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105 MSC Cruises Europe - Eastern Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

The ship is treated as a glorified day-care facility by the Italian holiday makers who are rude, pushy, don't adhere to the rules and are generally obnoxious. This is compounded by the ships staff who do not want to, or are not ... Read More
The ship is treated as a glorified day-care facility by the Italian holiday makers who are rude, pushy, don't adhere to the rules and are generally obnoxious. This is compounded by the ships staff who do not want to, or are not allowed to, pull people up on their bad behavior. Unaccompanied children(5yrs - 14yrs) running in the corridors, running up and down stairs, splashing in the pools and doing other stuff that kids do...they're kids who are trapped on a boat without enough activity to interest them. Unaccompanied teenagers 14yrs - 17yrs hanging out in the Nightclubs and bars till closing time(3am) with their parents drink card...but not their parents. When I asked if there was any bar on board that had a "No Children" policy I was laughed at by the reception staff(the worst service I have ever received was from the Reception Staff on this cruise). This is a MASSIVE ship with not enough activities organized for the number of passengers on the ship, not enough poolside spots and no-one checking that people adhere to the rules...therefore disadvantaging the rest of the passengers. Excursions were generally poorly organized with not enough shade, no water provisions and not enough transport forcing passengers to stand in the sun for the better part of an hour waiting for a bus...all the while getting pushed and shoved by other passengers. How fights didn't break out, I don't know?! We booked a family suit with balcony but could not use our balcony for much of the cruise because other passengers were smoking on their balcony...despite the safety regulations and the ships rules about no-smoking in cabins and on balconies. When we rang and complained(repeatedly) very little was done for 3 days...then we asked for the manager, who sent the cabin boy rather than actually doing anything about it themselves. Bathers in the Buffet...saggy old boobs in the salad and armpits over the food but no staff to correct the bad behavior. Our waiters and cabin staff were outstanding and the cabins were excellent. We made the most of our drinks package to ensure we got the most value for our money from this disastrous cruise. We refused to pay the service charge of 7-Euro per-person per day because of the terrible service we received from security and reception staff...we chose to tip the staff that were good to us, personally. I hope others can benefit from our poor experience with MSC Divina and this is the reason for my extensive review.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
We went on this cruise with great expectations. Wow a trip to the Mediterranean on the Divina! New ship ... Sophia Loren launched it. What could go wrong. Notes for the future: do not cruise in the summer holidays. Rude kids. Extra rude ... Read More
We went on this cruise with great expectations. Wow a trip to the Mediterranean on the Divina! New ship ... Sophia Loren launched it. What could go wrong. Notes for the future: do not cruise in the summer holidays. Rude kids. Extra rude parents. Kids put their hands all over the food. It is a great ship in size. Perhaps too big. 3,000+ pax. Lifts were often full. Buffet on 14th deck was often full, no matter where you tried to sit. Few speak English ... mainly Italians. Restaurants better. Service good especially when you try to speak Bahasa. But for us Aussies there were a few Aussies to talk to on our restaurant table ... they were a good mob. Excursions were expensive. Some were good. Others were terrible. Bari we did our own thing. Katakolon we did an ok tour of Olympus. Izmir we did a tour to Efasis and Mary's house and an ambush at an artisan centre; but interesting. Istanbul and another ambush at a carpet sales place (be prepared to spend a lot of money) but the lunch and Bosporos Cruise were good. Then came the problem day ... The second last day of the voyage the ship birthed in Dubrovnik. We were booked on tour DUB09  Dubrovnik and its old city walls. This was supposed to be a 3 tour. The tour went for 2 hours. We registered well before the prescribed time. We were then told to follow the excursion customer service officer. However, she was lost in the crowd trying to exit the ship. My wife and I were separated and she was told to exit from another exit on the ship while I was stuck in a crowd which was not moving. This, in itself, was quite a frightening experience because I could see the Occupational Health and Safety Risk had anything untoward happened. After 40 minutes, I exited the ship and was told where the bus was. As I was moving to where the bus was supposedly waiting, my wife found me and told me the bus had departed. My wife explained to me that she advised the Customer Service Officer (CSO) that I must have been held up but the CSO said the coach has to go now! A frantic discussion occurred with several CSOs. Finally, we were told that we should catch the general shuttle bus into the Pila Gate where someone (no name given) would be waiting for us and would direct us to our excursion group. We caught the shuttle to the Pila Gate. When we arrived at the Pila Gate, there was no CSO waiting anywhere. Then we started searching for our group both outside the gate and inside the walls. It took about 20 minutes of searching both sides of the Pila Gate before we found the tour. My estimate is that we lost 40 minutes of the tour through this and we were very lucky to find it. The MSC Divina CSO assigned to this tour refused to make eye contact with my wife or me after we joined the tour. Once the tour had been completed and we returned to the ship, I went to the Excursions Desk. I spoke to a senior CSO and she was a very superior, arrogant and quite rude. Initially she was not very interested in hearing my complaint. After she finally relented to hear my issue, she blamed me for not getting to the tour coach on time, even though I explained that getting off the ship was impossible and a risk. This CSO then said that she was supposed to be our contact at the Pila Gate. She was not at the Gate. No one from the MSC Divina was at the Gate. She, begrudgingly, finally took down the details of my complaint, advised me that she would have to contact MSC head office and promised me that she would contact me before the end of the cruise. I am still waiting. I have written to CS in Australia requesting a refund for the tour but it has been pushed on to headquarters so I do not expect any result.My wife's luggage was mislaid after disembarking at Venice; before coach transfer to Genoa to embark on MSC Splendida cruise. We approached two Divina CSO's to advise them that the baggage was missing and that we would not board the coach until the luggage was found. They did not know that our friends had advised the coach driver that they would not allow the coach to leave until we were on board. The CSO's attitudes were did you put the luggage outside our cabin on time? [We had at midnight!]; did you put the blue tag on? [I did]; did you check the blue labeled tagged bags again? [we did many times.] The CSOs walked away from us providing no further help! I then asked one of the ship's officers for help. He asked the same questions and suggested that we should board the coach. We refused! He then, at least tried to find out where the luggage was. We were then looking at green coloured labels when we noticed a bag which looked like hers. The blue tag on our bag had been ripped off. The white tag for our next cruise for the Western Mediterranean on the MSC Splendida was still on the bag. This is really not a good look for MSC. Excursion customer service is really poor. Help with our lost luggage was non-existent.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
first time on msc and my buddies and I dubbed it the Money Sucking Cruise. seems like we were charged for everything. the food was horrible in the restaurants and at the buffets. I actually lost weight on this ship, which hasn't been ... Read More
first time on msc and my buddies and I dubbed it the Money Sucking Cruise. seems like we were charged for everything. the food was horrible in the restaurants and at the buffets. I actually lost weight on this ship, which hasn't been the case w/any of my other cruises. customer service was a joke. one travel companion and I are vegetarians. asked for a veggie burger and was simply told no. they'll be served tomorrow. I survived off salads and fruits, for the great majority of the cruise. even food which didn't include meat was often cold and bland. I happen to love pizza but the offerings on this ship turned me against the food. simply did not taste good. sometimes undercooked. sometimes not enough cheese. just looked thrown together.at accounting and reception, encountered rude customer service. one night msc requested that all passengers bring their passports, as they would be needed at one of the ports of call. I did not feel comfy leaving my passport w/anyone and asked why it was needed. the question was met w/a shoulder shrug. asked when the passport would be returned. informed the following day, which actually turned into my buddy's passport being returned three days afterwards. others in our group never turned over our passports and did not encounter any issues getting onto or off the ship, which makes me question even more why they were "needed."for those staying on the 8th deck, beware that your view may be blocked by the life boats. this happened to others in our group, as they stayed in room 8206. their view was horrible and the focus of jokes all week long, unfortunately at their expense.finally, on the last nite, our door was directly by the area where they were collecting luggage. the workers were beyond loud and had the door open, as they listened to music and talked very loud. after 15 minutes, I went to the door and one worker looked at me and said, "yeah. what's up?" I was taken aback and indicated it was 1:30am and their noise made it impossible to sleep. he snickered and I asked for his name, as I couldn't see his tag. another worker quickly apologized and offered to shut the door. I was sleepy that I let it go and chalked it up to another poor msc customer service experience.there is no way I would ever recommend msc to anyone. not even an enemy. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
I wanted to share my observations from our recent cruise of the MSC Poesia. We traveled December 1-11, 2012 and were in cabin 10126. We are experienced travelers and this was our first cruise with MSC. We were asked by friends to join them ... Read More
