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149 MSC Cruises Europe - Eastern Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

Readers should know that this review is by a woman of a certain age who is not particularly interested in sun bathing, gambling, drinking or dancing. The ship offered all these activities and that could make a difference. There were many ... Read More
Readers should know that this review is by a woman of a certain age who is not particularly interested in sun bathing, gambling, drinking or dancing. The ship offered all these activities and that could make a difference. There were many good things about our trip and all we did was concentrate on them. One of the important considerations, was that this Cruise was going to Ports of Call we wanted to see. I personally would not take another trip on MSC, nor recommend it to friends my age. ( I would search for the cruise with the historic lecture the night before we saw a site, if such a cruise exists.) However, MSC would be a wonderful choice for families, or young couples ...especially adventuresome ones. We never met another American on board. The ship was gorgeous and beautifully maintained. Our stateroom was designed by a genius because it didn't feel small and there was a place for everything. The staff was friendly and hard working but they should be compared to a hotel staff, not the staff of a smaller cruise ship. For example, one hardly knew who cleaned the stateroom. It was kept immaculate, but we never saw the person. The 7 Euro service charge was very reasonable considering 1500 people were working for us. We left our dining room waiter and stateroom cleaner a little more. Food was good, (once in a while, great) plentiful, beautifully presented and incredibly varied. I should mention for the record that sometimes (only sometimes) it was difficult to find seating in the buffet area and so it was necessary to share tables. Actually this was interesting, but folks should be prepared. The overall noise level was high. It could be high in the dining room and buffet. At the pool there was an MC shouting into a mike most of the time. We were ok with the loud noise level and crowdedness because we could retreat to our balcony at the other end of the ship. Without the balcony to retreat to it would have not been such a great trip. There were no quiet shaded spots at the pool. Indeed, it was difficult to find a spot at all sometimes. But many people were having a wonderful time. If the pool and laying in the sun were more of a priority, I could have gotten there earlier perhaps. We bought ship's excursions for Ephesus and Olympia because those sites were a distance from the port. We did Istanbul and Dubrovnik and Venice easily ourselves, with help from Rich Steve's Ports of the Mediterranean book. This book was extremely helpful to us. MSC's port stops are not very long and without knowing where to go or what to do one would lose out or have to go with an excursion group. Steve's suggestions and instructions helped us do it ourselves, much better and cheaper than the excursions. The book also made us feel more comfortable with what to expect of ship life. On our day at sea we took the tour of the ship which I found very interesting. It was fascinating to me to see how a floating hotel of 4500 guests operates. (No engine room or bridge access though.) Overall, my favorite thing was just traveling by ship and seeing the ports of Venice, Dubrovnik and Istanbul from our balcony as we approached and left.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
We just came back from our cruise with MSC Preziosa. It was our second cruise with MSC and also our second cruise all together. We selected this cruise mainly for the nice itinerary and for the competitive price compared to other cruise ... Read More
We just came back from our cruise with MSC Preziosa. It was our second cruise with MSC and also our second cruise all together. We selected this cruise mainly for the nice itinerary and for the competitive price compared to other cruise ships/companies. The travelling company consisted of me, my girlfriend and another couple, in other words no children. First of all I like to say that the ship is beautiful and absolutely spotless both on the inside and on the outside. The cabins are spacious and clean. Nothing to complain about here. The food in the buffet is nothing that you would write home about but it is at least of a decent standard. The buffet is however badly overcrowded and you will sometimes struggle with finding a table. After a couple of days we found out that you could eat both breakfast and lunch in the main dining restaurants with table service. This was a much nicer and quieter experience that we certainly would recommend. The food in the main dining restaurants during the evenings is ok but not more. Also the portions are quite small so do not except to get full on just one or two dishes. The service throughout the ship varies a lot depending on type of service and crew member. Generally the service at the bars where quite slow and some of the bartenders would sometimes just ignore you. The waiters in the dining areas where generally quick and efficient although perhaps not overfriendly. However I think this was mainly due the high workload. We are a bit disappointed with the housekeeping. Perhaps we are biased by our last cruise with MSC where the housekeeping was something out of this world. This time all they did was making up our bed and changing our towels. However the other couple we were travelling with had I much higher level of housekeeping, so it obviously depends on the person doing the housekeeping. The itineraries where great with Istanbul and Dubrovnik being the absolute highlights. We only did one excursion with MCS as they were quite expensive and we felt that we could do the same thing by our self. We are however satisfied with the excursion we took (to Olympia) with MSC. Both the guide and the transfer were good. The entertainment in the main theater was good although it was pretty much the same each night, but with a different theme. One or two shows are enough I think. We did not listen or take part in any other entertainment activities so I cannot say anything about that. Although there are many nationalities cruising with this ship, by far the most dominate nationality on the ship is Italian. This means, good or bad, that the atmosphere will be noisy to say the least. As a Northern European I am not use to this and personally I find it quite annoying when I can’t even hear myself think. There are quieter places on board but expect the pool areas and some of the bars to be really noisy. The embarkation procedure was long, confusing and inefficient but not as terrible as previous reviews hints about. The disembarkation procedure however was really, really smooth. After reading a couple of other reviews we were a bit worried about missing our flight home. We ended up waiting at the airport for more than three hours.  Judging from the above one might think that our cruising experience was a bad one. This is not true and we generally liked it. I think MSC offers a good but not great cruising experience for a really great price. If you like an even better service you will simply and as always have to pay more.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
As the title says the ship is beautiful and amazing in its features and presentation. Underneath the woodwork though there were cracks. Negatives first as there aren't many, the buffet is like a rugby pitch at peak times, try and get ... Read More
As the title says the ship is beautiful and amazing in its features and presentation. Underneath the woodwork though there were cracks. Negatives first as there aren't many, the buffet is like a rugby pitch at peak times, try and get there early if you can as people will just walk into you and knock your plate out of your hands! There is a big choice of food in the buffet but it's nothing special, pizza, burger and chips, some roast meats at dinner time. As I mentioned above, some of the staff were so rude I was gobsmacked, the bar staff and the waitresses do not like serving you, because you pay your service charge on your bill they do not have to earn them so therefore they feel they don't have to put any effort in. Moan over, the rest of the ship and staff were brilliant! Especially in the restaurants the staff are very friendly and chatty, all staff wear name badges with their name and which country they're from, which is a good conversation starter. We were served all week by Alex in the L'arabesque restaurant, he was great, nothing was too much. He was from Honduras. The food in the restaurant is some of the best I have ever tasted, also our table was by the window which looked out of the rear of the ship. We had an inside cabin 10257, on deck 10 near the back of the ship. It was kept very clean and tidy by Antonio. The room was big enough for 4 of us, 2 adults and 2 teenage children. 2 single beds were pushed together to make a double and 2 bunk beds were pulled down from the ceiling for the kids. There was a TV that showed various programs in all languages and also shows cctv of the pools and the bridge cam so you can see where you're heading. There was a shower, wash basin and toilet in a good size space. No tea/coffee making facilities though. The bars and lounges had a very relaxed atmosphere, there were a few singers and dancers, including dance lessons in the safari lounge, but it wasn't what I expected, apart from the shows in the platinum theatre there wasn't much for us really. There were 4 pools, 1 was yacht club only so we didn't see that one, 2 outdoor pools and one with a retractable roof, the best is the garden pool at the back of the ship. Lots of fuss about disembarkation on here, we didn't have a problem, we were given colour coded luggage tags which gave you a time and a place to meet so not everyone got off at the same time and place. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
I am now back from my Msc Fantasia cruise to the Eastern Med in May & am happy to file this review.. Would I book with MSC again - yes. I did have some initial concerns before booking after reading several reviews but these were ... Read More
