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5 MSC Cruises MSC Fantasia Cruise Reviews for Romantic Cruises to Middle East

This was our second MSC cruise having been on the MSC Opera in 2015. The transfer from Abu Dhabi airport to the port was extremely disorganised. We couldn't believe how many people were crowding together outside the airport after ... Read More
This was our second MSC cruise having been on the MSC Opera in 2015. The transfer from Abu Dhabi airport to the port was extremely disorganised. We couldn't believe how many people were crowding together outside the airport after landing at 6.00am. Nobody seemed to know what was happening. However we did make it to the ship and by 9.00 am were eating breakfast in Zanzibar. No problem in validating our cruise cards after eating but not allowed into the cabin until 12.30. Once on board we were told of the itinerary changes. Would have been nice to have been advised of this earlier - disappointing when plans had been made. We had a large cabin with a balcony and it was cleaned very well. We had requested a late dinner on a table for two. On the first night we were shown to a table of 6 that was staged around a large post. We complained that we were not happy with this table as it must have been one of the worst placed tables in the Red Velvet restaurant. We asked to sit elsewhere on a table for two and was given a table for five. We stayed here but no-one joined us ( it was noticed that the original table never had any diners on it for the whole weeks cruise). We were told that all would be sorted by the next night. In fact a note was delivered to our cabin giving us a new table number but it was for four. On arriving at this table it was for six and there was one other couple there. The four of us stayed on this table for the rest of the cruise and they were extremely good company. The food was ok but not worth any photos as on other cruises. However we were never without an empty wine glass at dinner, great service! We didn't really like the way a buffet was being introduced in Red Velvet at breakfast and lunch times. Some waiters tended to push you to that option as if they couldn't be bothered to take your order. The photographers became a bit of a nuisance. Especially when trying to eat at dinner time. We would have eaten upstairs in the buffet if we had felt the need but it looked like hell!! People not sanitising their hands but still attacking the food with their hands. We only ate once in the Africana buffet and had an excellent curry. Another concern was the lack of use of hand sanitizers. As on other cruise lines we have been on there was no encouragement to use them. Moreover, pretty frequently the dispensers were empty. Quite a concern on a ship with well over 4000 passengers onboard, not counting the crew. Especially when you saw how many passengers insisted on pawing and returning things at the buffet. The ship didn't visit Sir Banis Yas Island. We were disappointed but not surprised as it seems a common occurrence. We wondered why it was even on the itinerary. Instead of staying anchored just off the island to look at the views we soon moved on - at about 10 knots an hour!! We booked two excursions with MSC. The bus tour in Bahrain was spoilt by not sitting anywhere near to my partner. We expected to be seated next to each other when booked together. The trip in Dubai to the Burj Al Khalifa was excellent. Our flight boarding cards were left on the bed the evening before our departure - a welcome touch. However at 11.00pm on the eve of our departure we were advised that due to "high winds" the ship was not going to Abu Dhabi. Instead we were coached to Abu Dhabi airport at 4.30am. Although very inconvenient it was very well organised, especially on arriving at the airport. All stops were pulled out to check us through without any delays. This must have involved about 2,000 passengers. Overall an enjoyable cruise. We have previously cruised with MSC and will most probably do it again. 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
Review MSC Fantasia Dubai/Abu Dhabi etc..... We had a standard balcony cabin on deck 13 and it was one of the better cabins in terms of design compared to P&O, Carnival etc. The bathroom had no shaving mirror but hey! Breakfast ... Read More
Review MSC Fantasia Dubai/Abu Dhabi etc..... We had a standard balcony cabin on deck 13 and it was one of the better cabins in terms of design compared to P&O, Carnival etc. The bathroom had no shaving mirror but hey! Breakfast buffet on deck 14 was the same every day but offered good choices. The only omission was that there was no mushrooms and to make toast you had to queue to use one of those very old and tatty dreadful toast conveyer belts machines (absolutely rubbish). Lunch also offered a wide variety of food and you could have lunch in the Red Velvet restaurant if you so fancied. The buffet on deck 14 could be manic with people of certain nationalities pushing and shoving as if the food was going to run out! There was a distinct lack of patience and manners and it did feel awkward sometimes with passengers reaching over you to scoop up food. On sea days the top sun decks became incredibly overcrowded as everyone was on board at once. It was almost impossible to walk the decks such was the mess of sun loungers with those dreadful orange towels packed tightly together. I'm sure this is a serious health and safety risk because if there was an emergency there would be no escape. The theatre entertainment was the best I have witnessed on any ship and was incredibly varied. All the shows had a bit of risqué which added to the spectacle and each one of the shows was highly entertaining in their own way without dragging on too long. The evening music and entertainment in the lounges was again magnificent and top class. Too often evenings on cruises are a bore fest but not with MSC. The thought that went into each part of entertainment was amazing and there was a