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7 MSC Cruises MSC Fantasia Cruise Reviews for Romantic Cruises to Europe - Western Mediterranean

It was our 12th cruise and the 6th with MSC. We arrived to Genova by train and walked to the cruise terminal (around 10 minutes walk). 15 minutes later, we were in our Cabin. Even though the ship was full and most of the passengers ... Read More
It was our 12th cruise and the 6th with MSC. We arrived to Genova by train and walked to the cruise terminal (around 10 minutes walk). 15 minutes later, we were in our Cabin. Even though the ship was full and most of the passengers embarked in Genova, later afternoon the terminal was almost empty - so everything was smooth and fast. Our cabin was clean and nice, well maintained and cleaned 2 times daily. MSC gets a huge amount of complaints by American and Canadian cruisers. The facts (in my personal perspective) : Food can be more than hamburgers, fries and other fried things. If you cannot recognize anything else as food, stay with carnival cruises. If you interested of the European and Italian cuisine, you will love MSC's kitchen. Onboard expenses : The best option is to book and pay everything in advance on the MSC's website. The best example is the photography. If you buy photos onboard ,the small photo is $20, the large photo is $30 each. If you prepay online, you pay $177 for 100 photos - so it's $1.77 for both sizes. All other expenses, like gratuity, SPA and beauty, excursions - all of them 20-30% cheaper in advance. Our itinerary was changed once. There was a storm in Ibiza, so the ship skipped this port, we were at sea on that day and docked at Palermo, Sicily next day. About other cruisers on board... When Moses wrote about the Tower of Babel, I think he was thinking of the future cruises onboard with MSC. Hundreds of nations speaks hundred different languages. Sooo many Italian cruisers onboard. You should love their vibrant attitude or you will suffer every day on the cruise sip. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We live mainland Spain and wanted to escape our town's 10 days fiesta, so booked from Palma where we flew to, had 4 days there first. Left hotel 1pm on Monday 29 July, and were onboard by 2.30pm, great. Suitcases arrived soon ... Read More
We live mainland Spain and wanted to escape our town's 10 days fiesta, so booked from Palma where we flew to, had 4 days there first. Left hotel 1pm on Monday 29 July, and were onboard by 2.30pm, great. Suitcases arrived soon afterwards. Took ages to find cabin though. Unpacked, spent the afternoon exploring and missed dinner so we ate in the buffet. It was OK, heaving, and found a nice chicken curry. Went there for breakfast every day but wouldn't eat main meals there. We were booked into the C.D'Oro, and shared with 2 very nice couples, one couple were Gold card members. The other couple had only cruised once before, so nice not to have to talk about cruising all the time. The food was superb, and all cooked to perfection, and our drinks package included a nice bottle (not glass!!) of wine every night, and water. Pool a bit small and because of the time we travelled, full of children but heyho. We always got a sunbed, lazed about, enjoyed the ship, and took no excursions at all. It was too hot to trawl around dusty cities plus we had visited some on previous land-holidays. The full day at sea was manic and the pool entertainment really juvenile - but at least the shops were open. They are not allowed to open in ports. However, said shops were very disappointing. Mainly over-priced but out of date designer gear. Nowhere to buy say, a tube of toothpaste if you forgot to pack it!! so much for shops where you could get all your holiday essentials. also the shops at sea when open had constant sales, outside, on tables, making everything very cheap and nasty. If you smoke and run out of fags, you can only buy them, one pack per card, behind a bar and ONLY when at sea. The spa, well, my fault. I booked a Bali massage, it was an offer haha, same offered every day, but was lied to as the very miserable chap said the offer was just for the day I'd booked it. Anyway, it was nice, so agreed to pay another 15€ for a facial. Then I was "sold" a jar of face cream (sucker me). 90€ and back in the cabin I opened the 6 inch square box to find a 3 inch square jar of cream, inside which was a hole for about 2 teaspoons!! My fault....haven't used it yet, probably come out in a rash!! The 2 men at the spa reception were without doubt, the most miserable condescending people I have ever encountered. Need sacking. We didn't bother going to a show, went to the Casino one night for fun, but got into a nice routine of pre and after dinner drinks in the Cigar Lounge (as we smoke)...then up to the buffett to fill up the flask I had taken, with boiling hot water. This stayed hot enough to make a cuppa every morning. I also managed to get a half litre of milk on board bought in Palma...and, my travel hairdryer. Huge relief!! We normally like a good quality hotel, with pool maybe beach, as our idea is to relax on holiday, and do cities as short breaks. Well we did manage to do that every day mostly, and loved sitting on our balcony while we were at sea. The boat was SO smooth, and always on-time. I would have liked to get off at Marseilles but that was the hottest day, so glad we didn't. The Gold card members had done every excursion, but always on their own, which they