I am now back from my Msc Fantasia cruise to the Eastern Med in May & am happy to file this review.. Would I book with MSC again - yes. I did have some initial concerns before booking after reading several reviews but these were unfounded. I can confess I am not a cruise snob & I'm not the sort to look for things to complain about.. My only real negative is the smoking in the casino filtered up to the bar above. I felt sorry for the girl trying to sing as she was struggling & had to stop & have water. It's designed also so you pretty much need to walk through the casino to get to the show lounge. - I just held my breath as I walked through. The ship is very beautiful & clean & the bed was super comfy( important to me!!) yes it's a big ship & the pool areas & sunlounges do get busy which is where I was glad to have a balcony in our cabin on occasions. But having said that there were times where you woud think ... Where is everybody. Again, I was worried I would have a neighbour smoking in the cabin next door but we were lucky. They say no smoking on the balcony but not in the room. So it's the luck of the drawer if the person in the cabin before you has been smoking. The shows had good singers although the sets didn't vary & it was here that we noticed the language differences as the announcements had to be done in lots of languages. & also because of the different languages the show variety was a bit limited ie no comedians or anything that required dialogue, although the songs are in English. We enjoyed our dining on the ship, mainly having a buffet for lunch if we were on the ship & dinner in the main sit down dining room. I would advise though that late sitting is exactly that... Late! It was 9pm sitting so made for quite a late meal every night. We had been told by msc to our travel agent that it was going to be 8.30 pm which would have been much better. We were sat with other Aussies & enjoyed their company for the week but there is no swapping around times or tables in the main dining room if you had met other people you wished to join. The food was always very nice & a pretty good variety in both the buffet & the main dining. The staff of course are excellent. Very obliging & friendly. A couple of mornings we chose the option of having complimentary continental room service for breakfast which was basic but nice to sit on the balcony & eat before rushing off for a busy day of sightseeing. The drinks package we had decided to take (agrissimo ? Package ) ended up good value for us. It included cocktails, a couple of different wines, beer, spirits incl sambuca that we had each night after dinner, coffee & gelato. So, if you like a cocktail or 2 each day, some wine with dinner, a spirit maybe after & coffee it is worthwhile. If you only like 1 glass wine with dinner & a coffee or 2 through the day - I wouldn't bother. You do pay Tax on your drinks on board though & by pre booking the package before leaving Sydney, we didn't have tax added onto this package when we paid the bill on the ship at the end. Shore excursions- booked through the ship. Very well organised & I consider reasonable value for the ones we did.- Bari- Alberobello to see the trulli houses & charming village ( too far to travel independently & to risk not getting back in time) Santorini- the variety of places visited & quick to get off the ship on a tender made this worthwhile ( for a 1st visit here I think this is a good way to go. Next time I know what's what & may do own thing) it's devine!!! Corfu - Panoramic sights across to Palaiokastritsa bay where we had the opportunity for about 10 euro extra to go with a local in his boat for a ride around the bay & visit to little grottos- oh the colour of the water!! Again too far to go independently & a real highlight!! The other ports... Katakolon, Athens & Dubrovnik we did separately. Embarkation was slightly delayed due to the ship arriving back later, disembarkation was very quick. Our allocated time was an issue initially due to connecting flights but we were quickly down to the pursers desk to explain & this was rectified. Overall the staff were obliging especially the wonderful cabin attendants. Probably my only real negative other than a couple little things mentioned above was the short time in port at Dubrovnik. We were aware of this when we booked & it was the reason we were considering other cruise companies, however, none fitted into our schedule. I truly would have preferred to pay an extra $100 head to have a full day here in port. I'm sure it's kept to a minimum time due to port costs but it is so so beautiful it just wasn't enough time. It's about a 15min cab ride to near the old walls from where the ship docks & so by time you get there then get back its even shorter. We then cruised back to Venice at a snails pace. So if its a destination that you really want to see well - it really is just a taste ... I know I want to go back!!!! Oh by the way our cabin no we had was 11201 which I would recommend. No noises, no tender boats blocking the view, good location to get to things & it was about 3 back from where the ship comes out on the side so it seemed a bit protected from the wind on our balcony( like it had a wind barrier) - this did impede the view to look forward towards the front of the ship but I don't think this was a problem. The balcony door can be pushed across wide to stay open which was pleasant & the seas for us were so calm that you forgot you were on a ship. I would do another MSC cruise without hesitation & the eastern Med is gorgeous!!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
I chose this cruise primarily for the itinerary..but also because of the ship, and certainly regarding those, i was not disappointed...however once on board, i became disappointed with what felt like flying with a low fares airline...for ... Read More
I chose this cruise primarily for the itinerary..but also because of the ship, and certainly regarding those, i was not disappointed...however once on board, i became disappointed with what felt like flying with a low fares airline...for example..silly things like "you want to go to deck 18...thats 10 euros each please"--"you want water with your dinner---thats 2 euros 99 please" etc etc---ok its not breaking the bank, but made the overall feel of things quite tacky. The staff in the buffet are exhausted, irritable, and god help you if you accidentally get in their way...most of the time there is not much food left, lots of it is taken by Msc crew who push past you and fill their own plates, and you the paying passenger can have whats left, the breakfast resembles a scene from Hunger Games where you have to fight to first of all find a clean plate....then fight for what food is left..then spend half an hour going around trying to find a seat..think im exaggerating? Try it . Disembarkation is a nightmare...we explained that we had a flight to catch and need to leave the boat as quicklly as possible...they agreed that 0945 we would be met in a lounge and escorted off the boat...at 1020 we were still waiting..so decided to leave the boat ourselves..we were told that we could..but were told they had no idea where our bag was...we eventually found it..and thankfully made our flight. All in all, it was a mixed experience...i dont know why we had to pay 7 euros a day service charge, as their is no service..the crew hate passengers..and you are just a nuisance..i understand spanish and italian..so i understood every word that was said on board..unfortunately. I would have told them this at customer services on the last day, but the queue of people complaining was across the room.....try it..maybe i was just unlucky...but expect nothing..then you wont be disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
I had a family trip to east Mediterranean on end of Apr- beginning of May. I think it was the best timing to travel Mediterranean. Not too hot, not too cold. Ports we visited are all beautiful. Venice, Corfu, Bari, Santorini, Dubrovnik, ... Read More
I had a family trip to east Mediterranean on end of Apr- beginning of May. I think it was the best timing to travel Mediterranean. Not too hot, not too cold. Ports we visited are all beautiful. Venice, Corfu, Bari, Santorini, Dubrovnik, Katakolon, Piraeus. The course was just good. I specially love the beautiful scenery of Corfu and castle of Dubrovnik. Santorini was also good as my family (specially women) expected. Foods in Fantasia was bit salty, but still ok. I was bit worried about foods for parents, because they are old over 70 and never been out from Asia. But they all enjoyed foods during the cruise period. The only point I don't like on Fantasia was entertainments/shows. It was bit boring. It should be improved a lot.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
The Splendida was a beautiful ship when we got on we was really impressed.. But don't go on for the food it was horrible. I ate a lot of bread and water.. We didn't try the Tex Mex we was afraid of paying for the same food.. The ... Read More
The Splendida was a beautiful ship when we got on we was really impressed.. But don't go on for the food it was horrible. I ate a lot of bread and water.. We didn't try the Tex Mex we was afraid of paying for the same food.. The sports bar only opens at night. The smoking was awful in the casino too... The people working in the tour office was not very informative either. And we had pre booked 3 tours and 2 of them was canceled and they didn't even tell us.. And when you ask someone a question you get all different answers.. The shows was really good. I didn't see them show any movies out by the pool, all advertisements. The cabin was pretty and good sized and the stewardess was great.. One thing bad is they let people on and off at every port, so that makes things confusing also.. The ship was beautiful that's all I can say for it.. We are going to try the Divina in September, if that is bad we will not be going on any more MSC.... Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
Overall, the MSC Divina is an enjoyable ship. The ship is simply the most elegant ship we've been on, but service is where MSC seems to be lacking. The ship needs more open deck space, especially at the buffet area. There was never ... Read More
Overall, the MSC Divina is an enjoyable ship. The ship is simply the most elegant ship we've been on, but service is where MSC seems to be lacking. The ship needs more open deck space, especially at the buffet area. There was never anyplace to sit during breakfast/lunch. I'd never experienced this problem on Carnival and we were on a full ship on the Breeze in the Med last fall, so I'm pretty sure it's related to ship design or perhaps due to the fact that Europeans don't eat and clear a table as quickly as an American audience and this causes backlog in table availability. Embarkation in Venice was about on par with other embarkations we've done. Getting so many people on a ship just takes a lot of time. The ports (Bari, Katakolon, Izmir, Istanbul, and Dubrovnik) were all great destinations with something to do at every one. It's nice that the more low key Bari and Dubrovnik ports bookend the more hectic activities that are available at Katakolon, Izmir, and Istanbul. The only problem I have with the itinerary was the fact that the port times were rather short (ex. only 5 hours in Dubrovnik). I'd have rather lost a port day in Bari in exchange for longer port times in Katakolon or Istanbul. MSC excursions are well run and enjoyable if you're willing to pay for the most expensive ones. Disembarkation is a little irritating because they want you to vacate your cabin at 0700, which seems early since they don't start unloading passengers/baggage until 0830 at the earliest. Overall, a great cruise as far as the ship, cabin, and itinerary are concerned. Now, the problem that we had on the Divina centered around the service. We are Americans living in Europe, so we are used to the less personal service provided at dinner. You can expect the dinner service on the Divina to be very impersonal. We felt like the server was just there to do a job, which I guess he is, but we missed the connection that we had with our servers on previous cruises on different lines. This extended to the cabin steward and other servers as well. I realize service is a very personal thing, but we were fairly put off by the