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5 MSC Cruises MSC Fantasia Cruise Reviews for Senior Cruises to Caribbean - All

My wife and I initially chose this cruise because of the original itinerary. Due to the hurricane damage last year the cruise destinations had to be altered which resulted in a number of islands being visited twice. This was not the fault ... Read More
My wife and I initially chose this cruise because of the original itinerary. Due to the hurricane damage last year the cruise destinations had to be altered which resulted in a number of islands being visited twice. This was not the fault of MSC but if we had cancelled the cruise we would still have had to pay the cost of the return flights from London Gatwick to Barbados. It has to be said straight away that this cruise line places itself in the budget end of the market and from that viewpoint it represents reasonable value for money.However if you are looking for a decent cruise experience avoid this cruise like the plague.Right from the start there were issues with transport from Barbados Airport to the cruise ship and the buses provided were old and small with no external space for hand luggage which resulted in hand luggage being carried on your knees for a 40 minute journey. Not comfortable at all! Cabins are of reasonable size and quality, but provide very little space for clothes and TVs are small and only have two news channels in English. Dinner in the main restaurant is not like other cruise lines.There is little choice with repetitive meals and small portions which vary greatly in quality.Neither is any coffee served with meals. There is one single buffet for a cruise ship with some 4500 passengers and 1500 crew. Table space was a struggle at the best of times but for the single all day at sea there were still long queues to get in,even at 3pm in the afternoon.Observance of hygiene standards was very hit and miss with hygiene point of entry dispensers more often than not,not working at all. Having travelled on ships with other cruise lines it was questionable whether this ship was fully using its stabilisers because at times the rise and fall of the ship was quire noticeable even though the sea was comparitively calm. Evenig shows were timed so for example the early dinner sitting of 6.30pm the show did not start until 9.30pm or later. The shows were repetetive and all in Italian and the majority were different variants of Opera.Don't get me wrong my wife and I enjoy Opera but there was simply too much of it, and virtually nothing of anything else. It should also be commented that drinks cannot be purchased or taken into the theatre. One of the worst aspects of this cruises was that the ship was classified as a Ferry ship and for example berthed in the Ferry terminal of Martinique and not in Simon Pier which is where regular cruise ships dock. As a result the ship was full of Caribbean locals who are able to purchase cheap tickets. Martinique was not alone in this, as this also for example applied to Guardeluope.Why was this so bad? Well, because at every port where passengers embarked time was taken for their safety drill/life jackets etc. This was not carried out in a specific part of the ship or out on deck,as you would normally expect but was carried out through the entire ship in multi languages. For those passengers who were on their cruise and not embarking all social activity was stopped on each occasion and this included all the bars etc.For example, my wife and I together with some friends waited in a bar which was crowded with new people who had embarked where the bar was closed from 8.35pm until 10.15pm.This is a regular occurrence and is not what you expect when you pay a lot of money for a cruise to the Caribbean Islands! My wife and I purchased a number of shore excursions with MSC before we started the cruise and chose to do our own thing at other ports as is the norm. However, there was one port where we had not purchased an excursion so we decided to view the available excursions that were shown on the cabin TV. Imagine our surprise when the TV indicated that excursions were not available or were only available for passengers who were disembarking the ship en route to their airport. It was only a few days later when we encountered an excursion rep were we told that the information on the TV was incorrect and that all excursions were available to purchase! However nothing was changed in this respect by MSC so obviously they were not interested in correcting this misleading information. As a final point it should be noted that on four consecutive nights we received a leaflet in our cabin which said that our balcony was going to be cleaned and to ensure that the balcony doors and curtains were closed for privacy. Fair enough, but it did not happen for three days and then the balcony was drenched in the morning with high power hoses on the fourth day. Well in the afternoon after returning from an excursion whilst we were sitting on the balcony the same thing happened. Balcony cleaning comprised of two high power jets of water being fired across the balcony into the glass balcony doors. As a result the floor of the balcony was like a swimming pool and the balcony furniture was soaked but there was no follow up service to either clean the balcony or remove any of the water. What an experience but never again will be booking a cruise with MSC because of what has been mentioned above in this review. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