recommended rather than pay the high prices and be herded around like cattle. Or miss the boat as someone did in Livorno!! Since we booked the trip, which was a long time ago, we did read a lot of reviews. Every one to their own but some are quite misleading, and some quite wrong! Think it's best next time we do a cruise, not to read anything, and just make the most of it. We wouldn't do it again in the high season though. We knew there would be a lot of children, but there were also a lot of groups of student ages teenagers, mostly Italians. We did like that though....not too many Brits....made it all a bit more continental. All in all, a very enjoyable holiday, as I said we will cruise again, liked MSC, thought the organisation was great considering we booked independently and through the Spanish site. Oh....one thing, had several photos taken but could only find one taken on the Gala night whilst in the photo shop. Talk about photo-shopped, cost 40€ for one large and one small copy! Wifi worked not too bad on laptop but the smartphone wasn't brilliant considering we paid for the wifi package. Apart from that and the drinks package (well worth it) we also paid up front for service, so no need to tip anyone. Customer service desk always busy bout plenty of staff, we used to get our account updated and everything was always correct. We also found that the whole ship had more than enough staff, always helpful, except those 2 in the Aurora spa!! On our first night we had to go to the theatre for the drill with our lifejackets. Took about half an hour, glad we didn't need them as I couldn't get mine on! Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
This cruise was our first for our 25th wedding anniversary and I must say we thoroughly enjoyed it. In general I felt it was like a 5 star hotel as the cabin was fantastic and the cabin steward done such a fantastic job of looking after ... Read More
This cruise was our first for our 25th wedding anniversary and I must say we thoroughly enjoyed it. In general I felt it was like a 5 star hotel as the cabin was fantastic and the cabin steward done such a fantastic job of looking after our room, I wanted to take hi home with me! The ship itself is beautiful, my only complaint was I kept getting lost but I have no sense of direction so that's my fault. The food was in general good my only real complaint here was that I felt the buffet food wasn't very warm and maybe once in the Red Velvet restaurant. I would advise to stay clear of the sports bar for food as our experience there was awful and remember even if you are all inclusive you have to pay for food in this bar and honestly it was disgusting it was one of the worst meals I have ever had, so best avoid this place. we only attended one of the shows which had singers on it was ok but didn't tempt me to go back the next night. the come dancing type competition in the Isolito bar on the 7th floor ( I think that's what it was called) was great and we had a fair good many nights in there with the female singer and her band. Embarkation and disembarkation was fine as far as I was concerned but as this was my first time I have nothing to compare with. a few people were moaning a bit about this but I really didn't think it was that bad. All in all I loved it and I will return on another cruise Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We arrived at the ship at the designated boarding time of 2pm and were given a sheet of paper that informed us that we could now board the ship at 11:30am. Fantastic but no-one from MSC contacted me on the cell/mobile phone number I ... Read More
We arrived at the ship at the designated boarding time of 2pm and were given a sheet of paper that informed us that we could now board the ship at 11:30am. Fantastic but no-one from MSC contacted me on the cell/mobile phone number I provided them with when I booked the cruise. Great start. Everything went reasonably smoothly with dropping of our bags getting in line to sign in and be given our cabin cards etc. They also took our passports of us and we were informed we'd get them back on the night before the end of the cruise. Alas I tried to change AUD$ into Euro's in Barcelona but no bank will change money UNLESS YOU HAVE YOUR PASSPORT WITH you. So I was forced to change money with a shifty money changer who gave me 60 euro cents for an AUD$. The banks were giving 67 euro cents for an AUD$. So when I changed AUD$500 I got the grand sum of 300 Euros when if I had my passport I would have got 335 Euro's. Not happy. As we exited the embarkation area we were assailed by MSC staff wanting to sell you books of tickets for water (wait for this it's a doozy), beer, wine, coffee, tea and cocktails. We bought a book of beer tickets and a book of coffee/tea tickets. Had I known then what I know now about the 15% service charge that was levied on every drink the I would have bought more tickets. Yes, even if the barman handed you a beer over the counter there was a 15% service charge. Oh and not to forget that MSC also levied an 8.50 Euro service charge, per person per day. When I enquired about this I was told that this money was basically a tip for all MSC staff on board and was put into a pot to be distributed to all staff at a later date. A nice little earner if you can get it. There were well over 3,300 guests on the ship but for the sake of maths let's say 3,000 guests so if you multiply 3000 guests x 11 days x 8.50 Euro's per person per day