I wanted to share my observations from our recent cruise of the MSC Poesia. We traveled December 1-11, 2012 and were in cabin 10126. We are experienced travelers and this was our first cruise with MSC. We were asked by friends to join them for our wedding anniversary and in total there were five couples traveling together. It is always helpful when giving feedback to start out with positive things, and there were things I liked about the cruise. I thought the ship itself was very pretty, and well maintained. The ship was clean and attention paid to detailing. The evening entertainment was very good in the Bar De Poeti, both Greg and the dark-haired woman with whom he performed, were very good. The four-piece band in the same room was excellent and good for dancing, providing a wonderful variety of music and tempo. The two bands in the Zebra Lounge were very good and entertaining, although their Latin music repertoire was lacking in salsa music. The evening shows were very good and the acrobats and adagio dancers were very entertaining. The excursions were very good, and we found them well organized and informative. The port in Jamaica was especially pleasant for walking around and shopping. Staff that was especially helpful was Henry at the reception desk that helped me resolve a problem that I was having with the Internet. The bar staff at the pool bars were very good, they made good drinks and the serving staff were attentive around the pool deck, without being over-bearing. The food and service in the dining rooms for lunch and dinner was not as we had expected. The first three mornings we had breakfast in the buffet, and it was so awful we had the remaining breakfasts in the Le Fontane Room where we could order our food and it would be served hot. The breakfast buffet had consistently cold and overcooked scrambled eggs. The bacon was undercooked, not crispy and wallowing in grease. The breads were consistently dry, flavorless, and tasted like cardboard, especially the muffins and croissants. The orange juice was just colored yellow water, with a tinge of watered down flavor. There was no nova served in the buffet. The toasted breads, English muffins, and bagels were cold and stale. Breakfast in the Le Fontane Room was served warm, the breads were generally more normal tasting. Mario, the matre de of the breakfast room had the staff well-trained and most of the time we got what we ordered timely. The lunch buffet was generally unappetizing and had few tasty dishes that were enticing. The hamburgers were consistently overcooked and dry. Sandwiches were sparce, and we never saw deli sandwiches with roast beef or turkey (the turkey sandwiches that were served was one lone slice of processed turkey on stale bread). The International corner offered good dishes, but were spicy and most of the women would not eat it because of bad breath and upset stomachs from eating curry dishes. Fortunately the pizza was consistently! The dinners on the cruise were horrendous. Consistently for ten nights, our dinners would come out cold, overcooked, tasteless, and in some cases spoiled. When we would ask out matre de Fausto to assist, he would return dishes to the kitchen and then never follow up to see if we were properly served and people were satisfied. My wife resorted to eating the Caprese salad, a Caesar salad, and the consomme 8 of the 10 nights! The first evening the struggle with our Captain and servers was getting soda water (water with gas) served to us at no extra charge instead of flat water. After considerable debate and insistence, staff relented and brought soda water to six of the ten guests who preferred that beverage. Staff was trying to charge us per glass for the water or asking us for soda coupons and we refused. We were not asking for cans of soda, but rather soda water from the bar gun. The Caesar salads were generally good, but one night one the Caesar salads came out without any dressing? How is that possible? We asked for some anchovies for the Caesar salads and Fausto brought out an entire dinner plate of anchovies nightly, to make the point to the annoying Americans. On the second night one of our dinners came out with pieces of aluminum foil in the dish. The salmon served every night were typically inedible because they were so badly overcooked and often were laden with bones. The sirloin steaks with Bernaise sauce were 3/8 of an inch thick, and were consistently overcooked, tough, and inedible. There were sent back by numerous people at our group, numerous times. The only steak in the ten days that was edible was the tenderloin medallion on evening 9. Twice during the course of the trip, appetizers with baby shrimp and scallops were served. The first time, the shrimp were totally mushy and smelled bad. Five of us returned the dish back letting the server and Fausto know that the shrimp were bad. We asked him to let the chef know. In a subsequent conversation with the head chef, he was never advised of the problem. Meaning our concerns was killed by Fausto and the problem not corrected. Several days later (evening 9) another shrimp appetizer came out and it was mushy, sticky, and did not taste right. We brought matre de Mario to the table and brought this to his attention. He agreed with our assessment and promised to let the chef know. On the second formal night there was a surf and turf dish offered. Five of the 9 persons having that dish returned the lobster for being soft and mushy, and inedible. Mario was called over, once again recognized the problem, and took the dishes to the kitchen. Three plates of new lobsters were brought back, but two of the wives never received their dinner. Mario did not follow up to make sure everyone was served and that it was followed through. By the time we asked our server what had happened to the other dishes, it was late, the women were angry and not wanting any food (it had already been over an hour and 20 minutes since we sat down and now approaching 9:45 pm). The pastas that were served were bland, and the sauces were not very appetizing. Many of the dishes were left unfinished. Overall, the food at dinner in the dining room was unappetizing, inconsistent, and very disappointing. We referred to our cruise as the "Weight Watcher Cruise" because most of us usually left the tables hungry, or ate more salads to fill us up. The desserts were fair, but in the ten days we never saw any pies, or chocolate cakes. On the 10th day, for the first time ever, we saw a brownie served at lunch. We ate at the sushi restaurant one night, and the food was pretty good. Very expensive, but good! I also want to bring to your attention about a challenge I had with the Internet service. I bought the very expensive 8-hour package, and one night I clicked the log out button but did not wait until the window had closed (there is apparently a lag time because the service is quite slow). As a result I did not log out completely and burned through several hours of my valuable Internet time. When I realized the error I went to the reception desk to ask for assistance and restoration of my time. Front desk clerk, Henry, was calm and very helpful. He was trying to contact the IT Manager, but could not get anyone to answer the radio pages, or telephone. Finally, the assistant IT Manager, Irene, came and was very uncooperative, and did not offer to solve the problem. Henry had to write up a memo that was sent to Italy. Due to the time difference, we then had to wait nearly 12 hours for a reply to see if my time credit was restored. Irene, said she did not have the authority to solve the problem, nor gave me a code for a small credit of time so I could solve my business emergency. I had to wait until the following morning, until Genoa staff could respond. I was eventually given several hours credit and expressed my gratitude to Henry. Why is your IT staff not empowered to solve problems immediately, and more importantly, what I was looking for was a little reassurance that my request would get to the proper authorities in a timely manner, and not fall upon deaf ears. I had a very sensitive time frame to solve a very important business challenge. Instead of Irene saying, that she would send the email out right way and let me know when the message was confirmed, I had to throw a fit to get her take action. She wouldn't even give Henry proper direction to make the problem go away. She just walked away from both of us! This is unacceptable behavior, on so many levels and evidences poor training, poor supervision, bad attitude, etc. I was at the reception desk when a woman approached the staff saying that she had just fallen down and hurt herself. The infirmary was apparently closed at this time, and she could not go down there for timely attention. Instead of staff following through with the woman and letting her know they would check on her later in her cabin, or offering to have the nurse check on her, she was told to go to the infirmary on her own when it opened four hours later. Really? We also enjoy dancing very much and thought the disco was a great room. Unfortunately, the room never had any people in it. The problem is that the average cruise age group is fairly old, (well over 50, as we are) and there are not that many younger people who would enjoy contemporary disco music. Because the disco first opens at 11pm, most of the cruise passengers are heading their cabins by that time. Moreover, none of the entertainers in the lounges promoted or reminded the guests that the disco was opening at 11pm. Those passengers that are still awake are not really aware that the disco is open. It is suggested that the other music venues cross promote and let people know that the disco is open. Other suggestions are to hold receptions, or special promotions in the disco during the happy hour to get people up there, and or open the disco at 9pm so that people after dinner can first go up there, and be enticed by special drink promotions or mixers. The gym equipment on the ship was extremely limited and outdated. Compared to our experience on the Freedom of the Seas ship, several weeks earlier, this gym is grossly under-equipped with outdated machines. There are only hand weights that go up to 15 pounds and many of the guys were complaining about this. There should be a water dispenser in the gym area, in addition to the one by the hot tubs. For a ship that allegedly just got went through a total rehab, and a makeover, what happened to putting in state-of- the-art equipment? The Spa was very nice, but when I had a massage and the girl was asking for a tip, I was unable to add a tip onto my charge. I explained that no one in gym clothes carries cash with them, and in fact we are not supposed to carry cash anywhere on the ship, because virtually every activity on the ship is driven by your ID card and 15% gratuity added to every activity automatically. My masseuse was unfortunately denied a tip because I had no ability to add a gratuity by my receipt. I don't care that the Spa is a separate franchise; not my problem. If I can sign for goods in Duty Free, or the Bar, or the various items sold on the pool deck, or signing out a towel, I should be able to add a gratuity to a spa service. It's not rocket science. Overall, I can tell you with 100% confidence that I would never take another MSC cruise, even if it was given to me. So please don't send me a voucher or coupon for a cruise discount. It's wasting paper. Dinner and food service for our group was a running joke. Two people in our group are travel agents, and the couple that invited us on to this ship are MSC VIP's , and they each vowed never to book anyone on MSC. I found the lack of training for the serving staff (often no silver ware, not checking water glasses, no picking up dirty dishes in a timely manner, not getting the orders correct, not following up on dishes served or returned, etc.) the poor skills of the matre de, especially Fausto, to be unacceptable. The inconsistent food quality and presentation was bordering on incompetent. How can food leave the kitchen without any quality checks? I had to make the matre de sit down and taste some of the awful food so he could believe we were not exaggerating. Considering that this was our wedding anniversary cruise, it was most disappointing, and we can promise you that we will not return, and we will not be recommending this line to our friends, and that we have let our travel agent know about this, and I will be posting this letter on TripAdvisor.com. You have a lot of work ahead of you if you plan to be marketing this cruise line to Americans and our ports. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
