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14 MSC Cruises MSC Fantasia Cruise Reviews for Family Cruises to Middle East

This was our first cruise with MSC after 6 with Thomson’s. We cruised from Abu Dhabi on the 19/03/2017 for 7 nights. On arrival at ship we were informed that itinerary had been changed. We had a Balcony cabin and up-graded to a Premium ... Read More
This was our first cruise with MSC after 6 with Thomson’s. We cruised from Abu Dhabi on the 19/03/2017 for 7 nights. On arrival at ship we were informed that itinerary had been changed. We had a Balcony cabin and up-graded to a Premium drinks package. The ship was full with the majority of the clients not English. Notes are as follows: - 1 - Embarkation = OK. Arrived at Ship at 08:30 and got into cabin at 12:30. 2 - Cabin = OK. On first getting cabin it was adequate and clean. There was an adjoining door to next doors cabin Steward attended every day but carpet was never vacuumed for full week. We did have two occasions where drinking glasses (not ours) appeared in our bathroom and balcony door left open. 3 - Day at sea = Like a zoo. Too many people and too few sunbeds led to physical confrontation that we saw on two occasions. Trying to get served at a bar or obtain a waiter was impossible. Best service we got was when it rained and there was only a few sitting at the outside bar. 4 - Restaurant = Very poor. On late sitting. Only got offered water on first night. Never managed more than two drinks. No topping up of glasses. Took 2 hours from start to finish. Got a bread bun on 3 of the 7 nights. Food when arrived was adequate at best. 5 - Excursion desk = Very poor. Tried to get a bus transfer ticket at Bahrain. Queued for over half an hour before giving up, as hundreds of people (No exaggeration) in queue. 6 - Panoramic Doha - What a waste of 5 hours of our lives. Guide was very poor with no explanation of where we went. Dumped off the coach at three separate occasions and spent over half the time sitting in traffic jams. l has loads of other examples including not getting to sir bani yas island due to adverse weather leading to another zoo-like day at sea, and poor all round service but the main two issues we had were: - 1 - Amount of money went missing from inside safe. Dirhams and Pounds totalling around £290 were discovered to be missing from safe. We reported this confidentiality to reception which resulted in a security guard checking our room to see if we or someone had hidden the money. Eventually after prompting the reception staff on numerous occasions all we got out of them was it has never happened before and that we must have been mistaken on how much we put into the safe. I can assure anyone reading this review that we are careful and honest people and can 100% say that the money was taken from the safe. Please see comments on cabin on door left open etc. 2 - At around 23:00 on the last night there was an announcement that the Ship would not be sailing from Dubai for Abu Dhabi meaning that passengers disembarking would have to travel from Dubai to Abu Dhabi by coach which resulted in having to get off ship earlier than originally required. When we left the Ship, we were put us on a coach that we thought was taking us to Abu Dhabi. No, it took us to the next cruise terminal where we got off. There were no MSC reps there and no-one could speak English. Eventually after around 30 mins and a lot of irate passengers a rickety old bus arrived and took us on a 2-hour drive to Abu Dhabi airport where we were dropped off at the wrong terminal - A total shambles. We are taking forward our complaints with MSC but not expecting much response. It is such a shame as the facilities were superb but let down by customer service from 95% of staff. Give me the Thomson Sprit any time. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
Customer Service: Very Bad Customer Service, if you book Cruise ticket third party, MSC doesn't responding correctly/. Customer service people don't have knowledge regarding third party sellers (ex: Seascanner). They ... Read More
Customer Service: Very Bad Customer Service, if you book Cruise ticket third party, MSC doesn't responding correctly/. Customer service people don't have knowledge regarding third party sellers (ex: Seascanner). They don't accept Third party sellers mail proofs, they say only MSC emails, and don't know third party sellers. but they received the ticket money! Dining: Buffet is very good, the 6-floor setting is not good, very few menu items. Ship: extremely very good, Service: Room Service is Excellent, Room cleaning and change of towels are very timely. Food service: food service is too good, Buffet is many items and service people is very polite, I never feel bad, they provided very good food and hot. Fruits and sweets are excellent. Complimentary food is very good. Entertainment: I never bored, always something special, shows and entertainment programs Port and Shore excursions: parking places at the port are very handy, easily can go to the city. excursions are very expensive, I never used them. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
Myself along with my wife, son and family had a holiday by MSC Fantasia Cruise ship from 11 to 18 March 2017 from Dubai and back to Dubai. This was something tremendous I can imagine. we were booked in Deck 10 Sogno and Deck 5 Fantasia. ... Read More
Myself along with my wife, son and family had a holiday by MSC Fantasia Cruise ship from 11 to 18 March 2017 from Dubai and back to Dubai. This was something tremendous I can imagine. we were booked in Deck 10 Sogno and Deck 5 Fantasia. Once I had a ship sailing from Penang, Malaysia to Madras India in the year 1971 or so by S S Rejula a passenger ship between Madras and Penang. I was lucky enough to sail by this ship's last passenger journey I had been giving some briefing to my wife and children regarding ship sailing etc. But this was something too beyond my thought. Of course I had seen these kind of cruise ship in Dubai, Cochin, Seattle, USA. from outside and far away. What should I say a five star hotel floating on the ocean with all facility a top star hotel can provide without any mistake any way. My profession was in the hospitality Industry and I know well how and what it means to organize and run a star hotel while working as General Manager both in mainland and in beach resorts. Frankly like to say I was looking for some mistakes or to know will it go wrong somewhere. But to my surprise from embarkation till disembarkation so smooth like sailing. Our bags taken care from the beginning as soon as we arrived at the port and the same reached our cabin without any mistake. same thing happened while the end of the cruise. We thought of running away the first day itself by seeing the