you come to the grand total of 280,500 Euros. I asked quite a few Fantasia staff if this money was evenly divided amongst the crew. Not one of them would give me a straight answer so I can only assume that the answer is NO. This is a blatant rip off but here's the crunch, THIS SERVICE CHARGE IS A VOLUNTARY CHARGE AND YOU DO NOT HAVE TO PAY IT BUT YOU ARE NOT TOLD THIS UNTIL YOU ASK WHAT IS THIS CHARGE FOR AND WHAT DO I GET FOR IT. So if you're silly enough to sail on MSC then go directly to Guest Relations and tell them to take of the charge. If you are lucky and the Guest Relation person properly understands English then it may take you less than the 15 minutes it took me to get thru to the MSC Guest Relation person (who was Ukranian). I also complained to this person about having to pay for water in our assigned dining room. One litre of bottled water cost 4 Euro's plus the 15% service charge. The Guest relations person then made 2 classic comments. I was told "EVERYBODY PAYS FOR WATER" and "IF YOU DON'T WANT TO PAY FOR WATER THERE IS FREE WATER ON DECK 14'S CAFETERIA". Basically what this person was suggest to me "THE CUSTOMER" was that I should leave the deck 6 restaurant go up 8 decks to the café, get a couple of glasses of "FREE" water and then come back down to my deck 6 restaurant to drink it and then start the whole process again if I wanted more than one glass of water. What a load of crap. 0 out of 10 MSC Our first port of call was Barcelona and to say disembarkation was really terrible would be a gross misrepresentation of the facts. Security staff have to view card viewed and put the card's details into the on-board computer both going ashore and coming back on-board. To disembark over 3,000 people in Barcelona MSC has 2 security staff doing the checks. It took us over 2 hours in a line to get to the point where you could disembark. MSC organisation was again 0 out of 10. Not one person from MSC came near the line to say they were sorry about this horrid disembarkation. Horrid customer service. Shore excursions were a huge rip off. We paid 3 euros per person on a local bus for a return ticket to the town centre. If you went on the MSC bus to town the charge was 31.50 Euro's (over 10 times more). Yet another rip off. The daily news letter was like our local paper. It provided you with "Yesterdays news tomorrow". Basically it had little or no information on the port you were visiting the next day. We were told that tannoy announcements were made telling people that there was a "port information discussion" being held (somewhere and with a start time) but the loud speaker in our cabin must have been broken as we did not hear one announcement in our cabin for the entire trip. And the list of disappointments goes on. MSC basically catered for Italians so most of the shows were in Italian. We went to the first show but left after 15 minutes (for obvious reasons). We never had one of the Ships officers come and speak to us to maybe get our thoughts as to how we were enjoying the cruise. I think that they all knew the answer/s and stayed well away from their "CUSTOMERS". Not forgetting here that most people were charged 8.50 euro's per day so that MSC could tip all staff at the end of the cruise. To get a tip where I come from you have to provide "excellent customer service" and to put it bluntly none of the officers we saw about the ship deserved to be tipped but they did deserve to be coached on providing "customer excellence" so that they fully understand what the word "CUSTOMER" means. I sent my litany of complaints to both my Travel agent and MSC. My travel agent was horrified and immediately contacted the local MSC people in Australia to discuss my issues and I am to have a face to face meeting with this gentleman in the near future. However all the emails I received from MSC were platitudinous clap trap which firstly suggested that my travel agent was the cause of all my problems and secondly they gave me a hard time for not reading ALL the T's&C's in the rather laboriously long T&C documents. MSC then offered me a 10% discount on my next MSC cruise. MSC obviously didn't read or didn't care about my issues because I told them in several emails that I would never set foot on an MSC ship ever again. I really do understand that any business has to make a profit to survive but once I have paid for our cruise, (not) given over money to tip people I personally wouldn't employ, had to pay for water with an added 15% service charge (as well as a 15% surcharge on already overpriced beer and wine etc.) then I expect fantastic customer service for the many dollars I paid out for the cruise. To add a little positive note to this I must say that the food was excellent, the wait staff in the restaurant and the cabin staff were all excellent too. I'm also sure that many of the unseen staff were excellent also. To finish in as few words as possible "NEVER EVER, EVER AGAIN WITH MSC". Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We joined our ship(The Fantasia)in Barcelona and the boarding went very smoothly,the ship is beautiful in all aspects and havent got a fault with it.The staff are very efficient and do what is required of them,Bar,wine waiters,restaraunt ... Read More