wonderful atmosphere around the entire ship up until the early hours. The tours on this particular cruise were good value. The cabin boys and staff in general were graceful and well mannered although the reception staff could be very inpatient and seemed to be set at the default state of "the customer is always wrong" The drinks packages are good value especially if you upgrade your package from say 'Cheers' to the top package on embarkment. The internet is a waste of money and I repeat a waste of money! Even the top plan is very very slow and the data allowance is rigged. Most smartphones have apps running in the background and even if you know this and switch them off you still end up using €35 just loading 2 Google pages. I can not stress how poor the internet is and how quickly you lose the data allowance even if you 'log off'. When your data runs low (which is very often) you are offered a further 'Top-Up' which gets eaten up in 2 emails. The worst thing is when the ship resets its internet and your allowance (which can be €35) is simply wiped off! then you are directed to reception who immediately assume you have used your data up in the way intended and talk to you like you have no knowledge of the internet and how it works. They will never believe you are in fact right EVER and they waffle on about data allowance etc until you get fed up and leave. So you have been warned! Don't be tempted to use the internet allowance plans! All in all a very beautiful ship which comes at a great price with amazing itineraries. Happy sailing!!!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Embarkation/Disembarkation -------------------------- We landed early at Dubai airport. Fairly big queue at passport control, but emerged into the sunshine around 10:30am. We ignored the taxi people inside the terminal and just went ... Read More
Embarkation/Disembarkation -------------------------- We landed early at Dubai airport. Fairly big queue at passport control, but emerged into the sunshine around 10:30am. We ignored the taxi people inside the terminal and just went straight to the taxi rank. Cost was 55D (around £12) to the Port Rashid where our ship was. Tip: Make sure the driver turns on the meter as we heard stories of people getting ripped off. On arrival at the ship, a fairly quick process to get signed in and on board. Although our cabin wasn't supposed to be ready till 1pm, we went to it anyway and it was available which was a bonus. However as yet we had no cruise cards and that involved a separate trip to a bar to pick them up. If you turn up after 1pm, they will be in your cabin. Not sure why MSC don't follow pretty much every other cruise line and issue them at check in !! The cabin was a balcony and was well appointed and was comparable to balcony cabins on other ships Dining ------ We were on the Aurea package, so had the Any Time Dining included automatically. This meant we could arrive at the Red Velvet restaurant at any time from 6:30pm to 9:30pm and be sat down. No booking required. Each night was a different six course dinner offered with different themes. The issue was that the quality and taste of the food was average at best. Having cruised before on RSSC, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Fred Olsen, Norwegian and Azamara, we feel we can give a neutral honest opinion. It was disappointing and probably the biggest failing of the cruise. There was a Tek Mex restaurant available for a bit extra, but we never tried it. Lunch was catered for either as a served three course in the Red Velvet or as a buffet in the Zanzibar. To be honest I preferred the buffet as a three course for lunch and six course for dinner was too much for me. Bottom line is that if food is very important to your holiday enjoyment, then MSC are probably not for you, unless you can stretch to Yacht Club where they have a different (and apparently very good) restaurant. Bars ---- I have to say I was very impressed by the sheer number and size of the bars. Depending on your preference (quiet, background music, ballroom or dance), there was a bar to cater for you. All were pretty empty as well, so no problem getting a seat. Allegrissimo Drinks Package --------------------------- Again because of the Aurea package, we got the Allegrissimo drinks package for free. It worked well and we were happy. You get a choice of two reds/two whites/one rose and one sparkling. The reds were a Merlot and one I'd never heard of, but were perfectly acceptable. The whites were a Chardonnay and another unknown Italian. The choice stayed the same for the whole cruise, so did get a bit samey towards the end. A couple we got to know went for the premium package, but couldn't always get their first choice of wine as the bars and restaurants seem to have their own stock. Still at least they did get the whole bottle on the table, whereas we had to order by the glass. Having said that, service was good and we were never left long with an empty glass. Entertainment ------------- The second biggest disappointment after the food was the entertainment. I'm used to fairly big shows with maybe guest acts flown in. However the shows (apart from the Micheal Jackson one) were instantly forgettable. The cruise director (can't remember his name) was even more forgettable and didn't seem to have any role on the ship other than to practice his six languages before each show. Another disappointment (oh dear I don't want to come across as a whinging pom) was the daily activities. Almost every other cruise I've been on has had an extensive daily list of activities (quiz, table tennis, lectures, etc.). On MSC, although they do have some daily activities, they are almost exclusively based around the main pool (including the quiz !!). Service ------- I've seen the reviews that say that the crew are a surly bunch, but to be honest they seemed very happy and we received good service, so no complaints here. wifi ---- I don't normally sign up for WiFi on board as it is