choice of food on the buffet counter and as well as at the fine dining restaurant. Deck 14 everywhere food, food, food, and food with soup, salad, fruit cut, desert, tea, coffee apart from the main dishes. and the dish served on the restaurant the quantity was too high for we don't take that much. Just because we are Indians love to have spicy food an Indian style but that was lacking. but we can understand Swimming pools everywhere you find unfortunately we don't swim. but enjoyed because others are enjoying a lot in the pool hence we too enjoyed. Spirit Bar here bar, there bar, everywhere bar. Here too we don't drink at all. but still we enjoyed when others are enjoying it a lot. Casino we went through that cabin some were playing may be they were lucky to have some fortune or some may have lost their earning. still this is also a part of the game. Theatre had some marvelous acts and action sound and lighting smart enough and on timing. Well treated for our mind and eye a colorful evenings we enjoyed sitting at the end of the ship where it leaves a spectacles mark on the deep sea where ever MSC Fantasia sails. We also enjoyed sitting and standing at the top of the deck while sailing in the deep sea as well as when it anchors at different harbors. No space is left out without having a touch of their own trade mark of their own style of decorating everywhere with some kind of artistic design and decor on every deck wall roof floor and the same inside the cabin too. Nobody can miss anything all well informed the previous night itself with printed news letter ready for the next day MSC Fantasia you are Fantastic Keep going Thanks Rev. Dr. Antony Walto Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We chose this cruise because they offered good value with kids going 'free' (apart from the flights). My wife's parents decided to join us so we ended up with two adjoining cabins with balconies with Fantastica level. I ... Read More
We chose this cruise because they offered good value with kids going 'free' (apart from the flights). My wife's parents decided to join us so we ended up with two adjoining cabins with balconies with Fantastica level. I thought it would be a good chance to see a different place everyday rather than just sitting on a beach. We paid for the drinks package (which cost a lot) and a 100 photo package for 89 Euros, which sounded a lot but turned out to be amazing. I couldn't get the Fun Package which I read about on this forum (unlimited formula 1 simulator and 4D cinema) but got it easily on the ship (35 euros for our cabin for 1 week - also very good value). We had overnight flights from Vienna to Dubai (Emirates airlines so pretty comfortable) so arrived early in the morning. We were picked up and taken to the ship and quickly registered so we could go on the ship. We were told that room weren't ready yet (it was 8am so we weren't expecting them to be ready) but our bags were taken to the rooms and we went for breakfast. The buffet was excellent. It gets busy but we never had problems finding tables and had breakfast at the back looking out of the huge windows down from the 14th floor of the ship. The windows are angled so we were a bit worried when our 2 year old decided to lean on them to look down! After breakfast we went upstairs to sunbathe on the deck and I went to get the room keys. We had been told where to go and go the rooms sooner than expected. The luggage had been delivered to the room. (more in next post) Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
To be honest, I’m not usually one for these reviews as having read some in the past, they seem pretty hard to believe or they don’t allow me to put myself in their shoes, hence I haven’t taken too much notice of them. So….you ... Read More
To be honest, I’m not usually one for these reviews as having read some in the past, they seem pretty hard to believe or they don’t allow me to put myself in their shoes, hence I haven’t taken too much notice of them. So….you may use or ignore my FACTUAL experiences on this ship. It’s totally up to you. However, I do NOT want to see people missing out on their well-earned breaks without knowing the true side of things. FYI, I am writing this whilst in my cabin during a “not so good” cruise. Ship Layout / Decor I am usually pretty good at finding my way around the ships we have been on. (13th cruise) I have usually got it under control after no longer than a day. I’m still finding this one a little difficult in getting around as there are frustrating little detours all around that stop you from proceeding in the most logical route. Go down stairs to be able to go up and vice versa… Not a major problem I admit but sometimes a little frustrating. The Décor of the ship is however impressive. It is a little tired and in need of a facelift but there are plenty of little hideaway lounges and the gelato area is very quaint. Food I am NOT the fussiest of eaters but I do like my food. However, the food on this cruise IN MY OPINION is very very poor. I have given up on the dining room altogether as the food is what I can only describe as microwave meal standard. Service is slow and in some cases very poor. The buffet area is similar as you would expect, with one exception. The Pizzas are of a very good quality and I am pretty much eating these everyday as there is nothing else I can find that is even slightly appetizing. The Taco house combines with a steak house is a NO GO for us. We ate there 3 nights ago. We all had steak (no starter or dessert on the menu) this was priced at around 22Euros and was a disaster. My wife’s Steak was just pretty much just gristle and fat. To be fair, we haven’t attempted any of the Mexican dishes (and don’t intend to) Staff This is a mixed bag. Some are ok, others however are rude and pretty much ignorant. I was holding a conversation at reception earlier today and the guy decided to just answer a phone call and ignore me halfway through! He then attended to the person on the phone for the next 5 minutes. Its wasn’t as if I was being anything other than courteous myself!! Other staff just about lift an eyebrow to acknowledge you. All in all, very poor standards as to what I have experienced with P&O, NCL, Celebrity, Costa etc. Even Royal Caribbean standards or customer interaction are excellent compared with MSC Entertainment I went to 2 theatre shows. The first one was the cast doing a Cowboy themed singing and dancing routine which was quite good. The second was a Michael Jackson tribute show with the cast supporting. That I have to say was excellent. The MJ look-a-like did a top job and the supporting dancers were of a very high standard. Drinks We purchased a drinks package prior to boarding. It represents excellent value. You don’t get the brands like Grey