the stop at 5 past there was no bus there. They run every 90 minutes so we decided to walk to the Baha'i Gardens and catch the shuttle from there to do the city tour. The sweat was dripping off us by 9:30. We arrived at the gardens to find only the lower most section open as it was the Shabbat! After the obligatory photos we walked back to the bus stop to find the shuttle didn't run on the Shabbat at all. And if it had done, none of the places it stopped at would be open. There was no public transport to anywhere. A taxi to Nazareth or someplace would be expensive. Apart from a few cafes in the German Quarter, everywhere else was shut so we returned to the ship and spent the rest of the day there. At least it wasn't as busy as a normal day. On the Sunday we set off for our trip to Acre and the first stop was, you guessed it, the Baha'i Gardens! The tour guide told us we would have to hurry around the Templar Halls and Acre old town as we had to be back on the ship in plenty of time. So, why was the itinerary changed without notice? It's not as though we had booked it months in advance, but a few days before the start of the holiday. MSC must have known but hadn't changed the web site. Why did MSC book into a port on a day when they know everywhere is closed? Has anybody else had a similar experience where excursions were changed or cancelled without notice? Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
After years of my friends and sister (all with many years cruise experience) trying to get me to on a cruise I finally gave in on the 13th july 2013 and sailed on MSC Divina. We sailed from Venice and getting on the ship and to our room ... Read More
After years of my friends and sister (all with many years cruise experience) trying to get me to on a cruise I finally gave in on the 13th july 2013 and sailed on MSC Divina. We sailed from Venice and getting on the ship and to our room was easy even though I am a quadraplegic and completely confined to a wheelchair and have no balance at all. Our room was for three people (me and my two sisters),we had two singles and a pull out double sofa bed which our cabin boy attended to every evening and put away every morning. All beds were comfy and room was very spacious and clean with a large balcony. Our emergency evacuation drill resulted in us being told that yes we had used the lift this time from deck 11 to 7 for the life boats BUT in a proper emergency my sisters would have to try give me a piggy back down four flights of stairs as the lift would be out of bounds !! Yes you read that correctly , it would probably have been easier to throw me over the side of the balcony to land on top the lifeboat which was below !! We had requested second seating for our eveing meal to be with four other friends but were given first sitting so had to use the buffet on the first evening. Well we had difficulty first of all trying to find something we liked (we are not fussy honest) and then what we chose was cold. We were disappointed and hungry when we left. Theres no midnight buffet , usually they are putting out fresh food at this time as I have been informed so we had a cup of tea and went to bed. The amount of time spent in ports is very short. Sometimes arriving at 10.30am and leaving again at 3.30 - 4 pm. Getting on and off the ship was easy and well organised and the staff were very helpful. The staff in the black crab restaurant and in the Divina bar were very friendly and helpful. we took the allegrissimo drinks package and easily passed the 21 euros a day each we paid with the coffees , ice creams and cocktails and bottled water. we didn't go crazy either and weren't greedy. If you are a big drinker then it is worth doing. The service in the black crab restaurant was VERY slow , the food not what we liked so ended up quite a few times with chicken and chips for our main. the rissottos and soups were good. No coffee offered at the end either. Most staff around the ship looked unhappy but it makes you feel sad then , you think they don't want to be there. we wanted to go deck 18 for the adults only (payable) but there was no lift for the wheelchair so ended up on deck 16 which was quite quiet. Around the pool during the day was like butlins (YMCA , the conga etc) quite a few people seemed to really enjoy it though. Not for us . We spent one afternoon there and had people striding over our beds, not what we wanted when they were wearing budgie smugglers !! Waiters for drinks service were very scarce and had to go get own drinks most times. Most on the cruise would just push in front and leave us stood there with the wheelchair and refuse to let us in . sometimes they were only going up or down one floor too !! we were starting to consider piggy backs at one point . we decided to stoop to their level and just plough in to them , this seemed to work but we did get a few dirty looks. We went to the casino and was very surprised to see children as young as eight in there , not playing the games though , just with their parents. The ship was very nice , well maintained and clean. It was just the food and the ignorant people really. we had a good time and enjoyed our own company , did get excited one evening with the promise of a 60-70-80's disco , which lasted about 40 mins then went back to european line dancing , birdy song type disco. At this point we had to leave. I think I will try cruising again but not with MSC and hopefully get a better result. going to try NCL or Royal Caribbean.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
I have just returned from a 7 day cruise ex Venice on the MSC Divina and there are pros and cons, I'll start with the positive:- The ship is stunning and my balcony cabin was lovely always amazingly clean lots of storage and ... Read More
I have just returned from a 7 day cruise ex Venice on the MSC Divina and there are pros and cons, I'll start with the positive:- The ship is stunning and my balcony cabin was lovely always amazingly clean lots of storage and everything worked (different from the hotel rooms I experienced during the rest of my holiday) The staff were all wonderful, polite and helpful in spite of some language barriers, The same cannot be said of many of the passengers, I found them loud, rude and pushy ,no idea of queuing or personal space. There were a lot of children on board which I hoped to avoid as it was outside school holidays so I gave the pool areas a wide berth. I didn't avail myself of the nightly entertainment so I can't comment. The food was very average so if you are happy to eat fruit and salads then its not a problem. Its a very cheap cruise so I wasn't expecting 5 star gourmet. A word of warning the buffet is like feeding time at the zoo,I have never seen so many people piling incredible amounts of food on their plates and going back again and again for more, they would put my two horses to shame and they don't know any better! Maybe they thought it was the end of the world and this was their last meal. I only used the cruise excursion once for Izmir - had a fabulous guide (also a lecturer at the university in Istanbul ) all other ports I did on my own or caught the $10 shuttle bus from the ship, it was very easy. For those cruisers visiting Istanbul, you do need Turkish Lira for the tram and the banks don't open till about 9:30, I was so lucky the guard let me on for free and telephoned ahead to so when I arrived another guard was waiting for me and let me off, neither would accept a tip. The embarkation and disembarkation process is a bit of a nightmare due to the sheer volume of passengers, my advice don't begin and end the cruise in Venice,pick another port. Would I do it again ? probably not I would spend more money and go with a smaller more upmarket cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
We are experienced cruisers having cruised with Disney, NCL and Royal and completed 10 previous cruises both in Europe and the USA. However first with MSC. Divina is a beautiful ship with lots of glamour however lacks entertainment very ... Read More
We are experienced cruisers having cruised with Disney, NCL and Royal and completed 10 previous cruises both in Europe and the USA. However first with MSC. Divina is a beautiful ship with lots of glamour however lacks entertainment very little to do in terms of daytime activities apart from quiz at pool in five languages. I was disappointed with the cleanliness of my stateroom. I am not fussy but dust an inch deep on lamps etc is not was I have come to expect from cruise lines. We had the all inclusive drinks package which was a god send as the prices where higher than on previous ships and no soda cards available of the kids. Through choice we did not eat in the assigned Villa Rosa for dinner but stayed in buffet. Did have lunch in Villa Rosa and it was lovely however buffet was a nightmare no silver ware and when staff approached told to eat with my fingers. Food selection was very similar every night and although it was our choice to eat here I felt that other lines have a bigger variety of buffet items. I am diabetic and was unable to get sweetner for tea, every drink appeared to have sugar in it and no sugar free or fat free desserts available. Overall I was dissappointed I felt the staff were unhappy and asked a crew member about the service charge and did they get a proportion of it and was told no. If anyone knows if this is the case can they please post. I was upset by this as I always pay the service charge believing that this goes to all the staff on board. Ports were good however felt that not enough time was allocated in Istanbul could do with a longer stop here. MSC is certainly not on my list of great cruise lines however I would sail again if the price was right and the ports good but for now Ill stick with NCL or Royal Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