We chose the MSC Devina because it was a new ship and we wanted to experience another cruise line It took one hour to board the ship and a further hour to organise dinning times. We had booked second sitting dinning nine months ago but ... Read More
We chose the MSC Devina because it was a new ship and we wanted to experience another cruise line It took one hour to board the ship and a further hour to organise dinning times. We had booked second sitting dinning nine months ago but this had not been automatically allocated. Not the best start to our holiday. The ship was exceptionally clean and tidy as was our stateroom. We booked a balcony room which was very disappointing. The balcony was metal therefor we were unable to see anything when seated. On previous cruises we have had a glass balcony and feel this restricted view should have been flagged up prior to booking. The dinning rooms felt cramped and the standard of food and food presentation was poor. We spent most of our evenings at the speciality restaurants, which did involve additional payment, but service and food standards where excellant. Staff did not appear to be motivated to please, and some lacked basic customer service training. Ports of call were interesting but a little rushed. The ship was very noisy and children were allowing into every area including the adult only pool area and even the casino! Disembarkation was quick and easy, perhaps the best part of this cruise! Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
The ship is beautiful. Our cabin is spacious and airy. The dining and cleaning staff attentive and friendly. There is no tea or coffee at dinner time. The photographers are intrusive everywhere on the ship. I had reserved 4 shore ... Read More
The ship is beautiful. Our cabin is spacious and airy. The dining and cleaning staff attentive and friendly. There is no tea or coffee at dinner time. The photographers are intrusive everywhere on the ship. I had reserved 4 shore excursions over a month before sailing on the MSC web-site. They had no record of them so I missed the tour in Bari and had to re-book the others. Coffee only available in the cafeteria. All the bar staff are aggressive in pushing booze. We don't drink. Coffee only available in one bar and they charge. A welcome aboard sign on the sparkling water is words only. You are charged for the water. Ice cream only in the Coffee Bar. You are charged. In short, if you have cruised before you will be irritated very quickly. The ships layout in the public areas is design by a disoriented wanderer. Reboarding after a port of call requires climbing 3 decks before you get to a deck that the other elevators are accessable. Having grand time. I only choose the cruise because of Venice, Istanbul and Dubrovnik. I should have paid a bit more on gone on Holland America or Royal Carribean. If you like being irritated then this is the line for you, otherwise choose Costa, at least you can have some excitement ;) Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
The Divina is a beautiful ship that is very impressive a quite large. Having sailed large ships like the Norwegian Epic, we were hoping to surpass our cruise experiences by choosing the MSC Yacht Club. Butler They advertise a butler ... Read More
The Divina is a beautiful ship that is very impressive a quite large. Having sailed large ships like the Norwegian Epic, we were hoping to surpass our cruise experiences by choosing the MSC Yacht Club. Butler They advertise a butler on hand, but that was not exactly the case. He was there if you called but Butlers should be there at your door and with you everywhere on the ship. You don't have a "personal butler", I believe there was 5 for the whole Yacht Club with about 50 rooms. Embarkation/Disembarkation The boarding process was very smooth with no lines and queues. You are the first on and off the ship as promised. Drinks The yacht club does offer complementary drinks, but there is a catch. Even though you have a card that says yacht club you can only get free drinks at yacht club venues. Absolutely obnoxious. You are only limited to a menu of drinks. They offer virgin strawberry daiquiris but they dont allow you to have alcohol in it without charge. You are better off getting a regular cabin not in the yacht club and sign up for the drink package so you can drink at any bar on the ship. Food ABSOLUTELY THE WORST FOOD. I don't know if it is good for mediterranean standards, but the food quality was horrendous. All of the meat was extremely fatty, the chicken was either rubber or too thin to realize what you are eating. Bacon should not be considered meat on this cruise. It is pure fat. There was one night that was extremely fancy and they served wonderful food by a recognized chef. I don't understand why that is not possible every day, at least for the Private Yacht Club Restaurant Le Muse. The placement of the restaurant is also ridiculous. The yacht club pool, bars, lounge, concierge, and rooms are in the very front of the ship on the 15/16th floors. Le Muse is in the very back so you have to go down to the 7th floor and fight your way through the mobs of people looking for their pictures in the the photography center. The buffet. I could complain for days. Lunch is decent with the most selection. Food is still terrible quality, I think the best food there are the french fries, and I am not the typical American that only likes "American food". For dinner I was slightly offended at the buffet. They have a special section for INDIANS ONLY. WTF? They were serving delicious Indian food with curry, nann, etc, and they would not allow any white people in there. I think that racism at its finest. Excursions Excursions were fantastic, except for one. You were the first off the boat again. For Venice I recommend staying overnight a day before your cruise. Bari was not very appealing so we chose to go to Alberobello (great decision). In Katakolon we went to olympia. Take a cab. You get bored very fast. There is one structure standing and the rest is ruins. The tour guide was terrible that talked about everything on her mind even politics. I'm surprised the bus driver didn't eject her out of the door. Izmir was beautiful, we went to the Sheraton at Cesme, very beautiful! Istanbul was also beautiful. I recommend the deluxe excursion even though it is very pricy. Dubrovnik was my favorite. We did the wall excursion and the views were absolutely stunning. Shows Advertised as Broadway quality it fell very far. Same people singing every day, it got old by the second day. Only went twice. Casino. Very small and the whole room is an ashtray. Smell is horrific you need a gas mask. Overall Very disappointed in the quality, especially when paying a premium at the yacht club. Had high hopes and they were all let down. I will not sail MSC again. I do not recommend it. Great itinerary though! Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
WE WANT TO WARN EVERYONE ABOUT CRUISING ON THE MUSICA! My husband and I just took the 7 day Eastern Mediterranean cruise from Venice in June 2012. I did a very similar cruise on the Costa Victoria with a gal friend in 2006, so I have a ... Read More
WE WANT TO WARN EVERYONE ABOUT CRUISING ON THE MUSICA! My husband and I just took the 7 day Eastern Mediterranean cruise from Venice in June 2012. I did a very similar cruise on the Costa Victoria with a gal friend in 2006, so I have a good basis of comparison. The new cruise terminal in Venice has a monorail that unfortunately ends at least 1/3 mile from the Musica. There were signs for a free shuttle, but no personnel to be found at the exit of the monorail. During our 20 minute "dry run, without luggage" walk in the hot sun, there was no shuttle to be found. . . no covered walk way either. We ended up having to pay 20 Euros to a taxi to haul us and our luggage from Pe Roma= a BAD way to start! Baggage check in required us to stand in an outside (covered) line about 30 minutes. . . also HOT. Then there was another 30 minute line inside the air conditioned entry hall to get ourselves checked in. In addition to our cruise packet, I was asked to sign a form saying that I asked for water to be served at meals. Then there was the gauntlet of "independent contractors" who ran the spa and retails shops. . . handing us separate pieces of paper for their "deals". . . very unorganized. Our cabin had a nice sized balcony with 2 chairs and a small table, but the upholstery inside was worn and needed a good clean. Our mini bar had 2 bottles of water that were opened and half empty. We had to ask the cabin steward 3 times to take them away, so we would not be charged. When we went to the buffet on the 13th floor for a bite of lunch, it was nothing short of chaos! There was no attempt at "line" organization of any kind. People were literally pushing and shoving to get to food that was luke warm and bland, at best. Tables were almost impossible to find. Waiters were already stressed and rushing around attempting to keep the food stocked and tables cleaned off. Everything was served on badly scratched plastic. . . not appetizing at all. Children were crying or shouting and running around, completely out of control. When we recovered enough to go to the nicely appointed Maxim restaurant for dinner, we were thankfully seated at a 4 top with a lovely Australian couple. There were very few English speaking guests on board (average 50% Italian and 30% Spanish). We had a nicely prepared dinner with good service in a relatively peaceful environment. UNFORTUNATELY, when it came time to settle the account, we were asked for our water voucher. When I explained that we did not receive any water voucher, our waiter went for the dining room manager. That fellow was rude and insisted that we must have vouchers because I signed the form at check in. We were embarrassed at the scene he was making, all over a bottle of water that we often bought at the supermarkets in Italy for 19 cents (they charged 2.30 Euros). He finally said we could bring an extra voucher the next evening. When I went to the reception desk the next morning to sort out the water crisis, the clerk was also rude, saying "why would you sign for vouchers you did not receive?" When I tried to explain that no one mentioned vouchers, she continued to blame me for not being organized. I even went all the way back to my cabin and brought every piece of paper from check in, even the ones from the trash. She still did not believe me and said I needed to take it up with the customer relations manager. She said he was busy and I should wait or come back. Since the fellow in line next to me was protesting loudly that he had already waited 20 minutes for the manager, I stated that the manager should call me in my cabin when he became available. To make a long story very short. . . the rest of the cruise went much the same way. Although, after meetings with the managers of customer relations and food and beverage, we were immediately given precious water vouchers (free only for Americans and Canadians), and moved to a dining table by the window, etc. . . the lack of organization and professional management meant pushing and shoving for every excursion as well. Yes, this cruise line has good entry prices, but they have additional (excessive) charges for everything. . . those € here and there really add up. . . especially at the US dollar exchange rate making everything 30% higher. You are not allowed to bring on board even non-alcoholic beverages because they want you to buy every bit of liquid you put in your body from them, at their marked up rates. Plus they add service charges for drinks, in addition to the 7€ per person daily service charge. Their entry prices, along with free children in the room, means they end up with chaos that they don't/can't control. I found that Costa Cruise lines has better food and a much more peaceful experience in a similiar price range. I would not recommend an MSC Musica cruise to anyone! Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