lack of service above and beyond the expectation. The major issues on our cruise that would make us choose to not sail MSC again center around the Mini Club (Kids center) and the poor dinner service. We had quite a bit of trouble just getting the proper dishes that we ordered on the cruise and were often rushed to order our entire meal mere minutes (five at most) after being given the menu. It felt like a crap shoot as to whether we would receive what we ordered or not. The Mini Club was terrible. We had booked excursions based on the availability of the Mini Club to watch our 3 year old son during the one port day in Istanbul. The MSC website is clear that Mini Club only accepts children 3 and over, and is available for port excursion days. What they neglect to inform you of is the fact that your child must be fully potty trained in order to participate and they refuse to assist in any way. So, we were forced to purchase an excursion ticket for him onboard for the full day trip in Istanbul as they wouldn't refund our excursion that we had already purchased. Now, I understand that policies are what they are and the reasoning behind the policy (molestation liability, etc.) but I would have greatly appreciated MSC explaining the entire policy on their website up front so we could have planned accordingly. Additionally, when we did take him and our daughter to the Mini Club on the sea day, they weren't welcoming to our son (he cried out of apprehension in the new environment and they chose to simply ignore him) and the staff neglected to explain directions to our daughter in English, even after asking to be spoken to in English (a language they support, by the way). So, our son didn't participate at all and our daughter was not interested in returning after the two hours she spent there. I would definitely state the Carnival's Camp Carnival is much better because they will assist with bathroom visits and actually try to welcome the child. Unless your child speaks Italian, they may not do well in MSC Mini Club. Conclusion-Great ship and itinerary. Thoroughly enjoyed most parts of the cruise, but the lack of quality service at dinner and the Mini Club would make us choose another line in the future. If you don't have kids, I would definitely recommend. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
We sailed on the Divina a few weeks ago. The ship is beautiful and huge. We have sailed with Holland Amer, RCL, Celebrity,and NCL but not MSC before. A few things we noticed: People smoke everywhere. Not used to that in North America. Very ... Read More
We sailed on the Divina a few weeks ago. The ship is beautiful and huge. We have sailed with Holland Amer, RCL, Celebrity,and NCL but not MSC before. A few things we noticed: People smoke everywhere. Not used to that in North America. Very few english speaking passengers so a very multicultural experience which we quite enjoyed. Embarkation was chaotic and took much longer than it should have. The cafeteria was always crazy busy so we ate in the dining room almost every meal. Because you are in port for such a short time, we always had time to eat there. The food was very good and we found the service to be very good. Our cabin was fine, as spacious as expected and very clean. The evening shows were very good particularly the can can, pirate, opera, and Michael Jackson. We were surprised by how much we enjoyed them. The reason for the cruise was the ports of call for us. Bari was fine, a nice walk about and a little shopping. Interesting to see the tomb of St Nicholas. Katakalon was our gateway to Olympia and we enjoyed it. Izmir allowed us to see Ephesus and that was amazing. Istanbul was fantastic. Wish we had a week to spend there. We also loved Dubrovnik. Could easily go back there. We did not book any tours with the ship, we did them on our own, prebooking private tours that were very convenient and less expensive. It was a very nice cruise for a very reasonable price. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
The MSC Lirica is a beautiful ship, very quiet in it's running, but also without the creaks and groans of other ships we have travelled on. The itinerary was attractive, going to places we hadn't visited before, and overall, we ... Read More
The MSC Lirica is a beautiful ship, very quiet in it's running, but also without the creaks and groans of other ships we have travelled on. The itinerary was attractive, going to places we hadn't visited before, and overall, we enjoyed the ship and the cruise, but there were a few things that could have been better. We visited, Haifa, Zakynthos, Genoa, Civitavecchia, Messina and Marmaris. We agreed with many reviewers for this ship, that the food in the buffet is never warm, and if you don't want stone cold sausages/bacon/eggs/toast for breakfast, then the fresh fruit would be a good option! The staff were pleasant, polite and hard working. They were well supervised, and no slack was tolerated! Excursions were exceptionally well organised, and getting people off the ship and on coaches is to be especially commended. We can't say the same of the excursions, but the ship's staff did a good job. Similarly, tendering also was well organised, with no one waiting in long queues. If you want luxury, then take your own toiletries! There was not a lot provided in the cabin - tissues, body wash and shampoo. No ear buds, body lotion etc. however, although the cabins were small, they were very nice and quite well noise insulated. No noise from the next cabins toilet flushing! Plenty of cupboard and drawer space, with a hidden safe and fridge. If you want a quiet relaxing cruise, there were places on the ship you could go and get the peace and quiet, but generally the open deck areas, were crowded and very noisy. There were a lot of family groups on board who liked to party, and thoroughly enjoyed themselves! I would cruise with this company again, but it would depend on a great itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
If this is your first cruise. You will love it but don't expect to find many people to talk to. I only saw one other American family. Most people speak English but choose not to converse. (I tried) As a seasoned cruiser of American ... Read More
If this is your first cruise. You will love it but don't expect to find many people to talk to. I only saw one other American family. Most people speak English but choose not to converse. (I tried) As a seasoned cruiser of American lines, I have had better. The ship is beautiful. The food was terrible. I did find enough to eat but I have had far better food on Carnival. I did enjoy the variety of fresh fruit on at the buffet. I did not find the beverage package worth the money. The drinks available were scant and of low quality. As an American, you get free water anyway. The coffee is terrible for an American. I would not do that again. The entertainment was fair at best. I missed all the little things that American cruise lines to do that make good, great. I think our expectations are higher. Thought that I'd rather do a European cruise with Europeans but would not do that again. (We visit regularly) I was able to get internet in my cabin, for 19.99 euros/hour. I loved my balcony. It was not long enough for a lounge chair. It was all about the views for me. The bathroom was a good size with shower. The room was very comfortable with a couch, desk and king sized bed. We had plenty of storage. Drawers in the closet; area to hang clothes and able to store suit cases under the bed. We used the laundry service and it was good. You get things back the next day and can give instructions. This cruise started in Venice. The cruise terminal in Venice is not easy to access. We stayed 4 nights in Venice first. It was perfect. We were too tired after the cruise to enjoy it. Don't try to do a quick look at Venice the day before or after. Venice needs some time and away from the crowds. You will be disappointed if you just try to see the tourist sites in a quick day. The other ports on the itinerary were fabulous. I did book all private tours at most ports and it was well worth it. Usually cheaper and able to change the agenda to my liking (like go to restaurants or different stops) and not crowds or tour buses. Trip advisor has guides or taxis recommended by others. The ports I decided to do on my own were lacking and if I did this again I would book tours for them too. (Bari and Dubrovnik) Bari was easy to access. You have to pay for a shuttle into town where it is easy to get lost but also easy to get found again. Loved walking the old streets and seeing the THE BASILICA OF ST NICHOLAS. I loved all the Greek Isles and highly recommend this agenda. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
We sailed from Venice in September for a week on the MSC Armonia. We were kept waiting at the airport for a while until other flights arrived then we were bussed to the ship. Check in was a bit slap dash with the left hand not knowing what ... Read More
We sailed from Venice in September for a week on the MSC Armonia. We were kept waiting at the airport for a while until other flights arrived then we were bussed to the ship. Check in was a bit slap dash with the left hand not knowing what the right one was doing. We got onto the ship and there were staff members at every corridor to show us to our cabin which was fine for our needs. This is one of the cleanest ships I have been on with lots of mirrors every one shining which is more than could be said for the outside of the windows of the cabins and public areas, all of which were filthy. The food was average unless you do not like tomato and being Italian there was plenty of that. We shared a dining room table with a couple from Manchester and the lady had the same surname as us. Not sure if that was just chance or nice planning by MSC. The bar service is the worst I have ever seen on any ship I have been on ,including North Sea and cross channel ferry's. Most of the bar staff are young and lack proper training. They are badly supervised and poorly managed and lack focus and when the bar gets busy, they panic. It was my birthday during the cruise and I got a card from the ship, so nice touch there. We were told at the end of the cruise that the ship could not moor at the terminal and we would be bussed but we did moor at the terminal. Disembarking was colour coded but they stopped using the tannoy to call the colours and this led to a shambles, We got our luggage and were herded into a car park for about a hour with coaches ,trucks and taxis dodging round people, no shelter from the sun and not very safe. We were under the care of 3 young girls who had not got a clue what was going on or what coach people were supposed to get onto. If I was to compare MSC cruises to a supermarket it would come in about the level of LIDL. I would use them again in the hope they get better organized and provide better staff training. We booked with cruise.co.uk and I must compliment Anne who dealt with us for the smashing service she gave us. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
My husband and I are just back off the MSC Divina Eastern Med cruise. We had read all the reviews before we left but our experience was nothing bad like the reviews. We travelled without our kids so the family areas we didn't venture ... Read More