usually horrendously expensive, but MSC has some very reasonable packages. We went for a two person package for the whole week and it was around £40. Not bad at all and it even worked !! Excursions ---------- Again give MSC it's due, the excursions were very reasonable. We booked a couple online before we left and they delivered all what was promised, so thumbs up to MSC for this. Ports of call ------------- Dubai - We had a MSC tour to see the main sites. Slight downside is that you spend most of your time in the coach travelling between the locations with perhaps 20mins at each stop. The city is very large and spread out, but it was very interesting. Abu Dhabi - The official MSC city tour was fully booked, so we took a taxi to the Grand Mosque (45D - £10 each way). This was the stand out monument for me on the entire cruise and simply cannot be missed. It is breathtaking. Muscat - It was actually raining when we arrived and the streets were flooded. We walked for a bit but gave up in the end. Nothing memorable about this stop. Khasab - We took our second MSC official tour which involved an hours drive to a small castle (which looked like it was built yesterday) and then an hours drive back. In hindsight, not a good idea. Sir Bani Yas Island - This was a bit of an unknown as it was only very recently opened. Tenders took you to a golden beach with sunbeds and umbrellas stretching for a long way in each direction. There are separate areas for Yacht club and Aurea and also lots of bouncy things in the sea for the kids. The beach areas also had bars and BBQ's set up, so you could use your drinks package on shore and not feel you are missing out. However the facilities are limited and unless you are dedicated beach people, a few hours was enough. Conclusion ---------- So overall a good cruise. MSC cater to a certain demographic. They offer some amazing bargains and are truly value for money. But the low cost obviously has to mean some cutbacks and the food I'm afraid is the obvious one. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We booked this cruise so that we could go to the Dubai 7's, As we sailed on the Saturday we missed the final but that was fine as we had a great week to follow it up. My review is for Yacht club as we spent most of our time in ... Read More
We booked this cruise so that we could go to the Dubai 7's, As we sailed on the Saturday we missed the final but that was fine as we had a great week to follow it up. My review is for Yacht club as we spent most of our time in this area of the ship so it would be wrong to try and cover the rest of the ship in too much detail. The service we recieved was exceptional, nothing was too much trouble. We were greated at ther terminal by a butler who escorted us through the terminal and dealt with the paperwork as we sat and had a drink in a designated sitting area (I must hdd here it was a little embarrassing but we soon got used the exceptional service). We where then escorted directly to Yacht club on desk 15 in a dedicated lift. We had a dedicated concierge desk who dealt with everything we might need, We were greeted by a bottle of bubbly and fresh fruit in our cabin, fully stocked mini bar, bath robes and slippers. Walkin wardrobe and mable bathroom with a full size bathtub. We had a butler on has 24hrs a day should we need anything, We had a pillow menu, beutical egyptian cotton sheets and were left chocolates and other treats each evening in our cabin. Our daily newspaper delivered everyday to our cabin. We had prioirty embarkation and disenbarkation, a priority lift so no issues there either. The Top Sali longe and one pool bar were lovely and again the service was great. Our waitiers took drink orders from our sunbeds. No issue with sunbeds either, you could get one at anytime of day either at sea or in port. We would quite ofter nove around the one pool deck to take advantage of the sun. We could get light breakfast and lunches in the One Pool bar area or Top Sail lounge. Afternnon tea was served by a butler everyday in Top Sail loinge between 5 - 6. Tea and Coffee was served in lovely china teapots and cups in the Top Sail lounge throughout the day. We didn't do many excursion but when we did we were excortred off teh ship and our seats were reserved onthe transport whihc was a very nice touch. To be fair there on some of the port there wasn't a great geal to see or do other than shop. we did visit 2 formula one tracks. We were the first MSC ship to stop at Sir Bani Yas island, that was lovely but they did have a few hicupps as it was their first visit and were over 2 hours late getting there so the staff were in a bit of a fluster. But I am sure this will get better. We were inthe VIP area and transported there via golf buggies and again the service was great with butlers looking after us on the beach. We ate each evening in the Le'Etoille restuarant which was lovely, with 7 courses daily to chose from there was always something you would like. Choices ranged from Lanb shank to Lobster Tail. They had a freshly prepared pasta dish daily and a low calorie otpion .They did serve breakfast and Lunch in this restaurant daily, we did go for one breakfact which was lovely but the light food they served on the Top Sail an One pool bar was adequate for us. They had a chef who prepared a fresh pasta dish dailly at the One pool bar. The entertainment in the Theatre on the ship wasn't the best I have experienced but to try and cater for so many nationalities is quite difficult so to be fair they did well. Yes we paid more for this experience but it was worth every penny and i would certainly do the same again. We were treated so well and away from the hustle and bussle of the croweded areas. Don't get me wrong we love to party like the rest of the ship but this was such a great exeperience. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
MSC Fantasia Ratings
Category Editor Member
Rates 3.0 3.5

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