This was our honeymoon and 1st cruise experience. We, as many people do, selected this cruise for numerous reasons, the most important being the itinerary and cuisine. Itinerary: Absolutely amazing! We started in Bari. We didn't ... Read More
This was our honeymoon and 1st cruise experience. We, as many people do, selected this cruise for numerous reasons, the most important being the itinerary and cuisine. Itinerary: Absolutely amazing! We started in Bari. We didn't spend anytime exploring as we were exhausted from the long flights over to Italy. We didn't do an excursion in Katakolon. We walked around and found a great restaurant down by the beach where we had amazing food. My absolute favorite port was Santorini. It was everything the pictures show - amazingly beautiful! We did the Oia Village excursion (about 4 hrs) here and loved it. It was great to see the traditional white houses with blue roofs and stop in at a local winery with amazing views of the sea. Mykonos was another favorite. We were there at night and were able to catch the sunset. In Athens, we did the Athens & Acropolis tour (4.5 hrs). We enjoyed this tour. Corfu and Dubrovnik were both very beautiful places. We wandered around and enjoyed having our own schedule. Venice was the longest port. I had been to Venice before but it's always beautiful and we enjoyed our time there. The excursions were expensive (59 euro/pp for Santorini and 62 euro/pp in Athens) but we were very happy with the ones we participated in. I have been lucky enough to spend a lot of time in Europe, living there for a while, and found that the best experiences were ones you stumbled upon on your own by simply wandering around. I don't enjoy tons of tour groups so we were very happy with our choice to follow our own schedule most of the time. Cuisine: Absolutely horrible. My husband and I expected the food to be amazing considering this is a European cruiseline. As I said before, I have experienced the best of the best when it comes to Italian food and this was absolutely awful. The first huge let down was the timing of when food was actually available. After getting on the ship, flying all the way from Washington State in the US the day after our wedding, we were exhausted, hungry and tired. Much to our surprise, NOTHING was open. We had to wait for 3 hours for anything to open up. We were starved! We then realized that not only did we have to wait for a place to open, we ended up getting the late dining time (opposite of what I requested online) and couldn't eat at the restaurant until 9pm. We decided to go to the buffet because we were so hungry. BUFFETS - worse than a grade school cafeteria! The breakfast buffet was the best (if you can call it that) of the 3 buffets. You could choose from yogurt (very good), scrambled eggs, omelets - a fried egg folded with nothing in it, fried eggs, a ton of plain bread slices, cheese and meat slices where the only cheese that actually tasted like it was supposed to was Swiss, pastries (plain croissants, chocolate croissants, jelly croissants) and fruit which was a no-go half of the time. It was if they tried to fill the space in the buffet with condiments like jelly, butter, etc. They had juices and coffee. We never tried any juice, only the coffee which wasn't great. The lunch and dinner buffets were pretty similar. The food was bland. The lettuce for the 'salad' was wilted around the edges half the time. They had watered down Italian dressing and strange salad additives such as lentils. All lunch buffets had hot dogs, over cooked hamburger patties and french fries. They had what they called 'ethnic food' selections which were strange mixed dishes. Some had meat in them that had about 1/4 of an inch of actual meat while the rest was either fat or gristle. Disgusting. There were empty tortillas in the buffet lines as well. Soup was tasteless. The cutting station had roast beef that was over cooked. We literally dreaded the thought of having to find something edible on the ship. SIT DOWN DINNERS: There were 2 restaurants that served as the sit down dinners. Both served the same thing. Again, bland and tasteless dishes that did not taste like what they actually were. My husband ordered the cheese plate one night. The pieces of cheese were tiny. I tasted the goat cheese and it was absolutely flavorless. The only thing that was good was the ice cream for dessert. They made a big presentation the last formal night about the baked alaskan dessert which was mediocre. We only went to the dining rooms twice for each formal night. Our waiter at the restaurant was the friendliest person we encountered on the ship. There were two other restaurants on the ship. One was for sushi and the other was a specialty one, both of which you had to pay for. They were expensive and our thought was that if the other food was that bad, we definitely didn't want to fork out more money for another crappy meal. We ordered room service for the pizza one night and it was actually edible. Still, it was NO typical Italian pizza that you would expect from the cruise line. If you're cruising for the food or expect this European cruise to have great or even edible food, DO NOT GO ON THIS CRUISE!!!! This was our biggest complaint of the entire ship. RANDOM ITEMS: 15% service charge on any items you had to pay for - drinks, snacks, etc. The service was horrible. The staff did speak English but when I asked about things, they simply gave you an answer but never explained anything so you could actually understand. I tried to make an international call and called the reception to get assistance and she snipped at me. We were also requested to come down to the desk and they gave us a water package (you have to pay for your own water on the ship) that we didn't order. I inquired about why we received this as we didn't pay for it. She snapped back saying 'well now you have water' but never explained if we had to pay for it or not. Each day you're charged a 7 euro/pp surcharge. This definitely adds up at the end. We rarely ordered anything in the ship other than a few cappuccinos and a beer that was watered down and flavorless. What we have always heard about cruises was that people go on them for the cuisine. If you're at all interested in great cuisine while on vacation, don't make the mistake we did. Do NOT choose MSC. The experience has definitely ruined our desire to go on any cruise in the future. The only thing we were happy with was the time spent off the ship in all the amazingly beautiful ports. Other than that, we wished we would have chosen a different cruise line for our 1st cruise and our honeymoon. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
Kids Zone: MSC is not a kid friendly cruise for English speaking passengers. Last summer we took a Royal Caribbean cruise and my kids loved the kid's club so much that we could barely drag them out; however, this is not the case ... Read More
Kids Zone: MSC is not a kid friendly cruise for English speaking passengers. Last summer we took a Royal Caribbean cruise and my kids loved the kid's club so much that we could barely drag them out; however, this is not the case with the MSC cruise line. The staff keep the children in one small room playing the same movie over and over again in "Italian only". If the kids do not want to watch the movie, the only other option is to either play table soccer (only one table) or the Wii (only one Wii console). This makes for a very boring few hours. My children begged me not to go back after just one experience. Entertainment: I was surprised to find out that MSC offers very few activities throughout the day (both sea days or at port). If you like to do something other than a 30 minute dance lesson, then choose a different cruise line. Although I have to say that at least two of the 6 night shows were very captivating. Food: The breakfast and lunch buffet were fantastic. They offered a variety of foods that both my kids and I really enjoyed. Dinner on the other hand was very lacking both in choices and flavor. Voyager of the Seas -Royal Caribbean had such tasty meals EVERY night that I looked forward to dinner on MSC Splendida, only to be let down night after night. I could probably name only a handful of dishes on MSC that were actually appetizing. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
My wife and I are in our last of three years in Germany, we have traveled Europe by car as far as we could go. Eastern Med just isn't practical, so this cruise looked like it would hit the highlights. We started in Venice and ... Read More
My wife and I are in our last of three years in Germany, we have traveled Europe by car as far as we could go. Eastern Med just isn't practical, so this cruise looked like it would hit the highlights. We started in Venice and traveled (in order) to Bari, Olympia, Imir, Istanbul, and Dbrovnic. High points: 1. Of all the cruises we have taken, MSC had their stuff together in Venice. We walked up, dropped our bags, walked straight through the lines and were on the ship in less than 30 minutes. Our previous cruises seemed to leave you in a dark windowless terminal for hours waiting to board. 2. The dining room waiters are amazing as they always seem to be. There to make you happy. The only thing we noticed is that you seated yourself after the first night where other cruises had the Maitre'D seating you every night. 3. Entertainers were fantastic in the shows. The dancers and performers were amazing and very outgoing. If you saw them in a port, they were quite approachable and willing to chat. 4. The ship itself is immaculate. Being a new ship, this is to be expected though. Places they missed badly: 1. MSC will nickle and dime you to death. If you want anything to drink in the dining room you must pay for it. This includes water! You should never be forced to buy table water! I don't expect Perrier with a meal, but a simple glass of water is nice. Every cruise I have taken before included water, coffee, juice, and tea with meals. This was nothing unless you ate in the buffett. 2. The buffett was a zoo. The passengers were predominately Italian, and they apparently have never eaten at a buffett before. Lines mean nothing to them. If they have a plate, they will walk in front of 20 people and help themselves to what they need. Better was the mothers who would do it and fill a plate to take back to the table where her family is waiting like she was cooking a meal for them. The most popular item at breakfast was waffles. There was always a line for them in the mornings. They had a line because they had two waffle irons that made four waffles each. This is a ship that has 2000 guests and you are making eight waffles every five minutes? 3. Smoking. If you don't like smoke, this isn't the ship for you. Smokers have their boundries, but they bleed over so bad you can't get away from them inside the ship. You can smell it in every lounge, deck and hallway. They smoke in their rooms and the air gets recirculated right back into every other reoom. They smoke by the enterances to the buffett because there is a wind break, and it goes right into the place where you are trying to eat. 4. Noise. There is no quiet place on the ship. Every lounge has an act playing crappy lounge music. I was looking for a place to read, and couldn't find a comfortable spot that wasn't singing Barry Mannilow songs 24/7. 