Only my second cruise, first one being a Celebrity cruise, so probably spolit. Spent a week from Venice to the Greek islands and back. Choose the cruise based on the itinerary. Food - We used the buffett restaurant for breakfast and ... Read More
Only my second cruise, first one being a Celebrity cruise, so probably spolit. Spent a week from Venice to the Greek islands and back. Choose the cruise based on the itinerary. Food - We used the buffett restaurant for breakfast and lunch ok. Didn't try it for dinner. Cerchio D Oro restaurant Dinner - I'm not a big eater but the evening meal in the Cerchio D Oro restaurant was lukewarm edible but portions not very big.but not very big. If you have not got a sweet tooth and fancy cheese and biscuits bring your own biscuits as you do not get any! No tea or coffee is served after the meal not a problem for me but just an observation. Drinks -Allegrissimo package worthwhile, bearing in mind that you do not have to pay tax on top. I read on some comments that the staff were not very friendly or speak english. I did not find a problem with this, however I did find the bar staff quite rude in that they did not acknowledge that you were standing at the bar waiting to be served. The ship was clean and on the whole staff were friendly. All in all I enjoyed the cruise, would I come again probably not. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
This was our 4th Cruise the 3 previous were all Royal Caibbean. The booking went smoothly but we only found out our flight details 3 weeks prior to departure. Embarkation went relatively smoothly, about and hour from arrival at the port ... Read More
This was our 4th Cruise the 3 previous were all Royal Caibbean. The booking went smoothly but we only found out our flight details 3 weeks prior to departure. Embarkation went relatively smoothly, about and hour from arrival at the port to being in our cabin and this was about 1300 hrs local time. Amazingly our cases beat us to the room, well done. First impressions of the boat were lovely, it was a comparable size to the RCCL boats that we have sailed on but more modern and much more stylish and very clean. The Cabin was lovely and the cabin attendant did a marvellous job without us seeing him, amazing as we often popped back at odd times. We had a 6 year old with us and he absolutely loved the mini club which had a varied programme that he really enjoyed. I was caught out in that we do not tip on this cruise line although we did drop a few members of staff a small tip for good service. Now the down side. The food was always cold and although we love Italian it was bland and repetitive. Very little choice other than pasta, pizza or burgers. Plenty of fresh fruit and salad. The main restaurant in the evening did do some nicer dishes but in no way comparable to RCCL. We signed up to the Allegrissimo drinks package, draught beer wine by the glass and many cocktails, we thought it was good value but I defy anyone to get drunk on their cocktail's as they had little alcohol in them but they did taste nice! Staff in the bars were either miserable and slow or very good. The good ones tended to be from nepal and the far east. Our main dining waiter and asst were hard working but did get it wrong quite frequently, possibly english was a bad language for them so this isnt a complaint as they always did their best to rectify any problem. The Gym was only moderately equipped and would fill up quickly. My wife wasnt impressed with the slot machines in the Casino despite being a few euros up after a week. Disembarkation was as smooth as embarkation so again well done. Overall a good cruise spoilt by food and too many staff being sullen and not caring. Unfortunately although good value we will be returning to RCCL with our money. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
This was our first cruise with MSC, we chose it because of the price and the itinerary. Divina is not even a year old yet and you could tell as it was in tip top condition and spotlessly clean wherever you went. Our simple inside ... Read More
This was our first cruise with MSC, we chose it because of the price and the itinerary. Divina is not even a year old yet and you could tell as it was in tip top condition and spotlessly clean wherever you went. Our simple inside stateroom was clean, spacious and lovely and quiet which meant we always had a good nights sleep on the extremely comfortable bed. You can't order or predict the weather and to a degree, this did make the time onboard a bit limiting as it was too cold to use the three small pools. There was no chance of getting in the hot tubs as they were full of kids all the time and the 'Zen Garden' area at the aft end did not appear to be as kid free as it was meant to be. I appreciate that this is a Meditteranean company but I was really surprised at the lack of taste or variety in the food they offered, whether it be in the main resurant or the very crowded buffet areas. They also struggled to keep the food at a reasonable temperature, nothing was what I would class as hot. The staff needed an injection of something as, apart from a select few, they all seemd to be miserable; maybe it was the weather! The cruise director seemed to be a throwback to the cheesy eighties when he introduced the very average entertainment in the Pantheon Theatre. If it was not for the acrobats, none of the shows were worth watching really and they only lated 30 minutes. We booked excursions online before we sailed and I will not do it again. One was modified and we were told 'unlucky' you have to take the alternative! Thankfully we had taken the t's & c's along with us so we got a refund. In fact the ship owed us on the final day as they had cancelled another trip due to bad weather! Don't get me wrong, this was not a bad cruise, it could just have been better. The Alligrisimmo drinks package is the best value deal I think I have ever had but it will have to be a great itinery and price to get us back cruising with MSC. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
My wife and I recently went on MSC's cruise of the eastern Mediterranean. While overall it was a great experience, there are a couple of things that everyone should know about MSC prior to booking with MSC. First, be prepared for long ... Read More
My wife and I recently went on MSC's cruise of the eastern Mediterranean. While overall it was a great experience, there are a couple of things that everyone should know about MSC prior to booking with MSC. First, be prepared for long lines. Our initial boarding took about an hour and was extremely confusing. There were no signs directing us where to go and communicating with MSC greeters was difficult as most spoke very limited English. Anytime that you are getting off the ship, be prepared to wait. MSC does not understand how to stagger everyone disembarking from the ship so you will be crowded into the ladderway with 4000+ passengers like a can of sardines as everyone tries to get off. I will say that the food on MSC is mediocre at best and often just outright terrible. Of all the meals, dinner was done fairly well, but lunch and breakfast were poor. Unless you catch the buffet at an off hour, it tends to be really crowded. The options are fairly poor (i.e. cold cuts, tiny pancakes, greasy hash-browns for breakfast), and I couldn't find a single spoon anywhere. If you elect to go to the restaurant instead of the buffet, be prepared to wait a long time for your food and deal with servers that don't speak English well. Though the cruise seems cheap at booking, get ready to pay a lot with drink packages and excursions. I had no idea what the drink packages were until they forced me to make an impulse decision as I was checking in. I elected to take the Alegrissimo package, which was unlimited drinks and often had trouble making this package worth my while. One note, when they say draft beers, all they have is Heiniken and Amstel Light (and maybe Strongbow and New Castle if you're lucky), so don't expect to find more draft beer. Kids run a muck everywhere on this ship. This seems to be a more family oriented cruise, which is fine if that's what you're looking for, but if you're on your honeymoon or a romantic vacation like we were, this is really annoying. Now on to the good. The cruise ship is amazing. They did a fantastic job keeping it clean and keeping my room clean. The cleaning lady responsible for my room cleaned it twice a day and was like a ghost. The excursions were awesome. I honestly did not have one bad tour guide anywhere we went, and the destinations were a lot of fun. The entertainment on board was phenomenal. They kept each show to about thirty minutes, which was long enough to keep me from getting bored. Most of the lounges were really nice and classy. The workout area was great. There were about 7-8 treadmills with some bike machines and elypticals plus some free weights, machines and mats to do yoga and whatnot. Overall, I would say that the good outweighed the bad with this cruise line, but if you go with MSC, be aware of these issues upfront. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