Goose but you do get Smirnoff. It works out around £20 per day which is very good value. Internet Please please please, do NOT purchase the internet package. Or if you do, expect to have a major let down. I paid what I thought was a decent price for the holiday, but to date have hardly been able to download ANY emails due to not being able to identify the network, or if I am lucky enough to get on it…... it throws me off after 5 minutes. A complete waste of money. When I told reception, they were adamant its working fine. No refund and No internet!! STOP PRESS. Update on the internet issue……… I emailed MSC direct and within a day they had refunded me AND upgraded my internet package. So in effect, Company Head Office 1, Msc Fantasia ship 0 (i still cant get on though..) Cleanliness It’s not dirty by any stretch of the imagination but there are a lot of areas that could be improved without a doubt. Menus are stained on the tables; tables do not get wiped enough. There was a horrible smell when you walked along a paticular corridor throughout the whole week which was very off putting. Stateroom We were on the back of the boat. Never been at the back before, and never will again. Not the ships fault but the noise of the propellers / water at night is overbearing. I like to hear the ripple of the waves on a normal balcony, unfortunately it’s far too noisy at the back. Overall I have NOT enjoyed this cruise and I will NOT ever travel on MSC again. I find them poor and unsympathetic to any slight issue. The itinerary was also changed last minute due to weather issues (not the ships fault I know) If you want poor food, poor service but cheap drinks then this maybe is for you. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Itinerary was key to a revisit to the middle east, celebrating 50th year and wanted something that would be memorable to my family and myself We were not cruise newbies having travelled on RC and Celebrity Cruises in the past, this was ... Read More
Itinerary was key to a revisit to the middle east, celebrating 50th year and wanted something that would be memorable to my family and myself We were not cruise newbies having travelled on RC and Celebrity Cruises in the past, this was our first suite experience and we were very pleased with the facilities and the aurea package which is well worthwhile Excursions and team were varied and very good, additionally the ship facilities were very good value and on par with previous experiences. The food was top notch and we had my choice dining which was excellent Regrettably the balance of the really good experiences can be tainted by seemingly small experience. MSC have a policy of taking a service charge for each day for each member of the family unit which is fine if you receive the service element accordingly. Unfortunately whilst we had a excellent service from our cabin steward and waiters and waitresses at dinner and around the ship this didn't seem to extend to the bar staff who seemed generally quite rude. Additionally a change of schedule due to poor weather caused significant disembarkation mayhem in Qatar, regrettably which led to an hour plus wait for transfer buses from ship to outer port (we gave up in the end and the queues still extended for another hour, very poorly executed) Final disembarkation was also a little disjointed ( I am being kind in my comments) guidance and management was poor and I had mistakenly assumed that all MSC staff were there to assist and help, unfortunately I was wrong in my assumption, in that we were left floundering to understand which coach to board for transit to airport I approached the only MSC staff member available who happened to be a Yacht Club concierge, where he just simply ignored me. Another staff member from MSC apologized for his behaviour, highlighting he only dained to speak to Yacht club members, mistakenly I thought we were all customers of MSC, this is duly noted for any future cruises I undertake In summary, nice ship and facilities, but as you would expect of any ship in this class, itinerary was great, excursions varied and good. Staff in the main good, but overall experience could have been excellent without these niggles Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Our daughter chose this cruise as a treat for her 40th Birthday. We spent 2 days in Dubai prior to joining the cruise. We stayed in a beautiful hotel & had an amazing 2 days. Highlight of the holiday. Took a taxi to the Port, ... Read More
Our daughter chose this cruise as a treat for her 40th Birthday. We spent 2 days in Dubai prior to joining the cruise. We stayed in a beautiful hotel & had an amazing 2 days. Highlight of the holiday. Took a taxi to the Port, embarkation process was easy although staff could have been a bit more welcoming. Cases were delivered to our cabin quickly. No problem so far. Went to the buffet restaurant for a snack. Wow - the noise & rude people pushing. You would really think food was in short supply. This happened at every meal which did not make an enjoyable experience. We always tried to go further through to escape the rabble. Food was a huge disappointment- lukewarm at all times. I was shocked at the lack of hygiene. We religiously used the sanitiser but definitely in the minority. On other cruise hips we have been on hand hygiene was paramount. Take note MSC!! Theatre shows were mediocre. Beautiful theatre which was always half full. The 6 languages before commencing the show was a bit monotonous. Some nice bars & lounges round the ship. Fortunately we had the drinks package which was good value. Got a bit bombarded by staff the first 2 days wanting us to upgrade our package. Destination Services staff were not very helpful. Alright if you were going on their trips but not interested or helpful if you wanted to do anything independently. We went to purchase shuttle bus tickets for Kesab & female told us not to bother going as nothing apart from few souvenir shops. We were gobsmacked! Took the tender anyway & fortunately someone was selling bus tickets at quayside. When we berthed in Dubai we took a taxi from the taxi rank which transpired to be a bad experience. We were going to Karama & he turned meter off insisted we go to the wholesale He phoned on ahead & several males were waiting for us. We refused to exit the taxi. Scary. We reported this to taxi rank controller at Port who was not happy at how we were treated. MSC definitely does not geared for British tourists. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
I was quite dubious about going on a cruise as it is far removed from the holidays I'm accustomed to. We flew from Dublin to Dubai and were met at the arrivals area by helpful MSC staff. They checked how long embarkation was ... Read More