My husband and I are just back off the MSC Divina Eastern Med cruise. We had read all the reviews before we left but our experience was nothing bad like the reviews. We travelled without our kids so the family areas we didn't venture into at all. The boat is magnificence and we had a lovely balcony room on deck 12. The way the boat is done is amazing - every light fixtures on the boat is a statement piece. We loved every minute of our cruise. The staff were very helpful and the boat from top to bottom (at ALL times) was immaculate. I don't know how they kept every single area so spotless. We opted for dinner on a table of 8 and we were very lucky and had a super table. We never laughed so much and we all became good friends. We ate in the Tex Mex one night and the food was delicious. The food in the Villa Rosa was very hit and miss which was a disappointment but we found the buffet superb. We did the excursions ourselves and we didn't get out in Bari or Izmir (nothing there and a waste of a stop). The absolute highlights are Istanbul and Dubrovnik. We got up at 6:30am the morning we came into Istanbul and watched the sun rising from our balcony and the Mosques were all shimmering - its a sight we will remember forever - magic!! Dubrovnik - the boat was delayed so we only had 4 hours there and we hopped in a taxi from port and paid him 60 to bring us around the sites for 1.5hrs (well worth the money). He brought us to amazing view points and a gorgeous sleepy fishing village called Hilini and then he dropped us off at the walled city to walk around. This place is magical and will definitely return to explore it further. Highlights of the Cruise - the boat is stunning; room was fabulous, spotlessly clean everywhere; staff were great and always there to offer waiter service; entertainment is great; drinks package is great (cocktails are heaven) Negatives of the Cruise - Bari and Izmir should be taken off and give double the time in Istanbul & Dubrovnik. Its very disappointing to have so little time. We cruise the Med with Celebrity Cruises before and the stops were much longer (7am-10pm in Santorini for eg). The food was far superior on Celebrity but the gluttony on this boat was vile with obese Americans eating like pigs. As MSC is an Italian company a lot of people were Italian and German. Not too many English speaking (which was fine with us) but I never saw the gluttony on MSC like on Celebrity. I thought the ship was much nicer on MSC and very swanky with stunning swaroksi staircases and lifts. I would highly recommend MSC Divina. My advice is that you make your own Cruise. Don't get hassled by people pushing or being rude (nothing any Cruise ship can do about that). Enjoy your surrounds and where the boat is travelling you to and from. The scenery is amazing. There was great fun on the boat. There is something for everyone on the boat of all ages. The three opera ladies playing in the reception was beautiful. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
The Lirica itself is a fine ship. The destinations were particularly interesting for us (Limassol-Haifa-Zakynthos-Genova-Rome-Messina-Marmaris),but the big plus was that we could embark from our home port Limassol which saves you the ... Read More
The Lirica itself is a fine ship. The destinations were particularly interesting for us (Limassol-Haifa-Zakynthos-Genova-Rome-Messina-Marmaris),but the big plus was that we could embark from our home port Limassol which saves you the hustle of airports/transfers/hotels. This is a good embarkation policy of MSC which allowed passengers to embark/disembark at all ports of call. Our cabin was adequate except for the shower area which was designed for Extra Slim People! The cabin cleanliness was excellent UNLIKE the public areas which were left dirty mainly due to lack of adequate supervision.(The lift buttons inside and out were sticky on all floors throughout the cruise!). The smoking policy is very reasonable respecting the rights of both smokers and non smokers alike. On board entertainment/shops was average. What was very disappointing was the QUALITY of food! Although the choice was good everything tasted the same mainly (I suspect) due to the use of inferior ingredients. The desserts were appalling!! However the pizzas and soups were absolutely wonderful! The service was below average and the passengers were left to fend for themselves. On board organisation of excursions lacked the required care and attention. The on land excursions were however well executed and of good value. All in all we enjoyed ourselves although it felt that we were cruising on a budget ship....like flying with easyjet or raynair!! No frills no pampering! At the end of the day you realise that you get what you paid for. Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
We have just returned from a week long cruise on Armonia from Venice to Ancona,Dubrovnik,Corfu, Gythion, kefalonia & Kotor. We booked direct and had seen reviews of the ship so knew what to expect. flights were booked as part of the ... Read More
We have just returned from a week long cruise on Armonia from Venice to Ancona,Dubrovnik,Corfu, Gythion, kefalonia & Kotor. We booked direct and had seen reviews of the ship so knew what to expect. flights were booked as part of the package and were with BA from Gatwick. Transfer was included but lacked information from MSC staff on arrival. It was a bare minimum welcome. A bit more info on check in/embarkation would of been helpful. Arrived after short transfer at Venice port, off loaded from coach, dropped luggage then directed to cruise terminal for chaotic check-in. Despite having done the on line check-in we queued for approx an hour in a hot stuffy terminal building with what felt liked a thousand other cruisers. There were just five desks checking-in all guests then there were more queues if you wanted to embark the ship. We opted to go into Venice. We had three hours so concentrated on St Mark's square and grand canal. Easy to find monorail gets you to water busses on Grand Canal. Water bus was expensive 15 euros per adult return on number 2 line to St Marks square. Water bus is a great way to see the grand canal. Be aware the time it takes to get on the water bus back from St Marks Square. So many tourists! Absolutely crammed but a great experience if you take it in your stride. This is your first lesson to think like an Italian! Embarkation was straightforward and we had our first of many photos taken as we stepped on board. Cabin was good, plenty of space for three and lots of storage. Very clean and In good condition. Bags took a while to arrive so a bit rushed before dinner. We had first sitting at 18.45 in La Pergola restaurant. We were seated with a lovely family also from South Wales. Not sure if that was by chance but well done MSC if it was planned. Dinner menu was good. 7 courses each night if you wanted it but we picked and chose from the different courses and there was always steak and chips or chicken as alternatives if nothing appealed. Service was extremely friendly and efficient. Our waiter was very polite and helpful. We were not impressed with the bar service throughout our cruise. With a few exceptions the bar staff were not friendly and lacked service training. Table service on the lido deck was seldom available despite there being staff that liked to hover around the bar! We did complain to the bar manager who shrugged off the comments so I complained formally at reception on day 3. We chose the all inclusive drinks package at 161 euros. Well worth it as you don't need to drink constantly to make a saving. Typically a beer was 4.90 euros, bottle of house wine 18.00 euros, sprite or fanta 2.70 and cocktails 6.50 euros. Plenty of choice and non alcoholic cocktails for children. Another advantage of the package is that the service charge of 15% is also included. Breakfast was taken on the lido deck which was busy and chaotic. Lesson two of being like an Italian in the buffet queues! Go with the flow and expect an Italian or French guest to push in or shove in front of you. Quality of food in buffet restaurant generally good with plenty of choices. There was a constant supply of pizza, burgers, hot dogs and chips each day as well from the grill. Ports of call were very good. Ancona - easy short walk from port into town. Nice traditional indoor fruit and veg market and outdoor clothes market. Dubrovnik - we took the shuttle bus as the port Is approx 30 mins from the city. 12.90 euros but efficient. Dubrovnik was very busy so we headed for the cable car trip first. Fantastic views not be missed. Dubrovnik was lovely but crowded. MSC had well marked pick up in main square amidst the chaos of dozens of cruise shuttles. Corfu - the port is a 20 minute walk from town but easy and you can't get lost. Great for browsing and shopping and locals so friendly. We got a taxi back to ship. Gythion - tender service to the shore was efficient and quick. Pretty fishing town with a few bars. We took a dip in the sea from the small beach. Kefalonia - lovely port. Easy walk to town. Look for the turtles in the harbour. Good shopping and browsing. Kotor - beautiful stunning scenery. Good tender service to shore. Tip - ignore your ticket time and jump on an earlier tender. Nobody checks tickets. Lovely old town. We didn't go on he organised excursions and were happy with the itinerary. There was plenty to see in a few hours at each port. At some ports the ship sailed quite early but we liked being able to relax on the sun deck with a drink or cocktail. In the afternoons the pool was busy but more peaceful on the upper level. We watched one show after dinner which was very visual but no singing etc as so many different languages spoken on ship. Pretty average quality but ok. Check out / disembarking was good. Luggage collection chaotic but go with the flow Italian style again. Good transfer to airport. Overall a good cruise. An experience mixing with lots of nationalities on the ship but that added to the fun and was educational too. Good for families. Not a top end cruise so go with realistic expectations and you will enjoy. We had a great holiday. Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
This was our 1st time on a cruise having spent 2 wonderful days in Venice. The day of embarkation was not pleasant, disorganized and at times chaotic! We finally boarded at around 3pm (should have been 12.30)and to compound things even ... Read More
This was our 1st time on a cruise having spent 2 wonderful days in Venice. The day of embarkation was not pleasant, disorganized and at times chaotic! We finally boarded at around 3pm (should have been 12.30)and to compound things even more a suitcase did not arrive until 9pm. Staff on reception not at all helpful when we tried to ascertain what had happened to our luggage! However, after this the experience was great, lots to do, fantastic food but avoid the buffet as with 4,000 people on board it can be a most unpleasant experience. eating in allocated restaurants much more pleasant and waiters lovely. Do book the drinks packages they are excellent value for money and wines of good quality. Don't book excursions as expensive and much better to do your own thing. A range of options when you get off at each port as all destinations are used to cruise ships coming in. Also a great way to get to meet locals and really experience the culture rather than on an organized tour. Overall a great experience and would definitely cruise again but perhaps with different company!   Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