We have just returned from a double cruise promotion in the Mediterranean and Black Sea -- 11 nights on the MSC Opera 21 October, two nights' stay in Mestre (Venice) and 11 nights on the MSC Orchestra 3 November. Whilst the food ... Read More
We have just returned from a double cruise promotion in the Mediterranean and Black Sea -- 11 nights on the MSC Opera 21 October, two nights' stay in Mestre (Venice) and 11 nights on the MSC Orchestra 3 November. Whilst the food quality and temperature issues are the same for both vessels, these comments refer to our experience in the MSC Orchestra. This was our 4th cruise with MSC and having cruised with ten major cruise lines and four short river cruises (China, Vietnam and Egypt) I feel that I am quite qualified to make these comments, based on past cruising experience. Talking to other Australians and New Zealanders (English speaking people) the general impression was that as a group we were left lacking and the question was raised quite a few times: Why bother to market MSC Cruises in Australia and New Zealand when we felt ignored compared to the Italians and Germans on board? For the price we paid it was a good deal, but for MSC to successfully compete in Australia and New Zealand, more consideration needs to be given so that English speaking passengers feel equal. Overall we enjoyed the cruises, the transfers were smooth and the Hotel Tritone in Mestre, Venice excellent and well located. Ship overall: spotlessly clean, staff were continually cleaning the brass on the handrails and outside deck. The layout was good, with plenty of lounges to relax in, and the areas for smokers did not interfere with non-smokers. Passageways and staircases vacuumed at least twice a day, spills in buffet area cleaned up promptly. Cabin: We were on Deck 8 and had upgraded to a balcony cabin -- we would have preferred an "ocean-view" cabin as it offered a lot more storage space, however there are only 8 cabins on Deck 8 that are not "obstructed" by the life boats -- some are so bad that the view is just of the (red painted) side of the lifeboat. Lighting was excellent, with good overhead downlights as well as bedside lights. There were four powerpoints -- two 220w with European/Asian two pin (round) plugs and two US 110w for two (flat) pin plugs. The shower had more room than that on the MSC Opera; liquid soap and shampoo were supplied but no body lotion. The beds were very comfortable, extra pillows supplied on request. The three drawers in the bedside cabinet were very shallow - only deep enough to take a medium sized paperback novel. Our cabin attendant Ayu Ari was the best that I have come across when cruising -- nothing was too much trouble and if she could supply/fix what we wanted it was attended to immediately. Food: Hot food never hot -- breakfast cooked eggs often placed on cold ceramic dishes with the hot plate underneath not turned on. Grilled tomatoes, bacon, baked beans luke warm to cold. Twice I bought this to the buffet supervisor's notice, but nothing was ever changed. I was told that serving so many people it was impossible to keep food hot!!! The food served in the buffet -- with the exception of the soup (hot) and desserts (cold) would not pass Australian food standards. MSC states that they "have achieved ISO 9001 (Creation of an efficient, effective operation, increasing customer satisfaction) and ISO 22000 (hazard analysis) certification for the quality and food safety of our catering". Breakfast usually available until 11.30am, lunch until 3pm, dinner from 7pm. No afternoon teas catered for -- only pizza available 3pm -- 7pm. Tea and coffee (free) always available in the buffet, however if you wanted tea or coffee by the pool, you either had to pay for it, or get dressed and get it from the buffet area -- no outside tea/coffee/water stations. Dinner times -- First seating 6.45pm and second seating 9pm. We ate dinner in L'Ibiscus Dining Room on deck 6. The room was so crowded it was hard to move through to our table. Heavy high backed chairs in a light mustard yellow did not give an elegant dining atmosphere. Quality of the food fluctuated greatly, mostly not hot -- except for soup. Green vegetables were lacking, but supplied on request. One night in the dining room I had mussels in a marinara sauce -- supposedly a hot entree, but the mussels were straight from the refrigerator and cold. After this the Matre 'D, Gusti (Indonesia) always checked to see if we were satisfied with the temperature and quality of our food. Drinking water not supplied in the dining room -- it had to be purchased in not so eco friendly P.E.T. bottles. Wine was available by bottle, glass or in 500ml carafe (for E7.00). The menu for this cruise was exactly the same as we had on the 11 night cruise on the MSC Opera. Extra cost dining. We only used the Asia fusion "Shanghai" Restaurant -- the food was an excellent mix of Japanese, Chinese, Indonesian and Thai, and very well priced. The Italian specialty restaurant was set price E24.00 TV and Communication: English channels on TV not available at all for 8 days -- all German programs were clearly coming through. Movies available in cabin -- at a price -- E5.00!!!! In the "Daily Program" the English description for the "Nautical Information" was atrocious -- obviously there are no native English speakers in the Administration section and no grammatical concept checks were done. Itinerary excellent - a change had to be made due to a 48 hour strike in Greece and we were unable to go to Herakilon, Crete or Piraeus, Athens. Santorini (Greece) and Izmir (Turkey) were substituted and a great many people took the opportunity to visit the fantastic Greek ruins at Ephasus. Shore Excursions: No shore or port talks given. No port maps available on board (common on other cruise lines). No information other than briefly described on printed excursion tour listing that accompanied the booking sheet. No pricing of tours available on internet prior to boarding. Entertainment and Information: No native English speakers at Reception. No ship navigation chart displayed in public area. Entertainment - very limited choices due to multi language problems. "Puzzles of paper" (their terms) Sudoko, general quiz, crosswords etc. not available. The Library had no reference books -- not even an Atlas and no "book swap" section. However, the range and variety available was quite good due to people leaving their own books behind. The concerts were at 7.30pm for those at Second seating dinner and 9.30pm for those at First seating dinner. From what I heard all were very short -- the one we saw started late and only went for 20 minutes. The quality and length of time certainly did not compare with those of other shipping lines. Internet: The "internet cafe" was always unsupervised. For those with their own computers etc., there was WiFi hotspots on decks 5, 6 and 7; or broadband via cable in the cabin. I was unable to log-on to the internet with user name and password given at the desk (both on the Oopera and on the Orchestra) and had to use my husband's details. To use cable in balcony cabin required an extension lead (fortunately we had one!) as the power point was diagonally as far away from the cable connect as was possible and still be in the main cabin area. I was unable to log out of cable connection, and therefore lost 57 minutes of 100 minutes paid for. I received a printout from the IT Department showing the lost time. I was offered 2 hours free in the Internet Cafe, but as I had all the information I wanted to send on my Netbook, this was of no value. Question -- why give 2 hours instead of 57 minutes -- it didn't make any sense to me. I wrote a letter of complaint, but had to do it on small "telephone" note paper as there was no A4 paper available. I was not the only person who lost time -- I have spoken to others who had similar problems with the WiFi Hotspots, with complaints unresolved. As a repeat cruiser with Princess Cruises I receive 250 minutes of free internet time. MSC Club and Future Cruises: The representative was not really interested in the fact that our MSC Club points were not credited correctly. She did not listen to what I was saying. After I sent an e-mail to Head Office, this was adjusted within 24 hours. She was also the Future Cruise Representative (we were unlucky again). No information on future cruises available in English -- only German and Italian. Would I sail with MSC again? Maybe, but perhaps not on the MSC Orchestra. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