I was quite dubious about going on a cruise as it is far removed from the holidays I'm accustomed to. We flew from Dublin to Dubai and were met at the arrivals area by helpful MSC staff. They checked how long embarkation was taking and advised under 20mins so we got straight onto the coach and headed to the port (as opposed to heading into Dubai for the day). Once we arrived at the port, we were able to get checked in immediately - there was no queue and then straight onto the boat. I'd say the entire process took less than 30mins. Once on board we had to wait for our rooms to become available. We headed to the canteen on deck 14 for some lunch while waiting. The food in the canteen was very american in style. A lot of stodgy pasta dishes, pizza, salads, hot dogs and some vegetarian options. The food overall was not good and it was always hectic trying to get any food at all. If you wanted a drink you had to queue up at the bar and ask for a waiter on the floor to place your order so they could pass the order to the bar staff. A totally backwards system! When we booked the cruise we were told there were multiple restaurants on board. There were 4 in total; the canteen, the red velvet restaurant, tex mex and american sportsbar (if all 4 even qualify as restaurants). Red Velvet restaurant had two seatings every evening; one at 6.30 and one at 9. We dined at 9 each evening. The service was catastrophically bad. The wait staff were seriously understaffed. Each time our food would be served, our waiter would run back to the kitchen to serve the next table. Any request we made for condiments or water were ignored. It was clear our waiter was literally run off his feet. The food was for some meals inedible. I was served a different salad from the one I had ordered off the menu. When I asked my waiter why it was different he advised the kitchen had changed it. My sister ordered a starter of pastry stuffed with three different types of cheese and was served pastry stuff with what she surmised was philadelphia cheese. We had purchased the drinks package. On offer in the restaurant, as part of this package, was a grand selection of TWO wines. A merlot and I think it was a Sauvignon Blanc. The merlot was not entirely terrible. Despite the abrupt & sometimes rude service of wait staff in the restaurant, the bar staff on level 6 & 7 were very friendly and accommodating. We had drinks in the bar adjacent to the restaurant every evening and the staff would happily chat away to us. The bar staff at the poolside bars were not as helpful however. The first time I went to the gym, I had to ask directions from bar staff beside the pool. The woman barely looked at me, pointed to the corner and said "there." I walked in the direction she had pointed and ended up in the pool shop. I asked the guy on the till where the gym was and he pointed me in the right direction. When I saw that waitress 2 days later I reminded her what had happened and told her she had given me the wrong directions. She said it wasn't her as she wasn't working then. I told her I was not mistaken and advised her to take more care in providing information. She was far more receptive and pleasant for our second conversation so I imagine she was having a bad day the first time we spoke. That being said most staff we interacted with on the cruise clearly did not care enough to help customers at all. When my sisters went to the excursion desk to obtain information outside of the designated excursions i.e. we wanted to do our own thing, they said they had no information for us. They offered no assistance whatsoever. I found the accommodation to be of a high standard. There were three of us staying in one cabin. I didn't realise beforehand that we only had a double bed and a couch bed. I slept on the couch bed. It was fine the first two nights because I was so tired but after that I didn't sleep great. The mattress was a little thin. Our cabin attendant was lovely and kept the cabin spotless. My parent's cabin proved more troublesome with a broken hair dryer and a faulty balcony door. My father had complained about a draught and gone to the front desk to see what could be done. There was no follow up by maintenance or the front desk. My sister then went to advise the front desk the problem persisted and was told that they were aware of it as a number of cabins were experiencing the same issue. She was shocked that they were aware of this issue and had made no attempt to rectify the matter. She demanded maintenance visit the cabin that evening and fix the door. They did managed to fix the door and replace the broken hair dryer and the maintenance staff who arrived were lovely. We were also incorrectly informed, by our travel agent, that there would be a child free pool area on the ship. This did not exist. When we did go to deck 14 / 15 in search of a sun lounger, it took 20 mins of laps around the deck to find two free ones. The second time, my sister gave up after 15 mins and we went back to our cabin to sit out on the balcony. Half of the loungers on both occasions were vacant apart from a towel which was very frustrating. Overall the service and food really let this cruise down and put a dampener on our holiday. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Our travel agent recommended this cruise a bad choice. We have done up to 20 cruises and have to say MSC are the worst cruise line we have been on. Our room as fine , the food is catered for Italians, the staff was rude especially when ... Read More
Our travel agent recommended this cruise a bad choice. We have done up to 20 cruises and have to say MSC are the worst cruise line we have been on. Our room as fine , the food is catered for Italians, the staff was rude especially when the Italian staff realised you weren't Italian they just avoided us. The non Italian staff we met hated there jobs and told us that , the ones we talked to were finishing their contract and hoping to move on because they hated working for MSC. Going on excursions was unorganised it was just a free for all. If you ask the staff about a taxi our a bus and wasn't going on an excursion they didn't want to help you at all. We took our two grandchildren ages 8 and 2 which we love but felt bad because they couldn't use the kids club because no one spoke English. We were charged €27.00 a day for services which wasn't on our contract when we booked our cruise which was slap in the face. The first night at the dining room we were sat with a family of 3 and our family of 4 at a table set for 4 which was very uncomfortable and when we complained they changed out table next to the kitchen door where the waiter traffic was terrible. The dining room food was always cold and the main meal looked more like a starter. The food wasn't good. My great grandparents were from Naples Italy and I have to say I would never go on an Italian ship again , the Italian people are rude and ignorant they wouldn't talk smile or give you the time of day. They cut in front of you on the elevators the food line getting on coaches took all the beds at the pool I dislike the Italians on our ship with a passion.We try to talk and even smile at them but got no reaction at all. I wouldn't recommend MSC cruises to my worst enemy . Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Having read about the horror stories regarding this ship, Our party of 8 (6 adults and 2 teenagers) who have cruised mainly with celebrity, where not sure what to expect as we embarked on our fantasia experience, Embarkation Very ... Read More