Myself and two kids age 16 and 21, just returned from a wonderful, 7 day Cruise onboard the Divina. There were very few Americans on board, but all of the ship employees spoke some English. My son enjoyed the teen club, Graffiti's, ... Read More
Myself and two kids age 16 and 21, just returned from a wonderful, 7 day Cruise onboard the Divina. There were very few Americans on board, but all of the ship employees spoke some English. My son enjoyed the teen club, Graffiti's, even though all the kids were from non-English speaking countries. Everyone speaks some English so he did just fine. Here are the pros/cons of our MSC Divina Cruise: PROS: We chose MSC because the ports of call were wonderful. We arrived in Istanbul and visited for several days prior to Embarkation. Istanbul is a fascinating city, Izmir as well. We loved Olympia too. Bari is quaint and easy to walk around on your own, Dubrovnik beautiful, but Venice is a bit overrated and expensive. The Ship is beautiful and spotless. Our Balcony Cabin 13185 was good sized and very clean. Our cabin attendant Andrianiaina Tovo Jean Marcellin was friendly and did an excellent job cleaning up our cabin twice a day while we were sightseeing and eating dinner. The Dining room food was delicious with different menu choices. We loved the relaxing 6 course meal. Americans get 7 coupons for water bottles at dinner but everyone else must pay for the water at 2.50E per liter. Our Dining Room waiter, Ardinata, was friendly and professional. The buffet was good too but often too crowded at peak lunch and dinner times. The buffet had free water, coffee, tea, milk all day and juices at breakfast. Shows were excellent especially the Michael Jackson Tribute, Pirate Show, and Egyptian Show. It was fun to hear the emcee greet the guests in almost every language on board. CONS: Embarkation was long and hot. We boarded in Istanbul not Venice. There were not many passengers boarding there, maybe 150. The line was long and moved slowly and the port building was not air-conditioned. It was very frustrating to start our trip this way. Maybe the Venice and Bari Embarkations are smoother. The port stops were short. Made it very rushed at each port. We did two MSC Excursions. The first, Katakolon - 'Olympia and Shopping', was very good and Olympia is worth the visit if you like ancient history. However, the second, 'Venice - Gondola Ride, St. Mark's Square Tour, and a Museum', was definitely not doable in the time at port. What made it worse was that our tour guide had English and Italian speaking folks in her group. The time spent translating into both languages wasted a lot of time. We ended up running through the Doge's Palace Museum in order to get back to tender boat to the ship. We did two private tours through 'Tours by Locals.com' at Dubrovnik and Izmir. Both guides met us at the port exit and had us back to the ship on time. These private tours were not much more expensive than the ship excursions, so I would recommend them. There was a sporadic sewage smell on our hall and in our cabin. The smell came through the air-conditioning and the crew always gave us a different reason for it. It always went away. Debarkation was confusing. Prior to the cruise, MSC in the US said if we took our own bags (since so few folks disembarked in Istanbul), we could take our time leaving. Our pickup service was not until 10:30 so we planned to leave around 10:00. Then onboard, we were told we must be out of room by 8:00. Reception then said, no, we needed to checkout of our room by 7:00. When I got upset they agreed to let us stay in our room until 8:30. We were told to pick up passports at 9:30 but the passports did not arrive on ship until 10:30. Very disorganized and unclear. Overall, I enjoyed the cruise very much and would choose MSC again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
We recently returned from our cruise on the MSC Fantasia. We embarked in Venice and stopped at Bari, Katakolon, Santorini, Piraeus, Corfu, and Dubrovnik. We had a port call every day of the cruise. The embarkation process was quick and ... Read More
We recently returned from our cruise on the MSC Fantasia. We embarked in Venice and stopped at Bari, Katakolon, Santorini, Piraeus, Corfu, and Dubrovnik. We had a port call every day of the cruise. The embarkation process was quick and easy. In fact, it went so well we did not roam around Venice because we were allowed on the ship at around 11:00 A.M. instead of 1 P.M. as we expected. The MSC Fantasia is a grand ship to cruise on. The entire ship was spotless and stayed that way the entire cruise. We found the food good to excellent. As posted elsewhere the food was sometimes warm but never cold. Choice and variety was good. I recommend the drink package. It was worth it. The crew was courteous and helpful for the most part, only a few offered slow service. Language was a minor problem at times. Keep in mind English, for most crew members, is a third or fourth language. The passengers were a mix from all over the world. Of course, the majority were Italian. We found the Italians to be reluctant to wait in line and had little concept of how entering and exiting an elevator is done. Other than that there were no other issues. The shows offered were good to excellent. They had singers, acrobats, dancers, and tumblers. All were very talented. The shows lasted about 45 minutes. Keep in mind that the shows are geared toward folks from all over that do not always share the same language. I think MSC did well in coordinating the entertainment. We only took a couple of shore excursions as offered by MSC. I believe they were average and may have not been worth the cost. However, this is an individual decision on excursions. I recommend you research them and make your own call. They only flaw I could think of was the bathroom. It was too small and the design seemed to be an afterthought when compared to the rest of the ship. I am surprised by the low rating MSC has. I think they are under rated as a cruise line by my experience. We would cruise with them again.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
We sailed on a one week's cruise with MSC Fantasia the last week in June. Embarking from Venice and then to Bari, Katakolon, Santorini, Pireus, Corfu, Dubrovnik and back to Venice. Venice is of course the main attraction here. The ... Read More
We sailed on a one week's cruise with MSC Fantasia the last week in June. Embarking from Venice and then to Bari, Katakolon, Santorini, Pireus, Corfu, Dubrovnik and back to Venice. Venice is of course the main attraction here. The ship itself is huge, new and modern. Everything is very well maintained and working the way it should. We had a balcony cabin and would highly recommend this. It is well worth the extra cost. The food served in the restaurants was good and varied. The staff was polite, friendly and helpful, and Devi, our cabin stewardess, did an excellent job cleaning the cabin and changing towels twice a day. Some areas of the ship were very noisy, especially, around the pools. It could alo be quite a long wait for the elevators at times. The temperature in the public areas and the bars was also too cold for our taste. The shows in the evenings were varied and mostly good entertainment. A word of warning should be given for Santorini. Since ships are not able to dock, there are tender boats bringing people ashore to the tiny harbour below Fira. In our case two other huge cruise ships were there at the same time. The only way to get to Fira is either to take the cable car which does not take more than max fifty people at a time or climb a very steep path for at least twenty minutes. If you decide to take the path, you will have to fight your way between hordes of donkies and people going up and down. You can of course choose to ride one of the poor donkies, but quite a few accidents have happened because of the total chaos. When finally arriving at Fira, the chaos continues. The streets are packed with tourist watching shops selling souvenirs and junk. And to get down to the harbour again, we were queing an hour for the cable car before we finally got down and could take the tender boat back to the ship. This is the worst and most stupid tourist trap we have ever experienced. Our strong advice is to stay on board unless you join one of the MSC organized excursions that will take you to another harbour where buses are waiting. Apart from the Santorini experience we had a pleasant week on MSC Fantasia. This is of course a floating holiday factory, but we wouldn't mind going on a MSC cruise another time. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
We were told that flights would be arranged close to our travelling date, we were informed 2 weeks prior to travel that we were outbound from Gatwick to Verona and inbound Venice to Gatwick. Not the end of the world, but be aware that you ... Read More
We were told that flights would be arranged close to our travelling date, we were informed 2 weeks prior to travel that we were outbound from Gatwick to Verona and inbound Venice to Gatwick. Not the end of the world, but be aware that you may not get a flight to a local airport. Flights were organised, along with transfers, by MSC. Gatwick was chaos!! We arrived early, but were unable to sit together. I am a nervous traveller, also being 22 weeks pregnant did not appreciate being split up from my husband. As MSC arrange flights as a large group booking, you cannot check-in online 24hrs prior. Hence, no seats together, as everyone else had checked in beforehand. Flight was ok, nothing special, food poor considering BA flight. Transfer was easy, MSC rep waiting at airport to show you to the correct bus. Summing up the embarkation to the ship, and the rest of the holiday, chaos and queues!! Queue to drop off your cases, queue to enter terminal, queue for escalators, queue for compulsory photos, very large queue to check-in and queue for security! A very long and tedious process, not helped by the apparent rudeness of the check-in staff. We were shown to a desk, the man ignored us and carried on talking to his friend. Eventually be acknowledged us and said 'yes' whilst shrugging his shoulders, as if asking what we wanted! I said we were there to check-in, he didn't really speak to us through the whole process and when finished just stood there before shooing us away with his hands!! Not the treatment I was expecting. Have to say the rest of our party arrived earlier and had a pleasant and smooth check-in. Cabin excellent! Balcony cabin, good storage, nicely sized room, good standard and quality fixtures/fittings. We had cabin 9160, great location! Just off the lifts, which went to the dining rooms, buffet and pool decks. Easy access to everything. Luckily we had a glass balcony, the rest if our family had the enclosed steel balconies which obstructed your view and sun. The decor of the ship was excellent, very surprised. Public areas very nice. One negative point - in my opinion there were not enough toilets on board and they were always