Hi my Husband and I have just returned from a week away on the MSC Musica. Overall it was a positive experience but wanted to alert and share some wisdom that we gained from our trip. I will go through it port by port: Firstly we did ... Read More
Hi my Husband and I have just returned from a week away on the MSC Musica. Overall it was a positive experience but wanted to alert and share some wisdom that we gained from our trip. I will go through it port by port: Firstly we did not do any of the ships prearranged excursions and managed to find much much much cheaper options once off the ship. 1. Venice- from the port you can catch the people mover (maritime station) into venice for one euro per way. The walk from where Musica is docked to people mover is about 10-15 mins and people mover has you at Plze De Roma within a few minutes. From there you can walk through to St Mark's square, etc in about an hour, etc. Or you can purchase tickets for the water bus, etc and sail along the canals to your desired destinations. So please do not fall for MSC's pricey excursions. There is also a left luggage service downstairs from the people mover where you could leave your bags for a small fee and collect them after exploring Venice. This will give you more transport options for travelling to the airport instead of having to return to the port to collect your luggage and pay high cab fees like we had to:-( There are buses to the airport regularly from piazza de Roma, etc. 2.Santorini: Once you disembark from the free boat ride from the ship you can catch a cable car or walk up to Santorini. We caught a public transport but to Oia- was fairly easy to find and not too far from the main square when you arrive. This cost us about £3 each return. The bus does take fairly long (about 30 mins to get to Oia but it is a lovely drive and nice little village well worth visiting) and can get full quickly so try get in the queue early on. The queue back down to catch the cable car took us over 90 mins wait so on busy days give yourself plenty of time to return to the ship- unless you are up for a walk down the steep steps which takes about 30 mins down I believe. 3. Corfu: There is a free shuttle to the port exit. Once @ port exit turn left and there is a public bus #16 that takes you to the old town. This was a lot cheaper than the £10 that Music wanted to charge for a shuttle into the old town. There are two forts on either side of the town and if you have time try to explore both. Many cafes offer free wifi in the old town. Travel into the old time is only about 5 mins from the port exit at the most. 4. Bari- the port exit is a short walk from where the ship births. It is a pleasant walk into the old town and a lovely day exploring the narrow streets. If you exit the port and follow the path along the beach front on the left (if your back is to the port exit)and walk for about 10 mins you will reach an archway leading you to the old town. There is a tourist 'train' that offers trips from the port exit for about £10 each. It stops at three stops and may be a good option if your not up for too much walking. Don't forget to leave time for the Castle- really lovely. 5. Athens- there is a free bus shuttle to the port exit. Once you leave the port exit turn left and follow the main road to find hop on hop off bus tours. They only start at about 8.15 am. They are about £18 each and take you into Athens and around and return to the port. There is audio information in various languages on board and really good value. We caught the red one as they had a direct bus back to the port without having to change the bus, etc. People with disabilities can catch a small elevator up to the Acropolis to save them taking all the steps up. You will need to ask when you buy your tickets. 6. Olympia- Katakolon: As you leave the port there are a number of taxis that will drive you to Olympia for about £60 per car full. We grouped up with another couple and saved on our cab fare this way. The driver leaves you at Olympia for about 60-90 mins depending on what you want to negotiate with him. Much cheaper than ships excursion. 7. Dubrovnik: There is a free shuttle bus to the port exit. Once you reach port exit make sure you get local currency from the cash converters if you don't have Cuna. Then go to the news stand near the bus stops and purchase bus tickets to the old town. Buy return tickets at the same time. There is a bus company, Liberty/Liberta, which offers direct transport to entrance of old town and back again for about £2 each each way. It is really easy to do this and if you are unsure ask other people around the port exit for help or the customs officials where you should wait for the bus. Once in Dubrovnik old town it is recommended to climb the town wall- spectacular views. Not too many steps but if you have mobility difficulties you will need to consider how doable this is for you. Ice creams in Croatia are awesome!! I hope you enjoy your cruise. Be careful as drinks are pricey and a 15% bar service charge is slapped on your bill each night. The only free drink station is on Deck 13, where the daily buffets are held. They have coffee and water at these stations. We took a small travel kettle and instant coffee sachets with us and are glad that we had this option in our room. The gym is fantastic. But gets full quickly. Dress code for formal evenings is not as strict as we thought and my hubby got away without having to wear a tie and formal jacket. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
Just returned from a good break around the Adriatic sea, destination was key to the happiness of our holiday not MSC. To summarise:- Good points:- 1. Very clean ship in all areas 2. Room excellent, lovely balcony, and room cleaned 2 ... Read More
Just returned from a good break around the Adriatic sea, destination was key to the happiness of our holiday not MSC. To summarise:- Good points:- 1. Very clean ship in all areas 2. Room excellent, lovely balcony, and room cleaned 2 daily by lovely maid 3. Good choice of drinks in all bars, nice smoothie bar and ice-cream bar 4. Nice chilled entertainment in Blue Velvet bar 5. Shows were also good Bad points;- 1. Extremely rude staff on reception & pool bar areas 2. Too many nationalities, meant everything was had to be repeated in 10 different languages, it became a bit tiresome after a day or so 3. Not enough tables in buffet restuarant, far too hectic 4. Food ok, good choice but no flavour, everything tasted the same! 5. Bar service appalling, no one wanted to serve you 6. Organisation not good, especially disembarkment Other points to note:- a) Be aware they charge 7 euro per person per day for tips, this gets added to your bill daily - we had it removed becuase we felt the service was not acceptable, this took 3 very fustrating converstaions with reception before it was acknowledged b) We didn't do organised trips, we did our own thing, and so glad we did. Most ports we paid 1 euro for public transfer to town instead of 8 euro each for MSC shuttle bus, we'd rather give money to locals than MSC! c)We upgraded to All inclusive package for 161 euro each for the week, good choice of drinks if you like cocktails and spirits, not so good if you like wine though. Cocktails cost 6.50 euro, beer 4 euro, water 1.5 euro, tea and coffee around 2 euro each, milkshakes and smoothies 3.90 euro d) On Disembarkment day you have to vacate room by 7am!! e) First dinner seating usually 6pm, we only made our seating once on formal night when they started at 7pm All in all the cruise was fine, but wouldn't use MSC again, there are better cruiselines to choose from. And our awful experience on disembarkment (I won't go into as hopefully you won't experience it) was the final straw for our decision not to use MSC EVER again. Please feel free to email any questions I may be able to help with. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
We always dreamed of seeing the Mediterranean and the affordability of this cruise allowed us to fulfill that dream. $1400 for a balcony cabin (price to 2 people not per person) for a 7 night cruise is a good deal in my book. We had ... Read More