Having read about the horror stories regarding this ship, Our party of 8 (6 adults and 2 teenagers) who have cruised mainly with celebrity, where not sure what to expect as we embarked on our fantasia experience, Embarkation Very smooth and we where on the ship with in 15 minuets, although we where told that we could not get in to our cabins till 1pm, our cabin steward Leonard told us we could go to deck 7 and pick up our room key cards, if we wanted to change and make the most of our day in Dubai . The ship spotlessly clean and tidy.(remember the ship was full 4,000 + passengers on board) Cabin we where on deck 11,Good size cabin ,we had 2 adults and 1 16 year old in ours, he liked the fact that the sofa, pulled out into a comfortable double bed ( you don't get that on celebrity cruises) Bars wide choice of different bars all with good entertainment threw out the night, Allerissimo drinks package We got this free as part of the cruise deal, one thing that made us laugh was it states largers are draught,bottle or can, which makes you would think would be a variaty of different largers, no its only Heineken !!!!!, apart from that you can get numoras spirtis,cocktails Restaurants The red velvet restaurant is good with a varied Menu selection of food,although some of the waiters do come across as having a slightly aggressive tone of voice.( which we got used to ) Tex Mex Steak house Visited this speciality restaurant twice, good food and service, only had one problem with an under cooked steak that they sorted very quickly American Dinner ( in the sports bar ) Four of our party tried this out one night, liked the food but the waitress forgot to order the whole meal (3 courses) of one of them. Casino Yes it does smell of smoke when you walk in ( being a non smoker ) reason is you can only smoke in one half where the slots are, its non smoking where the tables are, this didn't spoil our entertainment in the casino, nor did we have smelly clothes the day after. Lifts Didn't have a problem, had to wait occasionally Pool area and sunbeds Having read previous reviews, there is a problem on sea days, we where all up and out for 8 am on our sea day, got our 8 beds at the back of the boat ( slightly quieter around there ) now all was well until around 11 am, by then the deck is full and there are no spare sunbeds, some of our party are in the pool , we noticed a lot of older aged people from italy and germany complaining to the pool attendant that we had spare beds that where not being used, they even tried to sit on them or take them away,the pool attendant stepped in to sort this out before they got out of control., all i will say is that if you want a sunbed on sea day don't expect to rack up mid-morning and get one. Deck 14 Buffet Another problem area from the recent reviews,I had no problems with the buffet, the food was always hot, a good variety of menu , excellent curry's, good pizzas, could always find a spare table Services Took the standard WIFI package out for my son, "not the best" was his comment, also took advantage of the washing and ironing service offer of 40 items for 35 euro, all came back on hangers and straight into the case. Disembarkation No problems at all, put our cases out at night,and walked off the ship and collected our cases with in 10 minuets . Taxis Lots of taxis at the cruise terminal, they have a taxi marshal pointing you to the next taxi, be careful though there are 5 seat taxis and 4 seat taxis, if you get in a 5 seat taxi and have only 1 to 4 passengers they will charge you the 5 seat rate which is more expensive, so tell the marshal you want a 4 seat taxi and he will sort it for you, also when they pick up from cruise terminal the fare starts at 20 AED (£4.60) any where else its normally 5 AED (£1.15 ) We had a great time on and off the ship and would defiantly cruise again with MSC Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
This was our first ever cruise, we normally do beach holidays in the Caribbean and decided to have a change as our friends had indicated how wonderful cruising is. This cruise was chosen for the destination and the cost however we ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise, we normally do beach holidays in the Caribbean and decided to have a change as our friends had indicated how wonderful cruising is. This cruise was chosen for the destination and the cost however we didn't realise at the time of booking that this cost would come at a heavy price on quality and service Booked a 2 day hotel stay in Abi Dhabi and 7 nights cruise ship on MSC Fantasia. The hotel Beach Rotana was fantastic, friendly, clean and the staff very helpful The cruise was a different ball game, checked in around 11.30am, the lines to collect your cruise cards was long and only one person serving. Same issue when i tried to get my card amended as i upgraded our drinks packed to include premium wines and champagne, all were badly organised, very poor service. Our luggage was not delivered originally to our room, we found them in the corridor on the deck above and one of our small suitcases was missing. Contacted reception around many times from 1 - 4pm, who advised that it was still being delivered and to be patient. I did some looking around and at 5pm it was still not found. At 5pm discussed again with Reception and advised baggage was still being delivered, i asked them to contact the hotel (last resort)to see if it was left at the hotel, advised they didn't have the hotel number, i asked find it on the internet, they advised they didn't have any, i stated you just sold me $69.00 dollars worth. I decided to check the port arrival area where the baggage was dropped off at - nothing. Looked around the ship to see what was on offer and bodies were every where on the pool decks, you had fight your way through the pool beds. The entertainment on board we found was of a poor level except the Michael Jackson tribute which was reasonable.most of the entertainment was multi language and had to be announced several times and around 5 or 6 different