dirty!! Being pregnant, I spent a lot of time back and forth to the toilets. There were so many people on board, you were always queuing. Ship felt crowded, always being pushed & elbowed by others, always queuing for something. Good luck in getting a seat in the public lounges at dinner time. We opted for 1st seating, which was 18.45, usually finished by 20.45. Second sitting was 21.15. Dining rooms were pleasant, food was average and nothing special. They made an effort with the menus, but they were generally not to my taste, I did struggle to eat anything some evenings. My Dad has Coeliac Disease, so needed to have a gluten free menu. Gluten free food is only available in the restaurants and not the buffet, this limited him during the daytime. However, the gluten free service and the quality of the gluten free food was excellent!! Made for stress free dining. Ports: Venice, Bari, Katakolon, Izmir, Istanbul, Dubrovnik, Venice. Sounded a great itinerary, but disappointing. Venice, did not see it other than from the ship & coach. Bari, not much going on. Katakolon, a single street of tourist shops. Here there were local coaches offering return trips to Olympia for €10, don't pay the MSC prices, walk to the town (5 mins) and much cheaper options. Izmir & Istanbul, we opted to remain on the ship due to the recent troubles and unrest. Dubrovnik, €12 each for transfer to the Old Town. However, step off the ship and you can get a taxi for €10 each way with 4 people in!! Dubrovnik was beautiful, but unbearably hot and packed with people. Day at sea: make sure you stake your claim to a sunbed early!! They were out at 06.00 putting towels down. Despite the rules, no-one listens and no-one removed towels whilst we were there. Dining on this day was particularly difficult. The buffet was always very busy, so we decided to use one of the restaurants instead. This proved to be a mistake. 6 of us were out on a table for 8, then 2 Austrians were also put on our table. Ordinarily not an issue, but we were all on different drinks packages and they didn't speak any English. We sat awkwardly for the duration. The orders were all mixed up, the waiter was very rude and abrupt. My mother ordered a cranberry juice, she received a green coloured drink and was told they had run out!! She did not know what the drink was and was not asked if she would like something different. Our evening dining couldn't be more different, the waiting staff were fantastic! I think it was probably hit & miss, depending on the staff. The last evening, we were told to attend a meeting to inform us about the disembarkation procedure. This was a complete waste of time, there was no information, we were just told to put the luggage tags on bags and read the info posted in our room that evening. The info advised on your disembarkation time, based on the tag colour. Be warned, you have to vacate your cabin by 07.00!!!!!!! Ridiculously early!!! Cases need to be outside your room by 02.00 and collect them the next day. We had transfers included to the airport. The info stated that our meeting time to disembark was 09.10, but our transfer time was 15.00. We asked if we could stay on the ship - No! Is there somewhere to leave our luggage? - Yes, but you have to pay for the service. The cruise terminal is a good distance from everywhere, are there any transfers to Venice for the day? - No, you need to figure it out yourself and pay for any transport! We were thrown off the ship with our luggage in the baking heat with nowhere to go and not enough money left to pay for luggage deposit/transport/drinks etc. Plus the temperature was unbearably hot and I was pregnant. MSC didn't seem bothered by that!!! I really could have cried! Also, our meeting time was 09.10, we sat for 45mins waiting before we were called. My husband spoke with the women organising the people for the airport transfers. At first they said that the earlier buses were all full, after pleading they said for us to wait. They squeezed us onto the next bus to the airport. I was very grateful!! At least we could sit in the cool, afford drinks and use the toilets at the airport. No thanks to MSC. They were happy to abandon us. You're off the ship and no longer their problem. A big thank you to the lady who did help us though. It's a real shame. The ship was lovely, the majority of staff were excellent. However, a few staff were horrendous, the ship was too busy, organisation poor, uncaring attitude. After the stress of the disembarkation I would not sail with MSC again.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
I have just returned from the MSC Preziosa (disembarked on May 17th) and thought I would right a quick review as it is a new ship and there are few reviews around. We were a travelling party of 2 adults and 1 infant, and this was not ... Read More
I have just returned from the MSC Preziosa (disembarked on May 17th) and thought I would right a quick review as it is a new ship and there are few reviews around. We were a travelling party of 2 adults and 1 infant, and this was not our first cruise, although all other cruises had been with RCCL. We were looking forward to the new experience. The cost effective child places, coupled with short flights and a new ship made MSC Preziosa and exciting proposal. We arrived in Barcelona late the night before the cruise and after a 20 miniute taxi drive (Approx €25 I think) we arrived at our hotel that was in a great location just off La Rambla. The next morning we took another short Taxi drive to the port (approx. €20 I think) and we arrived at around midday. We were met by a porter who took our bags (we gave him a tip) and we went inside the terminal, where there were very few guests waiting to check-in. We were greeted and our names checked off a list, we went to the check-in counter and were only waiting a minute or so for a person to check us in. The whole check-in process took minutes and we went upstairs and walked straight onto the ship. From arriving at the port to walking onto the ship was no more than 15 minutes, with an infant being pushed in a stroller too, so all good in relation to terminal and check-in. Once we stepped on board we were immediately greeted and welcomed on board by a member of the hotel staff (I guess) who introduced one of his colleagues (room attendant) who was going to show us to our room. We were shown straight to our room, where the room was checked and we were asked if everything was ok and to our liking. We asked for a cot for the baby, and this was in place and dressed within an hour. Initial thoughts of the ship and stateroom, this ship is stunning. It still has the new car smell about it. The interior design of the ship is amazing, with dark timber, marble, mirrors etc. It is an absolutely stunning ship. The room was as tasteful and well designed, with the exception of a very large mirror at the end of our bed, which we were not keen on but the baby loved. The room felt wider than those on RCCL, even though I am unsure if this is the case, and it was very nice. The bathroom has a great door design on the shower that swings inwards and outwards, and other than that everything was as you would expect. So we set off exploring the ship.......... As mentioned above the ship is amazing. The Atrium is really nice, and is the hub of the ship, well it was for our cruise. There are people bustling about, a pianist playing music, or a bit of classical singing (both in the evenings) there are also numerous bars etc. located around here on different floors. We found the ship slightly difficult to navigate and work around, possibly hindered by the face that we had to use elevators for the baby stroller each time. While everything is very nice and shiny and new, it can be tough to navigate. We felt that there was often a dining room in the way of where we wanted to go, and that every time we did want to go somewhere we felt we were always walking through La Locanda (the Pizza restaurant). Overall the ship is very nice, a pleasant place to be. They are constantly cleaning it, with vacuum cleaners on all day, cables across the floor, and guys cleaning and polishing every door you want to walk through. I like a clean place, but not when it is getting in the way of what I want to do. The on board experience was where things were a real let down for us. Firstly we found that when we arrived at a life lobby and called an elevator, even if we were first in line, and we had called the elevators, others would climb in ahead of us, often leaving us with the baby and stroller to wait for the next elevator. In most cases people coming out of elevators climbed over the baby and stroller, as we stood outside. There were a lot of people walking around in robes (as has been mentioned before) and the buffet was always chaotic. People did not ever queue and simply jumped into line when they saw something they wanted. There was little or no general courtesy or manners on board in my experience. Sadly we found the crew to be of a similar mind set. They were short and sharp, seldom helpful, and we often felt avoided. It was difficult to get a baby seat/high chair in the buffet, and in general I felt the crew were no where near the standard of our previous cruises. The reception staff were cold, unhelpful and rude, and could not be depended on for much. With the exception of our room attendant who was excellent the crew were a disaster for our cruise. Entertainment was difficult with such a small baby etc. but that aside I could not tell you who our cruise director was, what shows were on or what was happening. The flow of information to passengers is terrible. The daily planner is uninformative and only one quarter of one A4 page is dedicated to telling you the activities that are happening on board. It is impossible to review the shows etc. when you do not know what is on or where, and it feels like if you want something to do you have to really go and source it out yourself! Where we felt let down the most was in relation to our daughter. MSC is promoting itself as the child friendly cruise line, more cost effective child places than others, lots of children on board etc. and that may be true, but in our experience the child facilities on board are poor at best. We went for a walk around the ship when we arrived to find the kids areas etc. for our daughter. With the exception of one outdoor area with a slide on one of the outside decks there was nothing else for her to do. There were no playrooms, no play areas, nothing. Secondly, there are no child pools on this ship. No children or adults in diapers are allowed in any pool at any time. Finally, there are no services at all for Children under 3 in relation to kids clubs etc. We did go up to the kids club to look as we are considering our next cruise with friends who have 3 kids. The children all looked bored, uninterested and disenagaged and this was confirmed to us one evening in the buffet. The kids club arrived and the children and team staff sat at different table. There were 3 children there who refused to eat and were obviously protesting at something. This happened a few evenings while we were in the buffet area, and at no time did the staff sit with or engage with the children. These sound like minor things, but for a cruise company aiming itself at families we felt it was very very poor. Food, we did not eat in the main dining room, as the meal is a 6 or 7 course, 2 hour affair, and we did not feel it would be fair on our fellow guests or our daughter to try and keep her content in a dining room for this amount of time but we did eat in the Buffet and in La Locanda. The buffet was mayhem, with people skipping queues and pushing in where they wanted. The food was often not hot and we found the selection to be limiting. The buffet area is quite large on this ship and it was always impossible to tell whether or not you had seen the full selection, but in general the buffet was not ideal. La Locanda was great. Pizza restaurant, with fresh made pizzas. It is a pay venue but it is worth it at only €5 for a fresh pizza, very very tasty and worth a look. Ports. We did not book any excursions, choosing to entertain ourselves in port as best we could. In Marseille we availed of the MSC shuttle bus that brings you right to the centre of Marseille. Lovely place to walk around and explore with a lot happening and lots of people. Well worth a look with decent shopping and nice small bars and cafes for lunch etc. In both Naples and Genoa we did the city bus tours. Both are easily accessible from the pier and are not overly expensive! You can hop on and off, have a good walk around, and checkout local sights such as Aquariums, museums etc. Both of these cities were very accessible via the bus, and it really is a great way to get around and see things. I think tickets were around €12 for Genoa (45 mins) and around €20 for Naples (2 lines approx. 