We always dreamed of seeing the Mediterranean and the affordability of this cruise allowed us to fulfill that dream. $1400 for a balcony cabin (price to 2 people not per person) for a 7 night cruise is a good deal in my book. We had sailed on MSC previously in the Eastern Caribbean; it was our first cruise experience and an enjoyable one overall. So with that great price we decided to try the again. We read all the reviews and knew from past experience what we could anticipate in terms of food, service etc. The bottom line is that after the cruise we felt for the most part we got what we paid for but will likely not cruise MSC again. We also learned that if you have the money, its best to see these ports via plane, ferry or some type of transportation that gives you the ability to stay at least 2 nights in each port. I didn't feel that way about the Western Caribbean but definitely feel that way about these ports we visited: Olympia, Mykonos, Santorini, Athens, Corfu & Dubrovnik. Getting on the ship: It's a long walk with luggage to the ship from where the water taxi drops you off. The entire process took about 40 minutes but they did not give us what we needed for one of the packages we purchased so we had to go to reception and get that straightened out. Not a great start from a service perspective. I don't have a lot else to offer that the previous reviewers have pointed out but I will just run down a quick list of observations: 1. Getting on the ship 1. Food in buffet for breakfast & lunch is pretty much the same every day and I would call it mediocre at best but edible. 2. Food at dinner in the dining room was usually pretty good. We were seated with 6 other Americans and we all said the food was pretty good and some dishes were really good. Only few were rated as poor. The far is Italian each night but variable enough that I did not get bored with it, except for one night where I just could not do any more Italian and just nibbled on a few things. 3. Service in the dining room was pretty good. Our waiter had a really tough time the first night, just could not get anything right, bringing dished out at the wrong time, giving them to the wrong people, forgetting things, etc. I recognize the waiters have a very hard job especially with the language barrier. They know some English but there is somewhat of a barrier. I did feel rushed toward the end of each dinner, the staff were usually rushing to get us dessert at the same time they were dimming the lights telling us we had to leave so the next sitting could begin. This was no fault of ours; we had no control over the pacing of the delivery of the courses. I might suggest they try something less than 7 or 8 courses so people have more time to enjoy their meal, & have coffee, tea or dessert wines after dinner. 4. Service in the buffet was hard to come by. The first day we sat down for lunch, our waiter did not come back for 15 minutes after taking our drink order. When we tried to find out where he was and the other waiters tracked him down, he proceeded to lecture us on how busy they were and we just had to be more patient. Not a good start for service. 5. Service at the bars was the absolute worst. I can't tell you how many times I waited 15 minutes or longer just to get someone to wait on me while standing at the bar, especially at the bars by the pool. They were understaffed, which I completely do not understand considering the amt. of money they must make on alcohol sales. I have heard other cruise lines have people trying to get drinks all the time; it's totally opposite on this cruise line. The other huge issue I had with the bar service is that they don't have any real bartenders. The bartenders have been trained to make whatever is on that drink list and that is it. I asked for simple drinks such as midori sour, amaretto sour, and chocolate martini and they had absolutely no idea how to make it. I tried to show them but it was to no avail. If you want a chocolate martini (not an ice cream drink or whipped cream drink but a real chocolate martini, go to the casino bar, they have crème de cocoa and you have the best shot of getting the bartender to make a drink. There is no excuse for not hiring real bartenders. 6. Cabin - this was our first cruise with a balcony cabin and we enjoyed having the balcony. The room was big enough considering how little time we spent in the room. The bed and pillows were comfortable. Those are the two most important things for me. The bed quilt had a tear in it and the chairs of the balcony were in disrepair. The shower & bathroom were big enough to not feel overly cramped. Lots of storage space, suitcases fit under the bed. A couple were were seated with a dinner had a cabin towards the back of the ship and the motor was so loud the ceiling rattled and they had to be moved to different cabin. 7. Overall Feel of the Ship - decidedly Italian. I would say about 90% Italian and some Germans. I think there were less than 50 Americans on this ship. I welcomed the cultural experience but was ready to come home after the cruise. Let's just say it takes some tolerance, especially if you are accustomed to good manners. It was like a free for all at the buffets, not many courtesies are extended, and I can't remember one time when anyone held a door for me or held open an elevator to give me time to get one. Common sense courtesies where I come from were pretty non-existent on this ship. The ship was pretty well maintained but not as spic and span as the Opera ship we cruised on in the Caribbean. 8. Pools & Hot Tubs - they seemed clean to me and not too crowded. 9. Animation Team - they were pretty entertaining but not as good as the crew we had on the Opera. They pretty much did the same dances and games day after day. I remember a lot more variation on the Opera. 10. Shows - First night was very sexy and avant-garde. Second night showcased a very good tenor and Soprano. One night they had some really good acrobatic work, showcase of great strength. The rest were really not memorable, except for night with a big tenor that had enough vibratos to sink the ship. Oh and one person singing the theme from the Titanic, an odd choice I think. 11. Lounge Entertainment - this was okay, nothing to write home about. DJ in disco refused to play music we wanted to hear despite their being only a few people in the disco. 12. Stability of Ship - it was smooth sailing except for one night where we ran into high winds. I usually need the motion sickness patch but only needed it for one night. 13. Drink Package - we purchased the Allegrissimo package but not the premium package. It was $322 Euros for two people (not per person) for the entire 7 nights. We found a way to get our money's worth as added up our drink receipts and they came to $780 Euros. A lot of that was wastage as many of the drinks they delivered were undrinkable. The wines available with this package are just okay and they are the same every day. They have a very limited draft beer selection (Heineken, Budweiser, Amstel Light) in most bars and by the pool. Bottled beer is not included in the package. Most of the fruity and sweet blender drinks they serve by the pool are included in the package. Vodkas such as Smirnoff and Absolute (plain Absolute) are included. Grey Goose and any of the flavored vodkas are considered premium. Bombay Sapphire Gin is also considered to be premium. Jack Daniels is considered to be premium. Midori, Baileys, Courvoisier are not premium. You can order multiple drinks at one time using the package. You can also order doubles they usually want one drink card with package for every 2 drinks they bring. They put a star on your cruise ship card to denote your drink package. To give you an idea of the cost of drinks if your not buying the package, Diet Coke 2.70E, B52 - 4.90E, Small Water 1.45E, Large Water 2.90 E (although Americans only get one free bottle of water per day per person), Cape Cod 6.25E, Cosmopolitan 6.25E, Jim Beam & Coke 6.25E,Baileys on Rocks 4.90E, White Russian 6.25E, Small Draft Beer 2.90E, Large (40CL) Draft Beer 4.90E, Daiquiri 6.25E, Glass of Merlot 4.50E, Pina Coloda 6.25E. 14. Ports - Venice - we spent a few nights in Venice pre-cruise and absolutely loved it. We stayed at the Hilton Molino Stucky, which was beautiful. I recommend 3 nights here pre-cruise. Bari - this is really one you can skip and stay on the ship to relax. The city does not do much to cater to tourist and there isn't much to see other than few churches. It is a moderately long walk into town. Olympia - we took a private taxi tour and enjoyed the historical sites. We stopped at a beautiful restaurant overlooking a lovely beach. It was very nice. The ship was late in arriving; we did not get into port until 1:45pm and had to be back on board by 6pm so we really did have not much time. This had me thinking, I really came all the way from the US to spend 4 hours here? Not enough time. Santorini - we took the ship tour because we knew we would be the first off the ship. That was important because we had to tender from the ship to the port and then if not taking the ship tour, you have to wait in line to take the vernacular up the mountain. The gov't workers in Santorini were on strike the day we arrived so we wanted to avoid that line. We were on the first tender and then a bus picked us up and took us to Ola. We had about 1.5 hours on Ola, which was barely enough time to walk through part of town and take some photos. The streets are narrow and crowded and it takes a while to walk through the street and you have to give yourself time to get back to the bus. From there they took us to a winery overlooking the ocean and it was a gorgeous view. We stayed there for about 45 minutes and then they took us to Fira and we walked around Fira but needed to find our own way back down the mountain. The line for the vernacular was over an hour long so we walked down the donkey path, not pleasant but was the only way we felt we would make it back to the cruise ship on time. The ship arrived in Santorini at 9am and we had to be back on board by 2:15pm. Mykonos - Ship arrived at 7:30pm, by the time we got off the ship it was about 8pm. We took a taxi into town (too far to walk) sharing it with 2 ship friends. We walked around for a few hours and had a drink at bar right on the ocean with the water lapping at our feet. We had