5. Fitness facilities. Complete joke if you actually work out. If you only work out two or three times a year, you will be fine. Four stationary bikes and four treadmills. Remember...two thousand passengers, and the fitness facility isn't even open all day. Add to that the fact this is the first ship without a running track. There is one deck you could run on, but you would be fighting for the same space as deck chairs. 6. Transportation. MSC likes to dock you away from the city and charge you to shuttle to the city. It is only 6 or 10 Euro, but when you multiply that x4 at every port it adds up. If you dock away from the city, traditionally you get a coach ride for free. Thank god they tied to dock every night or you might have to swim to the shore if you didn't want to pay for a tender. 7. Excursions. Rip off. Don't take the MSC trips. If you get off the ship, there is someone at every port offering the same trip for half the price. They all speak English, so use them. On our excurion to Effusus (in Izmir), a local vendor was refusing to give me change for a 50 Euro when I bought a bag of chips. He was pulling the "you gave me a 5" routine. I called for our excursion guide and he spoke to the man in Turkish. It did little good as he said I was lying. I told the MSC employee I wanted to report it to a police officer. He said it would take too long and that we were running late. He told me if I did this I would be ruining everyones elses vacation over 50 Euro. He also told me I would be compensated back at the ship. We get back to the ship and the guy says I was making the story up! My wife and daughter were there as witnesses and he flat out lies to our faces! 8. This is an Italian cruise. There are a large number of Americans that take it since we are stationed in Europe, and a large number of British who seem to come down. They humor us with announcements in English, but you are definitely second class citizens. My teenage daughter said it was even worse in the teen program. She said the functions splintered by nationalism. The Italians kept to themselves as did the Germans, Americans, and Spanish. The only teens to break ranks were the Swiss kids and they simply did it to tell everyone how rich they were. Conclusion: We thought we got a great deal on the ship initially. Our final ship bill was over 700 Euro, and my family doesn't drink alcohol. That was our mandatory tip, the one excursion to Ephesus, and two drink packages for 10 liters of water each. Make sure you add that in to your cruise cost when pricing with MSC. Looking back we could have taken Royal Caribbean for about the same price when you add in the drinks and other random expenses MSC throws at you that Royal Caribbean doesn't. As for the comments that say the food is bland...it is very typical European Italian food. Living here for two years already, we are used to it. If you are expecting Italian food to be like the Olive Garden or Macaroni Grill, you will be disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
Positives. The ship has some beautiful areas and nice decor throughout however that's as good as it got. The holiday started badly with what can only be described as a chaotic shambles of embarkation with no information, organisation ... Read More
Positives. The ship has some beautiful areas and nice decor throughout however that's as good as it got. The holiday started badly with what can only be described as a chaotic shambles of embarkation with no information, organisation and at times a free for all with frustrated passengers trying to Jockey for position given the lack of clear information. Disinterested staff added to that experience and you immediately got the impression that worse was to follow and how right they were! Cabin was fine and clean with no real complaints other that the poor choice of TV films at 6 euro per movie. The main gripes were the lack of training of waiting and bar staff and their general attitude. In addition the entertainment program especially during the day was very much lacking and there was not enough variety when compared to many other cruises. The food was OK at best and boring at worst with a lack of real quality choice such as a good steak, which was always available on other cruises with or without additional cost. The service at our table was another shambles with a combination of errors ranging from the wrong meal being served to no wine waiter to no sparkling water and also being charged for items not purchased. The tours were a complete rip off. For example in Athens a taxi for 5 persons was available for an average price of 25 euro or alternatively a train ride return for under 3 euro to the main tourist areas and the same applied to Haifa when a trip to Jerusalem was charged by MSC at over 100 euros per person. You have to appreciate that entrance to all these places was free and you were in effect paying for a bus journey and a tour guide. little things such as being charged for water at your meal and having no water in the gym added to our misery. Disembarkation and transfers to the airport was as disorganized as embarkation with many persons frustrated and voicing anger at the lack of proper information at Venice. We will never again travel on a cruise with MSC and you should seriously consider the American companies such as Royal Caribbean who simply have much higher standards and better public relations and maybe MSC would learn by looking closely at these companies and applying their experiences. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
I start by saying that the Cruise price for this time of year seemed to be great value when you consider the ports of call and food being paid for. Drinks had the 15% gratuity and that has been pretty standard on most cruises and the 6 ... Read More
I start by saying that the Cruise price for this time of year seemed to be great value when you consider the ports of call and food being paid for. Drinks had the 15% gratuity and that has been pretty standard on most cruises and the 6 euro per person per day seemed reasonable as it could be removed if you wished by the guest relations manager. Drink packages although still expensive were at least available and I am not a huge drinker so that didn't bother me too much. In other-words as far as possible I was travelling as a very experienced cruise passenger with my husband and hoped the weather held up. There was a problem causing a 4 hour delay at Venice to avoid bad weather later on but hey... we got off the ship having come direct from the airport and were able to see Venice so we were actually pleased at this development. As a result of the delay we were not able to get off the ship in Barri as the stop was for picking up passengers. I didn't know this was a taxi boat? Weather also prevented a stop in Rhodes however the Ship routed to Mamarous in Turkey and I have no complaints. I also say that this now 2 year old ship is in lovely visual condition with beautiful public rooms and my cabin was great and clean. The evening entertainment was OK. The lack of a live band in the shows and not the best dancing troupe I have ever seen was at times not so good and the Cruise Director after his welcome in 5 languages and his irritating ping word he said as he stood on one leg shouting Showtime...Ping....(obviously his trademark)made most of the performances feel like a school concert at best which is a shame considering there were some really good talents with the male singer, the balancing artistes, the visual comedy act and the technical sound and lighting facilities that were available it could and should have been much better. Another plus was the availability of photography and shops on board with duty free available and some of the pricing was competitive. That was the good parts. For this review, which after 30 cruises is my first, I will only highlight the downside as I seen it then concentrate on my heading as clearly other cruisers may have a different experience and above all I wish this to be fair, honest and above all balanced and not some rant. I thought the food was mostly bland with little real variety of choice and quality. I note that in the dining room you were charged for still or sparkling water and I heard a lot of people unhappy with this and even in the gym there was no free drinking water and for the first time ever you were charged 16 euro per hour for a sauna. The daytime entertainment was very lacking with no imagination whatsoever from the entertainment staff. They should take a look at other cruise lines as there are many activities that can and should have been organised. The weather meant this was more noticeable as you were to cold to sit outside in a pool or hot tub or to read a book which meant that eating and drinking was the main distraction from an otherwise long day at sea. The lack of training of staff who served drinks and food meant that they were often rude and incompetent serving wrong meals, having no Parmesan with pasta and then having to wait until the pasta was cold before this arrived. Getting charged for items not ordered and not having a wine waiter really started to tick me off together with a lot of other passengers. Bad customer relations made any complaining feel a waste of time and made you more angry with their couldn't care less attitude. 'Do you know we are catering for 3000 passengers madam and cant please you all to I am sorry we charged you 30 euros for wine you never ordered and after we find who we should have charged we will refund you' This was my experience and although other passengers will have different facts the attitude was virtually the same. For the review completeness the tours were very expensive when you consider most places were free to visit and you were paying for a bus journey and a spokesperson. Cruisers would save a lot of money by looking at the alternative transport to any places they wished to visit and if they grouped into 4 or 5 persons taxi company's would give you a tour and commentary for a fraction of the cost. Now to my real reason for the review. I am aware of a current cruise disaster and make no reference to that other than I thought that standards surely must have changed in any unlikely event scenario given the ongoing legal process at the time of writing this. When any unlikely event occurs you try and take some comfort from the training of staff and hope that this will be put to good use if and when a situation arises. We get it on airlines and on this Ship we certainly had a pre sailing mandatory drill where we went to our allocated muster station after hearing an announcement and 7 ship bells and were shown how to fit our life jackets. In a real emergency you require proper information to be given and quickly. On this ship Embarkation was a complete disaster with what can only be described as a free for all given the lack of information. Organisation in public rooms or lack of it caused in one case I witnessed a physical punch up between a guest and staff due to lack of information and many guests were running about like headless chickens given the shambles in getting passengers and tour buses together. Disembarkation was another mess with angry passengers voicing concern at the chaos of getting us off the ship and on to our departure coaches. All of the above were experienced by me and by a lot of other passengers. I see in reviews this is a typical event for this company and the one thing I say to future cruisers is this. The above events are happening daily on a line where NOTHING has been done about training to ensure these things don't reoccur and they have plenty of time to practice to get it right. God forbid there is ever a real disaster as it seems clear to me that there would be utter chaos and a free for all given what I have already observed on this ship. Needless to say I wont be travelling on any other MSC cruises and will stick to American or British ships where the standards are much higher. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