languages which became tedious after a while. as were the pool side activities. I expected west end entertainment The service in the main dining room was generally very poor, very slow service on one meal we had to wait for !hour 15 minutes for our main meal. I asked for Champagne and was served prosecco 3 times and was then advised we do not have champagne, i called one of the supervisors over to discus the situation and he returned around 40 minutes later with champagne. The next night i asked for wine and on three occasions the selected wines were not available, why did i upgrade to the premium brands, i wasted the extra cost for this privilege, luckily some of the other bars served the drinks i needed on the first two nights. The next mishap was the waiter knocked my food on to the floor,he left it there and didn't give any apologies or to pick it up. it was disappointing to see some of the guest being allowed in scruffy jeans and t-shirt and flip flops. There has to be some form of dress code at the main dining room. The food in the buffet room was never hot only lukewarm, you had to push your way through the guest to get at it or struggle to find a seat in the middle section. The staff in this area were not very helpful, never asked us if everything was okay, did we need anything or clear the tables of plates when finished, they were always standing around and talking and not looking after the guests. The gala dinners were nothing special, it was just like a normal dinner, why did i put on my tuxedo and my wife a cocktail dress. The buffet wasn't much better,there was plenty of choice but none of it was what I would describe as quality food. I have come to the conclusion that the Italians don't ever eat a hot meal and have no idea what a steak is as there wasn't any served in either the MDR or the buffet at all the entire cruise. The meal served on Christmas eve was terrible, expected a higher and better standard The entertainment was of a poor standard, it was repetitive, no real quality acts and the cruise Directer gave out the proceedings in so many languages it dragged on for ever. Jimmy say it one language we all understand. To get to the theatre you had to go through the casino and the smell of smoking was disgusting to me as a non smoker. What happened to the effort for putting on a fantastic party, not even decorated on the decks, no party hats ect. it was the worst new years eve party ever and we always go abroad for this event, nothing special, we decided to go to bed after midnight - very poor. I removed my tip package as the service on the ship was non-existent, staff were only interested in themselves, no smiles, how are you, can i get you something to drink ect. I always normally give a tip for good service i felt apart from a couple of the girls in one of the bars, which we tipped I have stated to all my friends and family that I would never cruise with MSC again or recommend them. we have signed up as members of the cruise club before joining the cruise we will be removing our names MSC hang your head in shame Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
This cruise was chosen for the destination and the cost however we didn't realise at the time of booking that this cost would come at a heavy price on quality. so to the details, Embarcation went very smoothly and quickly as ... Read More
This cruise was chosen for the destination and the cost however we didn't realise at the time of booking that this cost would come at a heavy price on quality. so to the details, Embarcation went very smoothly and quickly as they've changed the system since the last time we cruised with them (2012) The Cabin was good and clean (8125) but it was not the cabin we booked this was changed by MSC at the last minute as we had booked the Bella experience this meant that they could change it at thier own leasure( not explained in the booking process but was hidden in the small print) This unfortunately meant that we were now on a different level to the rest of our party including our Children who were sharing with their grandmother and nothing we said would change their minds. the ship itself wwas very clean and spacious and didn't seem packed at at except on the at sea day when we couldn't find a sun lounger free at all however as a british citzen I could not believe how rude the other guests were they were contantly pushing in front of you at the elevators and at the Buffet no please or thank you at all except when on the rare occation that we met another english family. The pools were salt water pools and very deep not suitable for non or weak smimmers with no shallow end on any of them and the jacuzzi's were packed all the time so we had to queue for ages. The entertainment on board we found was of a poor level except the Micheal Jackson tribute which was good.most of the entertainment was multi language and had to be announced several times and around 5 or 6 different languages which became tedious after a while. as were the pool side activities. the service in the main dining room was generally good however the language barrier did hinder it a lot, HOWEVER the food in the MDR was never hot only lukewarm and was absolutely terrible tyhe grilled chicken is to be avoided at all costs as it reminded me of a bit of leather that you use to resole your shoe and beared no reemblance to chicken at all .It looked like a flat fish such as sole!. The buffet wasn't much better don't get me wrong there was planty of choice but none of it was what I would describe as suitable for a british Pallet. I have come to the conclusion that the Italians don't ever eat a hot meal and have no idea what a steak is as there wasn't any served in either the MDR or the buffet at all the entire cruise. The meal served on Christmas eve was the WORST christmas dinner I have ever been served some cheap form of turkey roll with polastic stuffing inside, served with powdered mash potato and a single soft chestnut.all luke warm!!. The Ports of call themselves were good but the one tendered port was a bit of a wait watching some ten year old silent humour film in the theatre. The children ( 14 and 17) eventually found some friends in the Teen club which was a bonus however the so called smart card whicxh enabled them to have their own budget wasn't explained to us at the start and turned out to be NON refundable at the end of the cruise any money not spent on it would be lost so they ended up buying a load of old tat they they really didn't want just to use it up. I have stated to all my friends and family that I would never cruise with MSC again Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
BACKGROUND: I have taken over twenty cruises with Princess, RCI, Star Lines, NCL, Thomson and MSC. My cruises with MSC go back to 2000 on their smaller ships Rhapsody,Melody and Monterey and the larger Poesia. I have already done the ... Read More