to get in line for a taxi about 11pm so we could be assured get back to the ship by 12am. Again, not enough time. When we booked the cruise it advertised that it overnighted in Mykonos, which was a big attraction. Well it you call getting back on the ship at 12am and leaving at 1am overnighting then I guess that counts but not in my book. Corfu - one our most favorite days. Rented a car (50 Euros) & split cost with 2 ship friends. Headed to a gorgeous beach and rented a paddle boat and spent a few hours in and on the water. We then tried to find Mouse Island but could not find it. The ship arrived in Corfu at 1pm and we had to be back on board at 6:30pm. Again not enough time for as far as we came. Lesson learned. Athens - we took the subway to a stop near the Acropolis (Monastrocky>) and walked up a hill to the Acropolis. It was breathtaking, all the history and view of Athens were breathtaking. We walked around the city and took the subway back to the ship. It's a very long walk from the cruise doc to the subway station so it going that route, would suggest building that into your time schedule. Probably 20 - 30 minute walk at a fast pace. Taxi is an option but traffic was really bad and some folks we know got stuck in traffic and almost missed the deadline to be back at the ship. Some folks we knew took the red bus tour but with traffic being so bad they did not get to many sites. The ship arrived at 7:30am and we had to be back on board by 3:30pm. The people in Athens could not have been nicer to us. They warned us of pickpockets and the tourism office by the Acropolis is a great source for information an d maps. Dubrovnik - architecturally this city is beautiful. We arrived early in the morning so it was quiet and we walked the walls of the city without gaggles of tourists from other ships. It was a highlight of our trip. The setting is breathtaking. The currency is not the Euro so beware, many people tried to rip us off with the currency conversion trying to charge as much as 7E for a soda. No diet coke or diet Pepsi available here, they only have Coke Zero. No idea why. Once the tourists from the other ships arrived, the charm was lost; the inside of the cit is basically a ton of touristy gift shops, restaurants and wall-to-wall people. The ship arrived at 7:30am and we had to back on board by 1pm. We took the ship shuttle into town the cruise port; this is the best way to go. The cost was 10E per person round trip. Departure: We booked the cruise shuttle back to the airport (15E per person). This is a great deal compared to the water taxi and takes only a half hour compared to the water taxi which takes about 2.5 hours unless you hire a private water taxi which then it would take about 30 minutes. The cost of a private water taxi was $150E for 4 people including luggage. We had a bit of trouble locating our luggage at the cruise port, they had them grouped by numbers and the numbers corresponded with the cruise shuttle, we were on the first shuttle so ours had no number. One of our bags was put in group number 4 by mistake so we had to look through tons of bags to find our missing bag. The loading of the bus was chaotic with someone getting on our bus that was not supposed to be on the bus causing them to unload and reload the entire luggage and then they forgot to put our bags back on the bus and we had to demand they be put back on the bus. Two of the folks we dined with had one of their bags damaged (ripped up) by the cruise line when they were being loaded onto the ship. The cruise line refused to do anything to assist and told them to call an 800 number when they got home. Not a solution when you have clothes to pack and suitcase that can no longer function to hold your clothes. This is my biggest worry about cruising this line again, I understand that problems happen from time to time and I think cruise lines should be evaluated on the frequency of those problems and their ability to make things right. This cruise line seems to have frequent complaints and they seem to have no desire to make things right when something goes wrong. We knew the service gaffe risks going into this cruise so while disappointed the cruise line did not exceed our low expectations, we still managed to have a good time and met some really nice people at our dinner table. As I said in the beginning set your expectations according what you have read on this site and take advantage of a good cruise deal if you can find it on MSC, if your willing to tolerate all the stuff I described above. If you can afford better and know other cruise lines can deliver better service, food etc, then go that direction. I think you have the information available on this site that is needed to make the best choice for yourself. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
Review of MSC Armonia, September 28, 2012 This is not a cruise for the average American, but if you know what you are getting into you can have a very good time. Moreover, Italian cruise lines (MSC and Costa) are often right now an ... Read More
Review of MSC Armonia, September 28, 2012 This is not a cruise for the average American, but if you know what you are getting into you can have a very good time. Moreover, Italian cruise lines (MSC and Costa) are often right now an amazing bargain, partly due to the fear caused by the resent Costa Concordia disaster, one of the worst since the Titanic. As usual, people always over-react to bad news, and the Italian lines are probably now the safest in the world due to new and stringent safety measures. For example, both Costa and MSC now have the most exhaustive muster drills you have ever seen. You are given a card to turn in at your muster station and if you don't show up you will be required to attend a make-up session. Everyone must correctly don their life jacket and show that they know where to line up for their lifeboat. Some good things about MSC: 1) You get a chance to meet folks from lots of other cultures. Americans were only about 1-2% of the cruisers on our Italy and Greece cruise and about 20% on our Caribbean cruise on MSC. The MSC Armonia cruise was about 50% Italians, 20% German, 10% French, 5% British, 5% Czech and 10% other (mostly Eastern European) countries. 2) Internet is amazingly cheap, about 12 cents per minute in a package, about 1/5 the price of American-owned cruise lines. It is also much better with speeds varying from .5Mps to 8 Mps, and very reliable. 3) Service at the front desk is better, with large separate desks for accounting, purser, and shore excursions staffed with lots of knowledgeable people. 4) Most MSC ships have lots of open outdoor space at the back of the ship on almost every floor, great for quietly getting away from poolside crowds. American ships tend to turn that stern space into cabins. 5) Embarkation and disembarkation is a breeze on MSC, much better than American ships. They have special secure places to leave your carry-on luggage while you eat, and they don't rush you off. Some negatives: 1) Italian ships have a lower space per passenger ratio, so rooms can be smaller and public space is definitely less, so that the ships can be crowded. 2) It is annoying to hear messages again and again in 5 languages, though MSC is one of the few lines with no messages in the rooms. 3) Service is a little gruff, especially in the dining room. This is partly due to the fact the Italians believe that supervisors and management can only be Italians, so there is no opportunity for advancement for the rank and file. For example, one virtually never sees non-Italian head waiters or Maitre'd. 4) Food is not as good as on the American-owned lines, even adjusting for European tastes. 5) The pools are not heated, making for some very cold morning swims. 6) There is virtually no entertainment, other than the major shows, and those are a little strange for US tastes. With passengers speaking 10 different languages, you can't really have comedians, magicians, mimes, etc., so standard shows include a hula hoop artists, jugglers, contortionists, clowns, and a very strange man dressing up in cardboard mockups of famous women's outfits (we called him the cardboard drag queen"), who was extremely popular with European audiences. However, the singers are occasionally of opera diva quality, as was the case with the female singer on this ship. 7) For similar reasons, there will be no Karaoke, trivia contests, photography classes, computer classes, galley or bridge tours, backstage theater tours, art, ice carving, etc. Specifically, our latest cruise on MSC Armonia would rate a B-, or 3 ½ out of 6 stars, compared with all of our 22 cruises. But it was nevertheless, amazing value for the money since we paid under $400 for an inside cabin including all taxes in late September. This was for a 7-day cruise which included port stops every day in Greece, Italy and Montenegro. Embarkation. Embarkation was relatively easy, with reasonable lines and only one more stop for customs after checking in. Venice is a nice place to visit before the cruise (everyone should see Venice before they die, though the amazing crowds there sometimes make you want to die). Boarding the ship, the Israeli security team was smooth and