The MSC Musica is truly a beautiful ship. With that said, I go on cruises almost every month and was quite disappointed with this experience. Embarkation was actually the best that I have ever encountered. We dropped off our bags and ... Read More
The MSC Musica is truly a beautiful ship. With that said, I go on cruises almost every month and was quite disappointed with this experience. Embarkation was actually the best that I have ever encountered. We dropped off our bags and immediately went through security and boarded the ship. At dinner, I did not like what I initially ordered and was told that the kitchen was closed. It is important to note that there are no complimentary beverages served at dinner. No water, tea, or otherwise. You either have to buy a beverage package or bring your own water. Go on shore and buy sodas and water and bring back to your stateroom. MSC also closes the food and buffet down early. When you come back from excursions, food may or may not be available. So take note of the times on the daily program. You will NOT be able to get ANY food at all and will have to wait until dinner. The gelato was good -â€" you have to pay for it at the ice cream bar. Since there were 3 of us sharing a room, we requested the beds be broken apart. The stateroom attendant said ok but then said they couldn't do it. We did it ourselves and then upon returning to the room, the attendant looked for our approval when he turned down the beds. It was then we realized he didn't understand English. Room service is not complimentary and with very limited choices. The smoke wasn't that bad until other nearby staterooms occupants smoke on the balcony. The smoke made its way into our room. In order to stop it, we had to put a towel at the step of the door. The employees on the ship are not initially friendly. But, once you speak to them they will engage in conversation. One thing that really got me was the guest services employee actually argued with me when I made a suggestion. I stated that in order to alleviate the cruise cards from getting demagnetized that they should offer a small envelope like the ones the sewing kits come in to protect the card. She said that it won't work and we should just keep the card away from electronics. (Which is really not feasible..Everything goes in a small purse or pocket). I told her it would because I carry several electronics with me and the envelope cushions the strip and protects it from demagnetizing. She continued to argue with me. So much for customer service. The entertainment was ok. Actually, I really enjoyed the cirque style shows. One thing that was weird was that the TV had only news channels for English viewers. I never would have thought it would be an issue, but on vacation, I would prefer to lose the information overload!! The movies were old. And who wants to pay to see old movies. I never take the over-priced excursions offered by the cruise lines. Here was no different. Ports: Venice -â€" We stayed a few days in Venice before the cruise. The train was located right behind our hotel and took us straight into Venice. Bari -â€" We walked just outside the port gate onto the main street. We got a mini-train tour for $10 that took us around the city with a guide. Rhodes, Greece -â€" A nice port. We took the hop off/on bus for 9 Euro. Then, ended in the city shopping. Izmir, Turkey -â€" Took a taxi tour for 50 Euro total (3 people). Everything was great until the driver took us to his friends shop and the Mosque, which added time to the tour. He tried to get more money out of us. But, we were strict and told him we hired him for a specific tour & time and that he was only getting the initial agreed upon amount. So be careful and watch your time. Izmir was a nice stop. Athens/Pireaus -â€" Walking outside the port gate, you can get a hop on hop off bus tour for $23. Up until that point, other taxis will approach you for tours. We actually got a tour by taxi for 3 people for $70. Which was about the same price as the hop on bus. Please note if you do the hop off bus you may not have enough time to see all the sites. Katakalon/Olympia Greece -â€" Nice stop. There is a bus that meets in front of the shops that will take you to the ruins for $10. The prices in the shops were cheaper than all the other ports. So if you see souvenirs that you like, buy them there. Really a nice stop. Dubrovnik, Croatia -â€" The best stop!! We got a taxi driver to take us on a tour. I don't remember how much it cost, but it was inexpensive and WORTH it! We went up to the old fortress in the mountains and rode around the city and then were dropped off in the old walled city. It was such a treat. We had to take another taxi back to the ship. Overall, just know that this is an Italian ship. Although the price was good and the itinerary was nice, Americans need to be forewarned regarding the differences in the experience. Unless the price is very low, I would definitely consider other American ships. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
The ship was very clean, staff was good, cabins better than average. The food was 60% poor, 30% ok and 10% really good. You were fine if you filled up on the pasta which was good most of the time. The seafood was always over cooked and ... Read More
The ship was very clean, staff was good, cabins better than average. The food was 60% poor, 30% ok and 10% really good. You were fine if you filled up on the pasta which was good most of the time. The seafood was always over cooked and dry. The meat very thin and covered in gravy to hide the lack of flavor. One night I ordered Osa Buca and I got a bone the size of a saucer with one bite of meat. I asked for some with meat AND THEY GOT IT FOR ME. THEY TRIED TO CHARGE FOR WATER.I insisted that my table was not going to pay for water that was free on the buffet. I said I would take our glasses upstairs and fill them if necessary. The head guy who asked if we were American and then said we could have free water. The ship charged for the use of the sauna and the steam room. The hot tubs were never hot, only like warm. People had babies and toddlers in the hot tubs with no swim diapers on. The pillows were very lumpy. We kept asking for better ones but after 8 no luck. I would not ask my dog to sleep on a pillow that bad. The entertainment was rather unique. I liked it. They had a mine, a man that did shadow hand puppets, acrobats, and dancers and singers. The cruise was less money so I guess you get what you pay for. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Have enjoyed cruises with two other lines but really anticipated that MSC and their ship Magnifica would be a superior experience but very disillusioned by the service provided. OUr holiday was booked as a result of an advertisement in ... Read More
Have enjoyed cruises with two other lines but really anticipated that MSC and their ship Magnifica would be a superior experience but very disillusioned by the service provided. OUr holiday was booked as a result of an advertisement in the Daily Mail which was placed by Ideal Cruising. The holiday included two nights in Venice to begin. It was only when we arrived in Venice that we realised there was no help for holiday makers, they had to find the hotel with no assistance. We took a long time to find where our hotel was. Even police officers on the quayside had never heard of it. Turned out our hotel was on an island and we had to travel without assistance to find our accommodation which of course involved expense and inconvenience pulling our suitcases onto boats and buses. The accommodation was clean and basic. To explore Venice again buses and boats and no information but we did our best to enjoy the experience. When we eventually managed to board the Magnifica after delays and travel problems caused by fog (we had to travel to Triest) we expected to be able to enjoy the remainder of our holiday without having to spend much more money but beware - take more money than you expect to need. The account escalates with two "service or gratuity charges" which are added to everything you buy on board. Your drinks and tea and coffee soon make the bill significant. The food is a repetitive menu with beefburgers and pizzas featuring heavily every day. The staff do not appear to be happy but are helpful and respectful. On previous cruises we have enjoyed shuttle buses meeting the ship when it docked but this cruise did not so we had to walk considerable distances to get a taxi or other transport. It seemed to us and other passengers we spoke to that this company is only interested in getting as much money out of you as they possibly can. The entertainment was poor compared with other ships we have travelled on and the compare was so boring you felt like going out of the theatre by the time he had had his say. So if you are prepared to join long long queues for everything from initial registration on board to getting your cup of coffee from the machine at breakfast and paying top dollar for everything then this is the cruise for you. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
When we booked this cruise we were flying from Gatwick to Genoa, about 20 minutes transfer from the port. This was one of the deciding factors when picking this cruise as long transfers are really difficult for me. However, 9 days before ... Read More
When we booked this cruise we were flying from Gatwick to Genoa, about 20 minutes transfer from the port. This was one of the deciding factors when picking this cruise as long transfers are really difficult for me. However, 9 days before we travelled we got the tickets and were informed that we were now flying from Heathrow into Milan Malpensa airport - 2.5 hours transfer time to the port. Need less to say we were not impressed! It is important to point out that we booked through Virgin Cruises, so it is not clear who was responsible for the fact that we only discovered the change 9 days before we sailed. However, the change was still unacceptable. Anyway, when we arived at Milan airport we were met by the MSC rep (very friendly) who informaed us that we would have an hour wait before we left as we were waiting for another 2 people on a later flight. Finally we arrived at the port and were directed to the boat in a rather haphazard manner. We received our room cards and were informed that we would be eating in the second sitting, even though we had requested 1st sitting. We were told to sort this out with reception, which we duly did. One of the receptionist was quite rude and was very quick to point out that 'requests cannot be guaranteed'. Luckily another receptionis (Lucia) was very polite and said we should go and see the restaurant manager who would probably be able to change it for us. This we did and we were indeed changed to 1st sitting with no problems. This bodes the question why were we not given the sitting we requested to start with??? What a pointless waste of time for everyone! On the plus side, the food and service at dinner was excellent, with them very helpfully accomadating my gluten free requirements. Also the evening entertainment (although at times resembling a trip to Butlins), was very good, especially the shows in the Broadway Theatre. Also the room was much bigger and nicer than I expected, with a comfortable, large bed and lots of storage space (including a safe and lots of hanging space). There was also a hairdryer, which was v handy. Unfortunately the staff at breakfast were not so friendly, in fact pretty indifferent I would say an the choice was a bit limited and got very boring by the end of the week. The 2 excursions we did were pretty good, although v expensive, and even coach transfers out of the port were very pricey. Just as we were beginning to think it wasn't too bad though, we got our instructions for leaving the boat on the last day. Essentially we were turfed off at 9:15am and transferred to the airport...even though our flight was not until 7pm. So, 7 hours in Milan Malpensa airport - what a marvellous end to the holiday!! Needless to say the good definitely did not out weight the bad on this trup so I would not travel with them again and I would discourage others from doing so either. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