BACKGROUND: I have taken over twenty cruises with Princess, RCI, Star Lines, NCL, Thomson and MSC. My cruises with MSC go back to 2000 on their smaller ships Rhapsody,Melody and Monterey and the larger Poesia. I have already done the cruise from Dubai twice with MSC on Lirica and Orchestra and once with RCI. My son and family are based in Dubai and they joined me on Orchestra in 2015 for their first ever cruise. They enjoyed it so much and decide to sail on Fantasia (17th Dec) during my visit to Dubai during December and January to re-visit some places and experience the new port of call, Sir Bani Yas Island. EMBARKATION 17th DEC: Went very smoothly due mainly to the new system. No waiting in long queues after check-in, photos were taken as we boarded and cruise cards were in the cabins. We boarded at 11.30 and our cabins were ready at 13.00 which gave us time to familiarize ourselves with the ship. Our luggage arrived shortly after 13.30. We had to register our credit cards at the machines alongside the Guest Services Desk but this fact was not made clear and there was a lot of confused people waiting in this area. We requested that the daily service fees be deducted from our accounts, preferring to tip those of our choice. Guest Services were happy to do this without question. CABINS: We had two adjoining balcony cabins on Deck 10- mine was 10171 and the other 10173 was for son, his wife and the twin grandsons. Both cabins were very spacious(even with the double sofa bed made up in 10173). Plenty of wardrobe and cupboard space, safe and hairdryer also provided. The bathroom was a good size with a very efficient shower. Shower gel and shampoo are provided but if you have a particular preference then bring your own. The balconies were of an adequate size with two chairs and a small table. Our cabin steward, Marylane, was very efficient, always cheerful and most helpful. She kept the cabins spotless throughout the cruise. FOOD: The Zanzibar Buffet on Deck 14 was at most times a nightmare but we accepted that with over 4000 passengers on board it would be crowded. Finding a seat was sometimes difficult and we needed to get food in relays in order to ensure our seats would not be grabbed from us. Although there were numerous food stations serving lots of different foods I did not find the food overall to be of a very high standard compared to buffet meals on other ships. On a couple of occasions the food was actually cold - reported this to a senior crew member but he did not seem that bothered. On two mornings the toasting machine was not working - equipment should surely be checked as operational each day? Again the staff did not seem overly concerned. After a couple of days we decided to breakfast in the Red Velvet Restaurant on Deck 5 and this was done on a Bistro/Buffet basis. Bistro choices were made from a fairly extensive menu but there was also a buffet with additional options. Sadly, many of the waiters at breakfast did not seem to be very well trained and had difficulty in understanding what you wanted. Having asked for orange juice we were offered pineapple and the waiter could not understand why we refused it and tried to tell us it was us who were wrong! We had to ask several times to be served tea/coffee - mostly this is usually the first thing the waiters would ascertain as soon as people are seated. Apart from this it was much nicer to sit at a designated table and be waited on as opposed to the free for all upstairs Our evening meals were taken in the Red Velvet Restaurant and we opted for the first sitting at 6.30pm as we felt the second sitting at 9.15 pm was too late. We were on table 476 and we had a fantastic waiter who was efficient, very attentive, obviously enjoyed his job and he built up a good rapport with the grandsons. We had no reason to complain about the evening meals - plenty of choice, served hot and always edible. We enjoyed the food but I guess our waistlines didn't!! The two Gala Nights were nothing special compared to other cruises I have done. Several people, ourselves included, did dress up for these but some others turned up in the dining room in jeans and t-shirts and the staff did nothing to impose the dress code. We did not go to any of the speciality restaurants as we see no point in paying surcharges if the dining room food is good. We spoke to a couple who found the service in the Tex Mex restaurant very slow (a 45 min wait from ordering to being served) and the food nothing special. We had purchased the All Inclusive Drinks Packages when we booked the cruise (thereby saving a 15% surcharge).All drinks ordered as you go incur a 15% service charge so we certainly saved by having the package. We were able to order cocktails, various spirits, soft drinks, water and wine by the glass. The grandsons also had their own drinks packages and they enjoyed their mocktails, ice creams and milkshakes. Although there were hand sanitizers at the buffet and dining room entrances we noticed many people not bothering to use them and no member of staff was there to politely enforce this hygiene procedure. Other cruise lines are far stricter in this respect. ENTERTAINMENT: The theatre is awesome - on two levels and a good view from all seats. The shows were most enjoyable, the highlight being the Michael Jackson Tribute evening. The dancers and the singers were very talented, as was the cruise director who managed to make announcements in several languages without hesitation - this might be annoying for some but all nationalities on board have to be catered for. The Animation Team worked hard around the ship each day and there was a wide variety of fun and games for all to enjoy. There were several bars and lounges around the ship and each one had some form of entertainment going on and it was difficult to choose where to go some evenings. GENERAL: There are two main pools on Deck 15 (just wish they were not so cold!) and a smaller pool on Deck 16. We always managed to find a sunbed or we sat at a table set back from the poolside. After swimming in the cold pools it was great to laze in one of the hot tubs at each end of the pool deck. Bar Service around the pools was sometimes slow but in the main the waiters were very obliging and a couple of them even got to know our favourite drinks! At the Spa I treated myself to 85 mins of heaven with a full body scrub and massage and a facial. The whole spa area is so relaxing, the staff so charming and efficient. It was pleasing too that there was no hard sell of products at the end of my session which can often be the case on some ships. There are lots of shops selling a variety of goods, some expensive and some reasonable. Disappointed