efficient. A head cabin steward met us and brought us to our room, which was a nice touch. We had only hand luggage since we had spent a few days in Venice before and didn't want to be dragging large bags all through the narrow streets and rivers of Venice. A large portion of the ship was given over to shopping stores. The ship had excellent stability and we experienced almost no rolling, even in mild-moderate waves and wind. Cabin: Our cabin steward was excellent, and constantly asked what else he could do to meet our needs. He performed almost at the level of a personal butler. The room was very plain, with almost no art, but was very well laid out. There were two 110 volt and two 220 volt European style outlets at a well-laid out desk. The night stand had no drawers, only shelves. There was an older tube style 15-inch TV with only 2 English channels. Bathroom size was ok, but with the smallest shower stall we have ever seen on any cruise ship. The shower head, pleasingly, was high enough that it could be used by non-midgets. There was no bar soap or toiletries in the cabins. Robes were only supplied to balcony and suite patrons, but our cabin steward managed to sneak two of them to us. Toilets were unusually quiet for a cruise ship; we didn't feel like we would be sucked in and blown out the side of the ship. Food: There was a restaurant for those with fixed dining, but, unlike on American or Northern European cruise lines, the waiters were not trained to get to know the passengers or their preferences. We never even met our Maitre'd and they and the head waiters seemed to serve no obvious function on this ship. Food was sometimes barely palatable to American taste, with tough, fatty meats. A few dishes (mostly Italian food such as eggplant parmiagiana, most pastas, and zuppa di past y fagioli, were home runs. Omelets, bagels, pasta stations and other staples of most cruise ships were not available. Seatings were at 6:30pm and 9 pm, late for American standards, but it worked well. The cafeteria on the pool deck served decent food, but variety was not great from day to day, except on the entrees. The ship charged for ice cream, crepes, and juices other than watered down breakfast juice. The ship only had two ice machines and one of those was usually broken. As a nice gesture they gave all North Americans coupons for 7 free 1-liter bottles of water (I guess they figured out we like cold water, but are not used to paying for it). We were well-matched with our 6 other table mates, the only other middle-aged Americans on board. Activities and Entertainment: As stated above, there were essentially no activities other than the main shows, some lounge acts, and an occasional dance class. The lounge acts wouldn't pass muster in suburban Denver. The one exception was the jazz pianist/sax players, who were truly excellent. Unfortunately, they camped permanently in the only full-smoking lounge on this ship, which was terminally uninhabitable, except for the emphysematous cruiser. The big theater, La Fenice was attractive, with a good sound system and lighting. Unfortunately, it was designed very poorly with only 300 seats, half of those with terrible sight lines. This on a ship with 2000 passengers, most of whom had to stand or leave every night. If you could find a seat, the quality of the big shows was surprisingly good, with near Las Vegas quality dancers. The male singer was ok, but Italians seem to have a surplus of truly diva-quality female singers and the MSC Armonia was no exception. Claudia was a 10, whether singing pop, opera, or show tunes. The other performers stayed on the ship all seven days and performed most nights. These included a hula hoop/acrobatics girl and the above-mentioned cardboard drag queen. Rounding out the troop were two Cirque de Soleil quality acts: 2 strongmen who performed graceful and amazing lifts and contortions and the best juggling act I have ever seen. The jugglers actually got dressed and undressed while juggling 4 pins plus their clothing. Disembarkation: Amazingly simple: just get off when you want. Lots of exits with no waits at all. Ports: 1) Ancona, Italy: Not the most beautiful city in Italy, a little gritty, but very interesting and nice that we dock right in the town. It is a popular ferry port for boats to Croatia, Montenegro and Greece. We climbed the hill to the very attractive church were we enjoyed a festival with a local choir and hiked over to Hadrian's Arch, perfectly preserved from 200 AD, and larger than the Arch of Titan in Rome. 2) Corfu, Greece: A beautiful island very walkable main city with 2 fantastic 15th century Venetian forts, a beautiful synagogue, nice Esplanade and constant games of cricket, made popular during transient British rule. 3) Santorini, Greece: Arguably the most beautiful island in Greece. The town of Oia is the one on the cover of almost every Greek guide book. The ship anchors at the "old port", 1000 feet below the cliffs that make up the island (most of the island sunk into the sea around 1500BC causing the tsunamis that helped bring an end to Minoan civilization) and the sunken part may represent the "lost" city of Atlantis. Take the donkeys (only 5 euro) up the path to the city of Fira, and then take the bus to Oia. MSC nicely arranges this stop from 3:30pm to 10:30pm, so that you can enjoy Oia's famous sunsets. 4) Athens: The ship is only in port for 5 hours, so we took the fast Metro from the port of Piraeus to Athens (a one mile walk from the pier and a 15 minute subway ride) to the Acropolis and did the free Rick Steeves iPhone walking tour of the Acropolis and wonderful new Acropolis museum. The cafe in the museum is fantastic, with good WiFi and reasonable prices with an amazing view. 5) Kefallonia, Greece: The beautiful island where Captain Corelli's violin was filmed and takes place. The main city is not very interesting, so we rented a car (much cheaper, only 25 euros, if you do it in advance) and explored the beautiful island. Very easy driving with courteous people, signs in English, and beautiful scenery. 6) Kotor, Montenegro: Surprisingly, the highlight of the trip. The beautiful inland bay of Kotor is rightfully considered one of the most beautiful in the world, a cross between San Francisco Bay and the Amalfi Coast. We took the on-off bus to little towns in the bay and it was wonderful. Don't miss this port if you get a chance to see it. 7) Venice, Italy: Venice is always wonderful, though it is much more crowded than our visit of 7 years ago. The streets are totally gridlocked with people and the constant flooding makes it impossible to move around. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
The cruise was selected because of the schedule and specific ports of call. The main source of frustration was the daily newsletter and the personnel working the service desk. The main nightly entertainment was listed in the ... Read More
The cruise was selected because of the schedule and specific ports of call. The main source of frustration was the daily newsletter and the personnel working the service desk. The main nightly entertainment was listed in the newsletter as a single name with no explanation of what it was and the service desk provided little additional information. The newsletter arrived so late at night, that planning for breakfast in order to attend scheduled tours - the service desk rarely had the tour time schedules the night before. When asked about what currency should be used at different calls, the service desk answers differed with the accounting desk. When we discovered that we would have to wait an hour and a half after the last tour group left the ship in Venice, we decided to try to go ashore on our own. When we ask the service desk if they had a map of the port so we could see where the water bus stops were, we were told they did not have one. Asked if they knew when the stops were located they said they did not know. We were left to wait for the late schedule ship to S. Marc Square. When we return we had to go through customs before boarding the ship. Once thru customs we walked past a water bus stop RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE BOW of our ship! When I complained to the supposedly service desk supervisor, there was no apology or expressed concern. I doubt that I will ever recommend MSC to any of my friends or relatives in the future. As a side note: Don't worry about the dress code for the main dining facilities. You saw a many t-shirts and jeans as you did coats and ties. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
this is the second time we have cruised with MSC but it has been marred by their very poor procedures. We had to fly to Verona, were then bussed over 100km to Venice to board. Although we hold MSC Member cards with priority boarding ... Read More