1 hour each). In Genoa the bus leaves you at the Aquarium which is a really lively spot along the waterfront, with lots to see and do! This was possibly our favourite post. In Naples the bus has a stop right back at the ship leaving only a few minute walk to the ship. We like these open top bus tours as you get to see a lot and you can hop on or off if you want to see something particular, and they were great value. Tunis, there was a note that there was a limited shuttle service available to Medina (I think it was) but for one reason or another we were unable to book in time and we missed out. Aside a couple of camels with guys trying to sell you pictures, and a few local port shops there is nothing at the port in Tunis. Make sure you book an excursion or at the very least the shuttle bus or you will be left on the ship. During our cruise the ship remained very busy in Tunis and it appeared not many people left the ship this day! Maybe something to do with the large "for security reasons do not approach within 50 meters of this ship unless previously authorized" banners that appeared on the side of the ship! We were late leaving by about 4/5 hours due to weather, but you can't change some things. I mentioned above that there was little interaction between guests and crew, this is evident from what happened the day we boarded. We knew having cruised before that there would be a safety drill, we expected it and we had been received a life jacket for our daughter. At 4pm we went to the Galaxy lounge for a drink, as it over looked the whole outside of the pool decks. In there I asked the bar tender what time was the safety drill due or usually held. His answer was, I don't know, maybe 5pm or something like that. So, we waited. There were no announcements, no calls for guests, no crew in life jackets or high viz vests looking for guests, no bars closed.....nothing! So the day went on and the ship sert sail. Later that night (after dinner) we received a letter in our room saying we had missed the drill and we should report to the theatre at 18.00 (we got this letter at around 9pm). Confused about what day or when I went to reception where I was told the letter was very confusing and not clear by the receptionist, who herself had to go and ask a manager what it meant. I was told to be at the theatre at 18.00 the next day. Next day we made sure we were back on the ship in plenty of time, went and got our life jackets and headed to the theatre. On arrival our cards were scanned and in we went. It was madness. People (crew and guests) all over the place with no idea at all what was going on. There were random crew members holding up paddles with letters on them and we quickly realized these referred to our stations. I asked one crew member could we stay at the back with the baby in the stroller and I was told no I had to take a seat in the right section. So, we left the stroller at the back, and went to our section. Around twenty minutes later the drill began, and each and every paragraph was read out in maybe 6 lnaguages. Then, when the life jacket donning demonstration began guests everywhere decided to join in. So now there are guests in a very full theatre all trying to put on life jackets in their seats, with the instructions being given in multiple languages. When this was complete we were told (in multiple languages again) to follow our team leader to our muster point so we would know where it was. We gathered up the baby, the stroller and the life jackets and when called followed our team leader, with lots of people in life jackets to our point. When we got there we waited a couple of minutes and I asked my wife to check if the drill was complete with the leader. As she walked over to him, he turned and walked out as people were still arriving from the theatre. So now we were about 100 people, left in a bar, many with life jackets on etc., clueless as to what was to happen next. We waited around 15 minutes and the crew member never came back so we left. This was undoubtedly the single most shambolic thing I have ever seen, heard or participated in on a cruise ship, and this was the safety drill! Disembarkation. We had to be out of the room at 7am. We then waited in La Locanda with no real announcements etc unitl approx. 8.30 when a movement of people told us it was time to go. Again, there were no announcements that we heard of that it was time to leave. We were off the ship within 10 minutes. There is a taxi rank right outside the terminal, but again there is no queue or logic as to how it progresses and we just had to be patient and wait. We returned to the same hotel, so same costs etc. were associated. We had purchased a pre paid drinks package and it is my opinion that a lot of the lack of attention to detail, and lack of customer care in bar and lounge areas may have stemmed from this. On the pre paid packages there is no gratuity on the drinks you order on board. On numerous occasions I had my bills almost thrown at me, scattering across the bar for me to gather them up. They were very very seldom given in a folder, or together or even with a pen. I think as there was no gratuity for the bar tender in question, they felt that they did not have to deliver a decent service level. In fact, we removed all service charges from our bill and I directly tipper our Stateroom attendant who looked after us so well. Here is something that we were not aware of and did not know until we boarded. People embark and disembark this ship at every port. This means that every time the ship stops there are people leaving and people getting on. So as we boarded, there were people who were already a few days into their holiday. For us this made the cruise experience a little incoherent. No welcome aboard party etc. no continuity in relation to people around the ship or people you see. Having cruised with another line where everyone boards and disembarks together we felt that the constant joining and leaving of people made the whole thing feel disjointed as everyone was at a different point in their holiday all of the time. For instance, the day we boarded turned out to be a formal night. How can we possibly unpack, press and dress for a formal night the day we board. This does have advantages as the queues are never long to board and disembark, but it is not something that we liked, and we felt it disjointed people and the experience. Overall we enjoyed the cruise, but we had to work at it to enjoy it, if that makes sense. We made the most of what we had and what it was, and we found ways to enjoy ourselves and to maximize our holiday. While I thought that the ship was really nice, I feel it was let down by it's people, both crew and other guests. It is a shame, because I really wanted to have a great time, to come away looking forward to another MSC cruise and to wanting to book another one, but this is not the case. Yes there is a saving to be made by cruising MSC, especially with children, but in my experience the saving is not proportionate to the reduced cruise experience, reduced service, reduced facilities and other trade offs we feel we encountered. Whilst not a bad experience, it was not as enjoyable as we hoped and would have liked. We have decided we will most likely not cruise MSC again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
My wife and I were fortunate enough to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary with a lovely group of fellow cruisers. MSC DIVINA: Outstanding vessel - extremely plush and stylishly maintained to a high standard though there was a ... Read More
My wife and I were fortunate enough to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary with a lovely group of fellow cruisers. MSC DIVINA: Outstanding vessel - extremely plush and stylishly maintained to a high standard though there was a little lateral movement, as one would expect, at the extremities of the ship. EMBARKATI0N: Venice was a bit of a scrum as anticipated from other Reviewers - but it was very well organised. I suspect 80% of guests boarded in Venice so it may be a prudent option to embark in Bari which would allow additional time in Venice which is rather more attractive location than Bari. CABIN: We were in the "cheap seats" - Inside Cabin but it exceeded my expectations, more than sufficient space dutifully cleaned. Our cabin boy was a bit elusive but that suited us. FOOD: Self service restaurant is similar to any facility you would expect on any budget cruise or All Inclusive hotel in Europe. The food within the restaurant was adequate without being particularly appetising. I understand the need to cater for the so called European Cuisine but the faire on offer was bland. This may be a ploy to direct punters towards the speciality outlets. EXCURSIONS: The one trip we fancied was cancelled due to lack of interest so we changed to a similar trip around Istanbul. Our guide was hugely entertaining but the trip was a bit over priced. I would recommend the Basilica in Bari -absolutely outstanding. I have visited a good number of religious establishments around the world over many years but this was the best I have witnessed. ENTERTAINMENT: I have experienced a more varied package. The pianists were ok. The Sports Bar only catered (understandably) for Italian guests. The evening shows were a little short but quite dynamic. Personally I considered the much vaunted Michael Jackson show to be the weakest on offer. My wife considered the various Spa Treatments but they were hugely overpriced but we did spend a hour in the sauna which was ok. ENTERTAINMENT TEAM: I didnt engage them too much but they barely took a breather and their energy and enthusiasm could not be faulted. ` STAFF: On the whole superb - aside from one miserable waitress they were invariably