that MSC no longer have a Pandora outlet so could not add to my collection but did manage to get some bargains in the Logo and Duty Free shops. WiFi is very expensive and not that efficient. Better to wait until the ship is in port as very often this is free in the terminals. The photos were as usual expensive so we just relied on those we took ourselves and saved a fortune. On the cruise critic forum we learned about a voucher system a $55 per cabin to use on the F1 simulator and in the 3D cinema and these were supposed to be available for purchase from someone at the cinema on Deck 16. On two occasions we found the facilities locked even though the daily newssheet clearly stated it was open from 09.00 to 22.00. On contacting Guest Services after our second failed attempt we were told we had to ask at Guest Services for a staff member to meet up on Deck 16 in order to have access to the simulator, cinema etc. If this was what you had to do then it should have been made clear on the daily sheets. In the end we put some money on the grandsons' cruise cards and once it was gone we did not replenish the cards as it was quite expensive. We got the impression that the staff member who opened up for us felt she was doing us a favour rather than being willing to do her job. Luckily the boys had packed their own table tennis equipment and were able to have fun at that. They also enjoyed time in the Teen Club. EXCURSIONS: Having done most of the itinerary before we just went ashore on our own and found some bargains in a huge mall in Abu Dhabi and the Souk in Musat. In Abu Dhabi I would say the mosque is a must see and the Emirates Palace Hotel is lovely (great place for afternoon tea).In Muscat the HOHO bus is a good way to see the sights. Dubai has so much to offer and it really depends on how much time you have pre/post cruise. The Burj Khalifa is a must (do book on line in advance to not only save money but also to ensure a slot), the Dancing Fountains are spectacular, Mall of the Emirates (for Ski Dubai)and Dubai Mall (Aquarium) and Dubai Creek are interesting as are the gold and spice souks. Garden lovers will be spellbound by the Miracle Gardens. Atlantis on The Palm is great and you can get a day pass enabling you to use all the facilities and you can also swim with the dolphins here. Khor al Fakaan - on my first visit to this port I took the East Coast Tour which was interesting but nothing special (a lot of on and off the coach with little time to enjoy it). On the last two occasions when at this port (both with MSC) we went independently to the Oceanic Hotel and used the pool and beach facilities and had a super buffet lunch (all for under £20 each) We had intended to do this again but our plans were scuppered when we found we were only in port from 7 a.m. and had to be on board again by 12.15 - no time to do very much and the ships excursions did not appeal, especially as they all left at 7am We were disappointed but enjoyed time on board and made the most of it Sir Bani Yas Island: This was perhaps the highlight of our cruise. The crew must be congratulated on the way they handled the mammoth task of tendering ashore all the food, drinks and cooking equipment. They did a brilliant job. We had booked a Jeep Safari and were fortunate enough to get the first tour of the day. No rushing around for tender passes for us (this I gather caused some confusion and upsets for some) as we just reported to our designated meeting point and were on the first passenger tender out to the island. The tour was excellent. Our driver was so knowledgeable and gave us so much information about the island and the wildlife. The mountain views and the rugged scenery were amazing. We saw so many species of animals and they all looked so well cared for. At the end of the tour we had a BarBQ buffet lunch - lots of choice, well cooked and nicely presented. There were lots of sunbeds and umbrellas along the beach which was clean and tidy (and in case you are wondering, the toilet facilities were very clean too!). There were activities organised throughout the day by the crew so everyone could have a good time. We returned to the ship mid afternoon and joined in the Snow Party around the poolside. It was such fun and we were glad we went. DISEMBARKATION: Being independent travellers with no flights/transfers needed we were able to leave the ship at 9.30 a.m on the morning of 24th Dec. Our cases had to be outside our cabins by midnight and we had to vacate our cabins by 8 a.m.. We had breakfast and then left the ship. Our cases were lined up by colour coded labels in the terminal and we found them easily and made our way to the taxi to return to my son's home and for me to enjoy another three weeks in the sunshine! OVERALL: Fantasia is a lovely ship and is kept spotlessly clean. I do feel that standards on MSC are not as high as I have experienced on previous cruises with them. In my opinion new staff are taken on board with insufficient training and this leads to poor customer service. We did enjoy our cruise and it certainly represented value for money. My son and his family are now looking forward to their cruise on Magnifica in July 2017 to the Norwegian Fjords and we are all booked on the new ship Seaview inJuly 2018 - let's hope we will not be disappointed !!??? Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
MSC cruise to Abu Dhabi and Dubai the destinations were wonderfull But I'm afraid the cruise entertainment in the theatre was acrobats and jugglers 5 of the 7 nights one night was good. The cabin was great very clean and ... Read More
MSC cruise to Abu Dhabi and Dubai the destinations were wonderfull But I'm afraid the cruise entertainment in the theatre was acrobats and jugglers 5 of the 7 nights one night was good. The cabin was great very clean and spacious.and cleaned twice a day The Dining in the Buffet was acceptable (JUST) but was just like feeding time at the zoo. The Restaurant were clean and the seating good but let down by the food which was constantly cold or lukewarm at best, when asked if I could customise the menu ie change MASH POTATOES FOR ROAST POTATOES for our christmas eve meal ( we disembarked on Christmas day so this was our christmas meal) we was flatly refused and told that we had to have what was on the menu that's all. which was cheap rolled turkey with damp soft cold stuffing inside with mash potatoe and 2 chestnuts. the waiters generally were attentive aspecially on the last night when he thought he was getting a gratuity but the language barrier at times was unsurmountable and we really had trouble making our wishes understood. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
MSC Fantasia Ratings
Category Editor Member
Rates 3.0 3.5

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