this is the second time we have cruised with MSC but it has been marred by their very poor procedures. We had to fly to Verona, were then bussed over 100km to Venice to board. Although we hold MSC Member cards with priority boarding this was not possible at Venice so had to wait for 4 hours to get to our cabins. The cruise itself was really good, staff extremely helpful and pleasant, entertainment good and MSC Divina is stunning and spotlessly clean. And then it all turned sour. There were 15 of us in our party and we had to disembark very early, meeting at 7.30am to start this process - before anyone really felt like eating breakfast. We had asked if we could leave later but were advised that as a festival was on in Venice that day all roads were closed and water taxis not available from the industrial port we had to dock in and then advised we had to go to the airport. We were dropped off at airport approx 9.30am and our flight was not until 17.30. We spoke to the MSC rep at airport about keeping our luggage but this was not possible and airport charged 6 euros per case (x15) and would have been approx 300 euros to get into Venice. MSC were desperate to get everyone off the ship as quickly as possible and did not really care about travelling with children or adults with medical conditions. Bearing in mind MSC sell their cruises as 8 days/7 nights it most certainly is not. On day 1 we got to our cabins at approx 5pm and had to depart on day 8 at 8am Bearing in mind this was a package booked by MSC they should have taken flight times into consideration during their disembarkation procedures and show some thought to their customers. We will not book again with MSC because of this which is a real shame because everything else about the Cruise was brilliant. Get your act together especially when it comes to the final day of what is a very expensive holiday and not let customers go away with a bad taste in their mouths, the solution was really quite easy, let cruisers stay on board to enjoy the facilities until at late as possible before transferring to the airport - we were not the only ones camping out on the grass Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
We chose this cruise despite the poor reviews, based on the personal recommendation of friends who did this cruise last year and because it suited our date/itinerary/duration requirements. Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed our cruise ... Read More
We chose this cruise despite the poor reviews, based on the personal recommendation of friends who did this cruise last year and because it suited our date/itinerary/duration requirements. Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed our cruise despite some shortcomings of the cruise line. Positives: Beautiful Ship. Cabin (& bathroom) was spacious, well appointed with plenty of storage space. Cabin service was very efficient, and cabin was cleaned twice daily, so we always had clean towels etc. Great itinerary although we did not take any ship excursions (we learned on our 1st cruise that ship excursions are generally a rip-off and that doing our own thing was much cheaper and less restrictive). Negatives: Service in Main Dining Room (Le Maxims) was pretty dreadful. This is clearly a management/training issue, as it's a widespread problem, also apparent in Buffet restaurant although there were some really nice dishes interspersed. Buffet breakfast was not brilliant, cold eggs and and generally lacking freshness and smacking of mass prepared food. If we didn't have our expectations raised by RCI & Celebrity, we may have found the food OK. We were not approached once by the Maitre D throughout the cruise. In fact the Maitre D even avoided eye contact when we entered the dining room.....really disconcerting. This also seemed to be an issue with other staff, as there were no friendly RCI staff style greetings forthcoming (apart from cabin staff who could hardly avoid us as we passed them in the narrow passages). On RCI & Celebrity, the crew evaluation questionnaires seem to be a huge deal and staff really go out of their way to ensure they get the best ratings. On MSC, this seemed to be a non-issue, and this is probably part of the underlying problem with service levels - the cruise line doesn't really seem too fussed about getting it right. There seems to be a bit of a "this is how we do it, take it or leave it" attitude. Dining room staff knew nothing about the wines and there was never a Sommelier in sight, so we just drank the wines out of the package we bought in the order that they were in the voucher booklet. On that point, the voucher system for wine or beverage packages is just plain dumb. Other lines just place a sticker on one's cruise card for this purpose. We had to remember to carry vouchsafed with us. Pool areas were very crowded and noisy, with lots of kids all over, but we could always find a quiet spot on the upper decks to relax, or retire to our own balcony for some time out. I had 3 massages on board. The first was actually very good, but the 2nd was poor (possibly because I didn't buy any products offered by the therapist after the first one). They also messed up my booking for the 2nd one which was supposed to be an hour, but after 30 min she announce "your massage is finished", so they re-booked my 1hr session and didn't charge for the 30 min mix up (after I dug my heels in). 3rd massage was not good, and I left with the feeling that I was rich tourist, exploiting the massage therapist, a sharp contrast to the warm welcome reviewed on day one! I guess this could be the sense of staff dissatisfaction with their working conditions coming through. If that is the case, then MSC need to sort it out. Unlike many other reviewers, I had no problem with the European cultures or multi-lingual announcements. My attitude is that if you don't like foreign cultures, then stay at home! Don't expect to find America in Europe! We absolutely loved all the ports, but I will not rate them as we made our own shore arrangements. Docking times were a bit short, especially with Santorini & Mykinos being visited on the same day. I would possibly cruise with MSC again if the price/dates etc suited our requirements, but only if we couldn't find similar with another line. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
Just returned from a weeks cruise on the msc fantasia, where to start after reading so many poor reviews I thought I should try and help others who are going to cruise with msc or is just about to book. Firstly the ship is absolutely ... Read More
Just returned from a weeks cruise on the msc fantasia, where to start after reading so many poor reviews I thought I should try and help others who are going to cruise with msc or is just about to book. Firstly the ship is absolutely brilliant , spotless beautiful and well kept .The staff in general are really nice but you do come across the odd moody one mostly the Romanians for some reason, after numerous conversations with waiters I found out that they do not have any days off and work for a 9 month period ( shame on you MSC no wonder they walk around like zombies, you try working an 11 hour shift every day for 9months). FOOD Overall no great shakes the main two dinning rooms are the worst they have no idea of fine dinning and the waiter runs around trying to get everything done. The food is hitty missy some is good some is dreadful , it is never consistent. I was with Royal Caribbean and they are hands down the best I have had.Next if you are on the first sitting which is 7.00 pm then they usher you out at about 9.00pm for the next sitting which starts about 9.00pm, the first sitting should be earlier to allow the staff more time.. The buffet at dinner time is reasonable and you can usually find something to eat look out for the ethnic area you often get the best food their. It is really busy and the Italians pile theie plates high ( worse than the brits LOL ) . In the evening there is no ethnic area food so the choice isnt as good but still okay. For some reason the food is at its best just over warm neve red hot. Breakfast is reasonable plenty of choice but sadly no fresh cooking like on Royal Carribean their omlettes were to die for.Do's and Dont's First day on board go to the meeting you will get the offer of three excursions which are good value three for £90.00 . Its hard to beat this price even doing it yourself and they were good we did the Aix En Provence, Genoa and Tunisia shopping and history. DRINK For some reason the Brits and Irish can book an all inclusive drinks package before you go ,there is two called the Algrisimo one is £150.00 pp and the other is £250.00pp No kidding we had the £250.00 pp which allows you to use your mini fridge we emptied it daily LOL , also you can drink all the top Brandy's and whiskies plus the cocktails and you can have tea and coffee from the bars free as well. The Piazza ice creams and cakes are free with that one too. At the end of the holiday we had spent over a thousand euros so the £500.00 we paid was well worth it. You get the water free and bottles of wine in the main two restaurants and by the glass everywhere else.Yes beware the bottled water will cost you a small fortune. Overall the ship is great the food is poor the staff are great ,the passengers okay apart from the Rusians ,the Germans dont know how to queue. I would go again for the price Id paid. Oh and the balcony cabin I was upgraded to was fab. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
Already Booked?

Get to know who you’ll be sailing with

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click