friendly, patient and polite. We had a couple of minor issues which were resolved efficiently without fuss at reception. DRINKS PACKAGE: We cruised with Thomsons in January 2012 and I decided against the all inclusive drinks package. Fortunately when I reviewed my bar bill I had taken the better option as the charge was approx £100 less than it would have been had I taken up the AI offer. I deliberated beforehand but purchased the package on advice of fellow reviewers. Please "Go for it" - as a moderate drinker we more than doubled the outlay. It is important to consider that Water, Tea, Coffee and all soft drinks let alone alcoholic drinks incur a charge at all the bars and restaurants . So basically unless you are tea total and wish to spend the duration of your time on board at the self service facility opt for the 23 Euro per day package. The more expensive option offers rather more but I suspect is unnecessary unless you have a discerning palate and/or a serious drink problem. NB If you do not pre-book the drinks package 21 days before embarkation you will incur the 15% Service charge that is added to all services whilst on board. This is in addition to the 7 Euro per person per day standard charge. I did question this but accepted the terms as outlined. DISEMBARKATION: Faultless - given the numbers this was extremely well organised, simple to follow but you need to make provision dependant upon your flight time. GRIPES: None really - though I do have a conspiracy theory with which fellow reviewers may concur or disagree?. The wind whilst in Bari was strong and our proposed departure was initially delayed by one hour then another hour then postponed. We eventually left port 10 hours late and didnt, as a result, dock at Katakolon. instead we spent a full day at sea. Not a problem but I do not believe climatic conditions had improved or deteriorated in the interim period and suspect as there were no passengers due to embark/disembark in Katakolon we skipped the venue for ease or financial purposes. OVERALL: My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed the cruise and were fortunate enough to meet some like minded and generous of nature people. Would I recommend MSC Cruises - Not sure as my experience is limited but - probably? Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
After booking a transatlantic cruise on impulse when some friends suggested we take advantage of the low price opening offer I read all the reviews and was dreading it. To be honest we very nearly cancelled ! However we can honestly say we ... Read More
After booking a transatlantic cruise on impulse when some friends suggested we take advantage of the low price opening offer I read all the reviews and was dreading it. To be honest we very nearly cancelled ! However we can honestly say we really enjoyed our three weeks on the ship and when you consider what we paid it is easy to forget the niggles . Firstly the pros ...The ship is beautiful and kept spotlessly clean .As are the cabins ..we got our flight to Brazil on air miles and had to fly out early so did a three day mini cruise first. We had to have an ocean view cabin for this and moved to a balcony on deck 13 for the main ocean voyage .Both cabins had everything we needed and were kept immaculately clean and we had fresh towels twice daily .Bathrobes only in the balcony cabin however . I found the staff to be , without exception ,incredibly friendly and very patient even with some very demanding and at times rude passengers who did not treat them with courtesy .However a decent command of English was the exception rather than the rule !The food was variable but unless you are incredibly fussy you will not go hungry ! Breakfast was excellent with plenty of choice and lots of exotic fruit .Lunch was variable as was dinner at times .The fish was usually very good but the meat was nearly always tough and not cooked properly .This didn't bother me as I love fish anyway but my husband prefers meat and was not happy ! Dinner is 5 courses if you want though so you can always fill up with other things ! The steak in the Tex Mex was excellent though if you were prepared to pay extra ! Now the cons ..it is a very big and noisy ship and it was hard to find a quiet spot away from the loud music .The back of deck 15 was usually quiet as others have said .We were quite anti-social and spent a lot of time on the balcony as the poolside activities were definitely not us! Embarkation in Brazil was a nightmare as nobody spoke English or could tell us what was going on .We were there quite early however after an overnight flight so everyone was getting off the previous cruise at the same time .Lack of communication was a definite problem though .We did our own thing in port so I can't comment on the excursions which seemed expensive .The fitness centre was good but often very busy unless you were there before 8am! To sum up ...for the price we paid it was very good value .Don't expect the same standard of food as on say Celebrity but on the plus side we didn't come home any fatter for once !!The staff though made the cruise for us as they were all very cheerful and friendly despite working very long hours .They wear badges saying where they are from and it would have been a help to know if they spoke any extra languages too. One young girl who was sweeping the buffet floor had the best English on the ship and should definitely be used to greater effect ! Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
I had read some dubious reviews about this ship and MSC prior to the trip, but overall, we were very pleased. We did select this sailing largely for the itinerary, so we spent much of our time in the various ports of call while docked ... Read More
I had read some dubious reviews about this ship and MSC prior to the trip, but overall, we were very pleased. We did select this sailing largely for the itinerary, so we spent much of our time in the various ports of call while docked (though we did not book any excursions with MSC and found that we could DIY very comfortably). That is to say, we didn't spend much time during the day on board--so we can't really comment on things like the pools, sundeck, etc. I suspect they would've been more occupied with kids than we'd like, but again, we weren't on this trip to sit in the hot tub. I did use the reasonably well-equipped gym every day, and my husband made good (or poor, depending on your perspective) use of the casino at night. Our room (cabin 10089) was well-maintained and comfortable. I wish we'd had more opportunity to enjoy our balcony as it was in a nice location on the ship. I also would've enjoyed bathrobes & slippers, but they're obviously not a deal-breaker. Internet service was not good, but I did not expect it to be. I think MSC could probably do more to improve the quality and speed of wireless internet on the ship. Despite the fun we had watching some of our favorite movies in French and German, we may not have felt that way if we had access to more English-language news and TV channels for when we were in our room. The food in the dining room wasn't particularly impressive, but there were certainly other options, and I didn't exactly expect dinner to blow me away when the kitchen is trying to serve 2000 people (literally) at the same time! The Allegrissimo Primo package definitely made things easier in terms of ordering drinks and snacks. I would recommend it for anyone who plans to consume 3-4 alcoholic beverages and a soda or coffee per day. (The gelato was a big perk as well.) Pizza in the buffet was quite good. The ship itself was lovely and all the staff we encountered were courteous and friendly. To be honest, so were most of the other passengers! We had a great trip and would do it again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
This was our second cruise with MSC and we mainly choose it because they offered us a great price. Before the Cruise we had a lot of contact with MSC customer services as I have a really specific diet and on the previous cruise it had ... Read More
This was our second cruise with MSC and we mainly choose it because they offered us a great price. Before the Cruise we had a lot of contact with MSC customer services as I have a really specific diet and on the previous cruise it had not been catered for. We were assured that it would be fine. When we got on board we handed the diet to Reception who knew nothing about it but said they would deliver it to the kitchens. When we went to dinner again they knew nothing about it so we had to explain it all to them. To the credit of the Restaurant than did everything they could to provide me with meals I could eat, they brought me the menu for the next night at dinner so I could say if it was ok or request something else. Everything I requested was brought to me and tasted nice. The other members of my cruise found the food to be lovely, yes at times it doesn't arrive piping hot but they are serving 3,700 people they can't get it right every time! The cabin was lovely, they come in to clean whilst you are at breakfast and at dinner. How they know when this is I will never know as they are never there when you go to breakfast and never there when you get back! They clean it so nicely and turn down the bed at night, they also left us some nice animals made out of towels. The theatre shows are fine, they are not West end ready but they are fine for something which is basically free! The Cruise director introduces the show in about 5 languages, yes, but English was always first so you could just chat through the other languages. I think people need to bare in mind this is an Italian Cruise line so to get it in English at all is lucky. Staff members are on the whole helpful. The only area we found to be awkward was reception. They problem is if you ask for something they don't write it down or tell anyone so when you come to talk about it again to someone new they have no record of what is happening. They are also quite offish, they don't seem to want to help you. I think if you have a problem speak to someone in that area e.g. housekeeping or the restaurant as they are much more likely to help you than reception. Pretty much everyone speaks very good English and they can always understand you as long as you don't embellish your sentences like we tend to do! The ship itself is always clean and tidy and there are always staff members around to help you if you need it. Finally the cost of things, drinks are expensive! They also add a 15% service charge on all drinks which are not factored in to the price on the menus but this is just the way it is. Tea and coffee are always available free in the buffet restaurant. They also add a 7 euro per person per day 'tip' for employees onto your final bill. Because we had been before at the beginning of the cruise we asked for it to be removed which they did without too much hassle. They don't allow tipping individuals which we would prefer to do and I have no idea whether that 7 euros really goes to the people who serve you. I would say that if you are easily annoyed by things such as the cost of drinks then head to a British company however if you are fine to go with the flow then MSC is really good. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
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