We joined our ship(The Fantasia)in Barcelona and the boarding went very smoothly,the ship is beautiful in all aspects and havent got a fault with it.The staff are very efficient and do what is required of them,Bar,wine waiters,restaraunt staff,cabin staff,and the ships crew are all very good at their jobs.The food is very good,we ate in the restaraunt 6nights,as for the night we didnt we were watching the air display that accompanied the Divina celebrations.The entetainment team were very busy looking after all from 8to80 years of age and kept all very happy.We attended the ships theatre on 3 occasions and thought the shows were very good if not over a little quickly but this may go to show we were enjoying ourselves.We visited all bars and the casino and were happy with all. Our cabin was beautiful(upgraded to balcony)which was a lovely suprise,our porter was excellent and we wanted for nothing,he changed the towels at least twice in the day.The pool area was very good and there was plenty of sun beds for all and the pool attendants kept the whole area very clean.The cleaning staff kept the ship immaculate at all times and were visible 24/7.We had the occasional drink and would advise on looking into the drinks package for future travellers as this may prove to be more econimical. On the down side the food was not always pipeing hot,and as a reformed smoker there seemed not to be many restrictions on were you could smoke.On the overall Cruise i would say 9.5/10,we can all pick holes but we went to have an enjoyable holiday and not to pick holes and we had a super time. We are looking forward to the MUSICA out of Venice in late September,and another great Cruise...Roll On... Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
This was our second cruise after a great introduction to cruising in 2009 with Royal Caribbean in the Eastern Med. This time we wanted to cruise the Western Med and MSC Cruises itinerary from Barcelona seemed perfect for us. Their flagship ... Read More
This was our second cruise after a great introduction to cruising in 2009 with Royal Caribbean in the Eastern Med. This time we wanted to cruise the Western Med and MSC Cruises itinerary from Barcelona seemed perfect for us. Their flagship MSC Fantasia was also very temptating. September is also a great time for Med cruising as the weather is stil hot and the ports are somewhat quieter. Ports of call on this itinerary was Marseille-Genova-Naples-Palermo-Tunis and Palma. Very smooth embarkation, we were onboard in less than 15 minutes. Bright and airy terminal in Barcelona. MSC Fantasia is truly fantastic and we was really impressed by the size of the ship as well as the modern and shiny interior. The ship is spotless and extremely clean. We had a outside cabin on deck 13 "Arcobaleno" but we should have choosen a cabin of the same category a deck lower. This is due to nois from the sundeck above in the morning and evening when move around the sundeck chairs, creating some noise. The balconies in some parts of deck 13 is also shadowed by the sundeck above som beware of the cabinposition when you book. Otherwise the cabin was nicely decorated and the size was average, about 20 sqm.The food onboard was varied and plentiful, both in the buffet and main dining room. But don't expect juicy steaks in the diningroom. This is Italian cruising with a lot of different pasta dishes. There are two spesiality restaurants end in the Tex Mex you can have great steaks, as the t-bone steak we had there. The french resturant is also great value for money. You pay on a a'la carte basis there. Beware of pushy italians in the buffet and elevators onboard. They excisted on RCCL and at no surprise, on MSC. A lot of entertainment options are available and we preferred the bars with live music, so cozy and relaxed. Shows every evening and we attended the great Michael Jackson show, a 5 star show. As said, the ship is beautiful and the sundecks and pools are great and the adult area in the aft, called "ZEN" area was a heaven for us. Silent and cozy as well as great service from the barcrew. Very nice to talk with them as well. There are some shops onboard selling everything from duty free goods to jewellery. Great bargains som evenings in the shops onboard. Disembarking was quick and efficient and the luggage was already in the hall when we went off the ship. All in all MSC Cruises deliver great value for money and MSC Fantasia is truly fantastic. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
I will go over all the good and bad points about the cruise, which I think are important considerations when selecting a cruise. First order of business, I am not new to cruising. I have been on 9 cruises from 1992 - present. Not ... Read More
I will go over all the good and bad points about the cruise, which I think are important considerations when selecting a cruise. First order of business, I am not new to cruising. I have been on 9 cruises from 1992 - present. Not only was this my first MSC cruise, it was my first European cruise experience, and it was a little different than a typical Caribbean or Mexico cruise. Also, from what I understand, MSC cruises in the US are different than the ones in Europe, so this review is specific to the Fantasia itinerary starting at Barcelona. Ship: The MSC Fantasia is stunning. Probably the most beautiful ship I have been on. I found it to be classy and elegant; stylish but not the Vegas style of a Carnival ship. Normally on a cruise I find I am always freezing. On this ship, I found the temp to be a little warm and stuffy, which was kind of a drag when dressed up. Granted it was Sept in the Mediterranean, but usually the air conditioning is pretty cold. I also