We departed Venice on Sep 27 and returned to Venice on Oct 8, visiting Bari,Pireaus,Yalta, Odessa, Istanbul,Katakalon,and Dubrovnik enroute. Port visits were too short (4 to 6 hours) to really enjoy them. Excursions were generally good ... Read More
We departed Venice on Sep 27 and returned to Venice on Oct 8, visiting Bari,Pireaus,Yalta, Odessa, Istanbul,Katakalon,and Dubrovnik enroute. Port visits were too short (4 to 6 hours) to really enjoy them. Excursions were generally good except in Odessa. Food in the dining room was generally average although the pastas were outstanding. Dining room policies/service was awful. First of all, they do not serve coffee in the dining room at lunch or dinner, nor will they serve water unless it is purchased from the bar. The waiters are overworked, undertrained and unsupervised. There are no wine stewards, so the waiters spend the first 45 minutes of the meal period taking and serving drink orders. Our waiter served seven tables with 36 passengers. His assistant waiter was so untrained she had never opened a bottle of wine before, and had to ask a passenger how to do it. We were never served a first course appetizer sooner than 45 minutes after sitting down, and the entire meal service usually took two hours. We were in the early seating for dinner ( 6 p.m.) and the maitre'd would try to rush us out starting at 7:45 so the dining room could be reset for the 8:30 sitting, but in no case had we been served dessert by 7:45, and in one case we hadn't even been served the main course yet. Food in the Deck 11 cafeteria was just plain terrible. It was so bad relatively few passengers chose to eat there, unlike most other cruise ships which have crowded cafeterias. It almost seemed as though there had been a conscious decision to force people to use the dining rooms by having such poor selection and quality in the cafeteria. Entertainment was poor compared to Royal Caribbean/Princess/Carnival standards but the OPERA was a fairly small ship. Embarkation procedure was better than usual but debarkation was slow. We had to be out of our cabin by 7 a.m. but couldn't get off the ship 'til after 10 a.m. Procedures for excursions were good. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
First, the good points. Beautiful ship, very clean, cabins excellent, wonderful theatre, buffet food excellent, destinations worth visiting again (but NOT on a cruise ship), catering, cabin and bar staff wonderful (virtually all ... Read More
First, the good points. Beautiful ship, very clean, cabins excellent, wonderful theatre, buffet food excellent, destinations worth visiting again (but NOT on a cruise ship), catering, cabin and bar staff wonderful (virtually all Indonesian, really nice people). The bad bits far outweigh the good bits and made it very difficult for us to enjoy the holiday. There were 8 of us in 4 cabins. The ship catered for 2500 people, over 50% of which were under 45 with quite a few children (despite our booking being within school term). The pool area was mobbed, with inane dance lessons from the entertainment team using a tannoy, extreme noise. As a result we never got to use the pool area. At Santorini, 3 cruise ships anchored at the same time. We spent 4 hours on the island, 2.5 of which were spent queueing for the cable car and tender to the ship. It was chaotic and quite unnerving; people can be very ill mannered when in a mass queue. Bar prices were very expensive with a mandatory 15% service charge on top of everything purchased. Excursions are expensive, average 64 per person with poor value (bus rides with a guide in the main). For every trip, people had to be coralled and queued. Management are Italian and, with some exceptions, very arrogant. On our last trip (to Venice) there was an inordinate wait on the internal stairs of 20 minutes while the tenders came to the ship. We should have been allowed to wait in the lounge. No explanation or apology was offerred. When queried on it, they still tried to justify it. Food in our allocated restaurant was very meagre and much too formal. I've eaten bigger sandwiches than ALL the main courses we were presented with. It is much more sensible to eat in the buffet, without the formality. However, use the buffet some time after it opens. A massive hungry and unruly crowd of cruisers descend on it like locusts at first opening. This is especially true at early breakfast, where cruisers are going on early excursions; not a place to be! All of the 8 people in our group feel the same and as a result would not travel on an Italian managed ship Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Well, As I said in the headline, I knew what I was going to get-- I read the brochure but more importantly, I studied the reviews. The MSC Armonia is a budget cruise, specifically for Italians, going to great ports, on a budget, budget ... Read More
Well, As I said in the headline, I knew what I was going to get-- I read the brochure but more importantly, I studied the reviews. The MSC Armonia is a budget cruise, specifically for Italians, going to great ports, on a budget, budget (how many times shall I say budget?). Embarkation: easy, fine, but Venice is a very expensive city for cabs. Ask if you really want to go from Venice. We shouldn't have- its not a city for the disabled (obviously) although don't let that put you off as an included port in an itinerary. The procedure when you get to the ship (don't ask me how to find it, the cab knew) is easy- they hand you physical tickets (why not post them out?!?), they take your luggage and you are on. From that point, if you're in a wheelchair, the fun is over. We got on up a steep ramp to deck 4. Nobody meets you there. We spent half an hour lost, in a state, pushed and shoved by rude Europeans (literally shoved), until we found our way back to reception and joined the wrong end of the line to be shown to our cabin. MSC really has no idea how to help disabled people (its not just the ramps guys). When the hell of getting on is over (and it should be simple if you walk on, honestly, very quick very nice). The cabin was fine. It's small. The shower is tiny (think motorhome), but it has all you need. We had two inside cabins (one for my parents, one for me). Yes we should definitely have booked another cruise with a disabled one available, but heck we made do. Once you relax into the ship, you'll find it a pleasant place to be. It's clean--- really clean. The staff are lovely (where did you lot get the impression otherwise? Perhaps they fired the old lot?). The drinks are affordable (very for a cruise) and if you're into listening to a pianist for hours each evening or lying by the pool all day, you're going to be ok. It's a busy ship. It's small (for my experience the bigger the better really) and after dinner there's nothing to do really. There's no interesting lectures I could find, no-where for a British lad to chill for a few hours (the club doesn't open till midnight, sorry boys I'm in bed by then). The show is ok- quite sweet, but seriously does everyone have to stand in the aisle and block the disabled view???? I'm going to stop mentioning disabled now- because this wasn't a disabled holiday, I didn't pay for one (and you need to) and the rest of our party had good legs. Now, I like meeting people from all countries- honestly I do! But you're going to get a bit of a culture shock being with 2000 Italians for the week. You know when you find your quiet spot on the ship, take your book, lie down and enjoy... that isn't going to happen. Shouting across the deck, piling up their chairs, pushing yours out the way-- a different respect for "personal space". I guess it's fine, it's not my option to say it should be any other way. Hey, they have passion and they enjoy themselves. Nobody was ever drunk, nobody directly rude, it's just not peaceful. The ports- yes, nice, but I wanted to just walk away after a few days. I didn't want to get back on. It just wasn't a cruise in my opinion. The food (in Pergola, by far the nicer of the restaurants) was fine/good. The buffet -- well you get what you pay for, but well made, no tummy probs. Plastic trays... etc. Look- it was like £400 through my agency. £800 because I didn't share my cabin as a single person. If I paid £1000, I'd be annoyed. If I paid £2000 I'd have gone for a very long swim. It comes across in the lack of personalised service (forgot a birthday, big problems with trying to just get a cake made, very slow room service one night, one beer on tap, no alternative places to eat, nothing much to do apart from sit, maybe 30 books in the library, no proper ramps, nobody just out there to make my vacation amazing)... I can't say it enough, you get what you pay for. I hear the bigger MSC ships are better. This was... it's ok... don't worry if you've booked, you won't hate it... you will have a great time if you choose to-- I just decided I never want this sort of thing again. I want to pay more, half as often and enjoy heaven for a week, not "a journey". A lot of British people held the tips back- how mean!!! Just pay up. If you want this price, but a bit more flair, more to do if you're under 50 and like something memorable-- try NCL. If you can afford it do Crystal, if its the only ever cruise you'll go on go for Cunard. And if you have a wheelchair, for goodness sake just sail from Southampton, you know it makes sense. Would I go again: No. Should you: Sure, but don't overpay for this one ok! -Oh by the way, I know I said I wouldn't bang on about wheelchairs but seriously-- not one excursion in the main ports I'm allowed on???? Alex. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
This is the current flagship of the MSC fleet, so the ship itself is great the food is good (except the undrinkable free coffee), the cabin and waiting staff are all absolutely lovely. The issue is with the administration they are ... Read More