understand that Europeans are environmentally focused, and noticed that air conditioning was lacking everywhere we went. No biggie. Atmosphere: The most astonishing thing about this cruise was how quiet it was. I don't mean that I didn't hear other passengers, rather, I didn't hear announcements. While this could potentially make you feel a little disconnected from what is going on, I really loved that the announcements were kept to an absolute minimum. Since disembarkation happened at every port except Tunisia from what I understand, I never even heard the announcements to disembark except when I was waiting for it in the designated lounge. Somehow this cruise has the chaotic task of embarkation and disembarkation at every port (i.e. people starting and finishing on different islands) and still managed to run like a well oiled machine. The ship did feel a bit crowded, as some people were a little pushy and cut in lines etc. Probably true of anywhere, but we were particularly aware of it because we made an extra effort to be very quiet and polite, since we had heard that our reputations (as Americans) precede us in Europe. Safety: For anyone who has been on a US cruise, you will remember that the ship doesn't move 2 feet until the muster drill is complete. Well apparently, the maritime laws dictate that this needs to happen once in a 7day cruise. Since most passengers get on this cruise in Genoa, Italy, we did not do the muster drill until the 3rd of our cruise. For those who got on in Naples, it seems they wouldn't do this until the last day of their cruise. No big deal, but a little odd to me. Shows: These are musical in nature because so many languages are spoken by passengers. We only went to one show, and it was awful. People who went to more shows had nice things to say, but from the one that I saw, it was not up to the RCCL or CCL levels of talent I had seen. Service: This was very different than a US cruise. Neither or waiter or stateroom attendant went out of their way to introduce themselves, and the amount of English spoken by our dining staff was minimal. In the past I felt that everyone got very chummy thru the week. This was not the case. The service was very, very good, but much less personal, and some might say intrusive than what I am used to. Stateroom attendant fixed our room up spotlessly and left us ice per request every day without being reminded. Dinner staff was efficient. Ordering drinks was difficult because of a language barrier or maybe no bar selections in the dining room...hard to tell. We just had a hard time getting anything besides wine. Even beer, they asked large or small, but not what kind. The servers in the lounges and poolside wait until you look as though you need something. It was not a constant barrage of servers trying to take orders. Food: It was pretty good, not outstanding. Some was good, some was just okay. We at dinner every night in the dining room, so we didn't try all the other specialty restaurants. I would say do not eat in the sports bar, that food was weird. It was trying to be American themed (wings, sliders) and really missed the mark. The buffet food was good, but pretty heavy. I got sick of it by the end. Dinner was the best meal of the day. The dining room is a good bet if you are a foodie. Allow 2 hours for dinner in the dining room. The buffets don't run around the clock, and there is a bit of downtime between 5pm and 9:15 (for second seating) and that is when my husband started getting hungry. We either ordered room service for a snack or waited it out. Most people would not go hungry on this cruise, especially if you sample some food in port. There was a themed midnight buffet every night, including a CanapE night, Fruit Fiesta, Desserts, etc. Nothing too lavish, but many cruises have done away with this anyway. Gym, Spa: Didn't use...we just ate ourselves silly on this cruise, and didn't do a darn thing about it! Lounges, music: Very good, wide variety. Casino was also great. They had slots, poker, Blackjack, craps. Stateroom: We booked an outside stateroom, and ended up with a balcony. As such, we were in the room more than we would have been. It was wonderful. The room was bigger than usual, very comfortable, and had a couch and large bed. Bathroom was comfortable, shower was small, but typical. Most rooms on the outside had balconies, so you could get upgraded. I loved having this. It made the room feel so open and large. Cost: It is very important to note that the cost structure on this cruise is different than NCL, RCCL, etc. They charge for almost everything. Room service, water, coffee other than the HORRIBLE stuff served at breakfast. I am used to a specialty meal having a cost, but our bill was higher than what we were used to on a cruise. Add to the fact that US Dollars are low compared to Euros, the economy of this cruise shifted to being fairly costly. Just know that when you go in. If you are American, remember that a $6 drink is really a $9 drink, etc. All in all, we loved the ship, and would do this again. This cruiseline may not be for everyone, but is very good and we think it will grow in popularity. People just need to know what they are booking and what they like. It's no Carnival, maybe just a refined version of RCCL, in my very humble opinion. Happy Cruising! Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
MSC Fantasia Ratings
Category Editor Member
Rates 3.0 3.5

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