This is the current flagship of the MSC fleet, so the ship itself is great the food is good (except the undrinkable free coffee), the cabin and waiting staff are all absolutely lovely. The issue is with the administration they are completely hopeless! The information provided pre-cruise isn't always correct ie we were told to be there at 2pm for boarding, but boarding had commenced hours before that. They don't provide anything useful to assist you in actually getting to the cruise (like there's a train from Venice) & not a mention of the 15 walk from the port entrance to the actual embarkation point, with all your luggage. We'd pre-booked tours via our agent, one of them they cancelled, but they couldn't reimburse us for it on the ship - we have to go back to our travel agent to get a refund. Another they had ceased running but as we chose another tour of greater value they could charge us the difference on the ship, but this was more accidental than planned as they'd not mentioned this before we chose the other tour. The communication around both of these was also contradictory and confusing, one letter (shoved under the cabin door) informed us of the cancellation, another just said to visit the tour desk. In addition the disembarkation process is a disaster. We had to be out of the cabin by 7.30 for a scheduled 9.30 departure. There was fog in Venice so we didn't actually reach port until 12.30. So from around 8.30 to 12.30 we were supposed to sit in our designated areas, during this time we were not offered food or drink and only 1 staff member came in for around 5 minutes to offer any information. Due to the delay there were many passengers (us included) who were close to missing ongoing flight connections, but the staff were unable or unwilling to assist in either organising internet access so flights could be re-booked, or fast tracking the affected passengers disembarkation. For those that had missed flights they couldn't even provide written evidence of the delay for claiming on travel insurance. We managed to get off the boat but were held up at the dock for 2.5hrs waiting for our luggage as they were unable to unload the luggage any faster as it had to be done according to their list (so this must be the normal disembarkation waiting time), even though the luggage was visibly on the dockside on luggage trolleys. Given that our luggage was around half way through their list, the passengers with luggage at the end of the list probably waited 4 hours for their luggage to be available. We couldn't recommend this cruiseline after the terrible disembarkation process, which is a shame as many other features are very good. They are totally unable to cope with any problems, issues that may arise such as the late docking or changes to tours (even when they make the changes). Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Unfortunately, we decided to go cruising with MSC this year and that was BIG mistake. Be prepared for awful service if you book MSC Armonia. We choose this cruise because of destinations (Santorini, Kefalonia, Montenegro) and the ... Read More
Unfortunately, we decided to go cruising with MSC this year and that was BIG mistake. Be prepared for awful service if you book MSC Armonia. We choose this cruise because of destinations (Santorini, Kefalonia, Montenegro) and the places were perfect, but we have only 4-5 hours for visiting those beautiful places in every port . The drinks are not included in the cabin price so everything including water you should pay additional for it and the prices are extremely high. We travelled with two kids (twins) 3 years old, and we use for the first and last time kids club. They separate our kids, one of them was in the theatre and one of them they left it in the club crying for his brother for over 30 min. Very very bad ,incompetent service. The only bright spot on that cruise were places we visit. The Kotor in Montenegro was stunning and Kefalonia and Santorini also worth visit. Ancona - rating 5 of 10 Corfu - rating 6 of 10 Santorini - rating 8 of 10 Athens - rating 4 of 10 Argostoli - rating 8 of 10 Kotor - rating 10 of 10 Anyway I will never again use this company. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Fortunately we were not alone but with friends so all the problems became a way to laugh and have fun. Captain and officials hid for the entire cruise, we saw the captain once because we were forced to take a picture with him before ... Read More
Fortunately we were not alone but with friends so all the problems became a way to laugh and have fun. Captain and officials hid for the entire cruise, we saw the captain once because we were forced to take a picture with him before entering the theater so they could sell the picture at 20 Euro each. The captain did not even present the ship, which is a modern jewel, it would have been nice to know all the feature and the advanced technology of the ship. The crew is divided in 2 categories: 1- don't care (officials and most of the Italian crew) 2- we do care but can't (all the foreigner) It seemed like when you go to a public government Italian office, they don't care and they treat you like you are there to give them trouble (work). You can read this in their faces and from the answers you get. Examples -(me): excuse me, it is 3 days I have my telephone not working, last night a crew member came fixing the answer machine but the telephone is still malfunctioning -(receptionist): if the telephone is not working how come you are calling me? -me+my wife: excuse me we would like a table for 4 waiter: where are the other 2? (me)they are coming... (waiter): you must come all together otherwise no table. (me): hello, I would like to speak with the guest service manager (receptionist): you can talk to me (me): well I would prefer to speak with him please (receptionist): I don't understand why you don't speak to me, it is the same (me): there are few things I need to share with him, not related to a single incident, so it is important for me to talk to him (receptionist): I do not understand but if you want to speak with him let me see if he is available... to make the story short, waited 30 minutes and then I got an appointment for 2 hours later... I have many other examples like this, but let's talk about food: -self service opened only 12:30-14:30, if you come back from an excursion at 2pm then you need to fight with other 1000 people to eat, because at 14:30 precise the self service close down! I have never seen so much food waisted, being afraid to not be able to pick the food on time, guests would fill up multiple plates as soon as they could. Tea time 16:30-17:00, if even 30% of the people want a tea imagine the mess! Quality of the food: mediocre, for an italian vessel this is a shame Funny part: as an American you get a bottled water free (1 x day) all the other nationalities have to pay. Does it mean that not Americans do not complain? Probably yes,but the other reason is that most of the ship was filled with Italians who are used to be treated poorly and generally do not complain. Another good news: kid up to 16 are FREE! Guess where they were? Everywere! Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
After reading all the reviews for the Magnifica i was very optimistic, but open minded. Unfortunately most of the bad reviews were correct. You must make sure that you have transfers included otherwise you could get ripped off with a taxi ... Read More
After reading all the reviews for the Magnifica i was very optimistic, but open minded. Unfortunately most of the bad reviews were correct. You must make sure that you have transfers included otherwise you could get ripped off with a taxi fare for 50 euros. The embarkment was smooth, the staff showed us to our cabin, cases came later. the cabin was very clean and a nice balcony. Our first dinner experience was ok. we sat with 3 other couples which was fine. The food was alright, presentation should have been better, the only decent meals we had in the restaurant was on the 2 gal nights so food in restaurant was dissappointing. The food in the buffet was the same every day thats breakfast and lunch, the ship itself was lovely, entertainment same every night and not much of it. The ship is italian run so therefore the italians take first place and english last place. Kids go free with MSC and yes there was quite a few, pools there are 2 but for that size of the ship there should have been a lot more as you can imagine very over crowded. Excursions were terribly expensive so we did not do any, MSC just want your money, we took the All Inc package thinking no gratuities, no we had a bill for 100 euros at the end they took 7 euros each every day. Would we sail with MSC again no we would not. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
The boat in itself was fine - it was very clean, which we really appreciated! And the ports were lovely. However, some things to consider before you go -If you are allergic - the boat is for smokers. Even had a smoker put his ashes in my ... Read More
The boat in itself was fine - it was very clean, which we really appreciated! And the ports were lovely. However, some things to consider before you go -If you are allergic - the boat is for smokers. Even had a smoker put his ashes in my coffee while on the sun deck reading a book.The boat does not have a good internet connection. It is hugely expensive and normally does not work. Same goes for cell phones. You are mostly out of reach for the time you are on the cruise. There is a huge push to buy - drinks, jewelry, attractions etc. The prices are high. All ports are centrally located and there are taxis, rental cars and public transportation right outside the port. Do not get tricked into taking the MSC's buses into town. In Dubrovnik we paid 15 euros per person for transportation to and from the old city. A cab would have been 20 euros to and from for 4 persons!Read up on fees and prices before you go. There is nothing like a free ride on this boat. And do not get tricked into buying coupons, unless you know you will use them. They push them first day and never ask for them again. Our very modest bill - from one coffee, one soft drink and the occational drink/glass of wine AND MSC fees (you pay both 15% gratuity and service fee) was 1000 euros! For breakfast, I recommend the restaurant. Quiet and no lines. The menu has most of what is offered upstairs in the buffet.BUT - We had an issue where the waiter picked the wrong wine for us at dinner. We did not realize as the name was practically the same as what we ordered. When it was discovered, we were asked to pay the extra bill. As it was not our fault, we declined and would only pay for what we ordered, as this was a good wine in our book and stretching it for our budget. This issue caused discussions three days in a row, as the bill had the added amount every day. When we brought this up with the head of the restaurant and asked to have it removed - he was very unprofessional and arrogant and would not listen to reason. So much that we had to take this to the management of the boat. Very disturbing!SomThe inside cabins are sold very cheap. A find for people with little money - but to much disturbance for those who pay extra to go on a luxury cruise. There are some, unfortunately, that have no manners, sneak in lines and smoke everywhere. It felt like we were on a charter trip. Something we try to avoid.If you are bringing kids, please consider smoking passengers everywhere, no extra room in the suite even though you have extra paying passengers, outside pool is not heated. There are kid areas which are nice at the boat, if your kids are 7 and below.We read up on the reviews before leaving and knew of most of the complaints, but I still have to say I was disappointed in the way this was run. It was just not professionally run. The waiters/staff was polite and nice - but not trained. We had dinner served at different times. the wine came after we were done eating. They did not make one drink correctly and they had no information about the port - except for their own trips. My recommendation to MSC is to go to Disney and see how it is done. I'd rather save 4 years to do a real cruise - than to pay "kind of a lot" for this and get hugely disappointed another time. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
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