We chose this cruise because thought we'd be going to 10 different islands in fact we went to 8 islands, a day and 2 nights at sea, three of the islands we visited twice the two French islands we visited was to pick up locals on 7day ... Read More
We chose this cruise because thought we'd be going to 10 different islands in fact we went to 8 islands, a day and 2 nights at sea, three of the islands we visited twice the two French islands we visited was to pick up locals on 7day cruises who were only paying €200-300 and kids went free, so not only was we acting like a ferry service, it felt like we were subsidising their cruise and being used by MSC for their own convenience, so after the first week we just did the same one the second week hence " one cruise for two weeks" Other problems was the food in the restaurant, a lot of which was inedible and was sent back the alternative offered was French fries! yet it was supposed to be "Gourmet Food" that was an insult to fine dining, when we spoke to a member of the management she said " they had no control over the kitchen as to the menu as it was a catering company" All the staff were brilliant and overall the ship was nice but MSC need to get their act together This was our first cruise with MSC and I won't be going with them again Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
We choose there Fantasia because of the schedule, 9 islands in 14 days sailing from Barbados. First impressions of the ship were good, huge,glitzy, and full of things to keep us amused. That soon changed. What we didn't know was ... Read More
We choose there Fantasia because of the schedule, 9 islands in 14 days sailing from Barbados. First impressions of the ship were good, huge,glitzy, and full of things to keep us amused. That soon changed. What we didn't know was that the ship would be picking up passengers on route at 5 of the 9 islands we visited which resulted in pandamoniium on those change over days. Firstly we found that new arrivals were held in certain areas of the ship waiting for their cabins, and we were excluded from those areas while they waited. And all new passengers had to do lifeboat drill, OK, but when it's done 5 times and mostly about 6pm when you want to sit and relax with a drink, oh no, sorry we were told can't serve drinks while lifeboat drill was ongoing, not even a tea or coffee!!!!!! If felt more like we were on a huge ferry, food times were manic, if you sit at the 9pm late sitting as we did, we were stil eating at 10.30pm!!!! Also the portions given were meagre. We decided to eat at the Buffet, always plenty of choice, but noisy and crowded. More like eating in a Weatherspoons but you have to get it yourself. We had a cabin with balcony on deck 10, we were happy with our accommodation and the service we received from our cabin boy. But all common areas on the upper decks especially the pool area were far to crowded most days, when there is 4000 people on a boat, you have to be lucky to get the seat or sun lounger you want unless you are the first one up early in the day. Ullimatley, we got to see the islands and that was our main aim, but the whole experience on board the ship was a disapointment. If you want to go to the Carribean, choose a smaller ship not a Ferry. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
We booked this cruise over a year ago because of the attractive price but what was a bargain turned out to be the cruise from hell. It all started from the embarkation process on arrival at Bridgetown after a long flight from London and ... Read More
We booked this cruise over a year ago because of the attractive price but what was a bargain turned out to be the cruise from hell. It all started from the embarkation process on arrival at Bridgetown after a long flight from London and having to collect our cases And lug them to a van for delivery to the ship then the awful wait queueing up for outdated buses to take us to the ship was a farce as their was no facility to store hand luggage everything had to be placed on our knee the customer service rep was not sympathetic to this and herded us on like cattle we then left for a 40 minute run to Bridgetown not so we were held up at the jetty in a convoy as only 1 coach could go on the jetty at a time time from landing at 2.45 pm till eventually getting on the ship at 5.45pm was poor we then left the ship was itself was clean as was the cabin however the ship moved around a lot for such a large ship I would question if the full use of the stabilisers were being used as with some cruise companies they are not as it is a cost or fuel saving exercise, I was not impressed with the food It was very repetitive okay if you liked turkey or pork and didn’t cater for the British palette, entertainment what can I say we were not able to see anything in the theatre as with the food it was always in French or Italian, the Manhattan Bar which we liked was the same show every evening and got pretty repetitive we didn’t sit in any of the other lounges as nothing was sung in English the British were not catered for at all and when we spoke to other British passengers they felt the same. Each island the ship visited ther was a disembarkation and a embarkation of passengers from those islands who seemed to be on cheap deals to fill the ship and when this happened we had to listen to the emergency drill through the tannoy system each day also the crew had to go through their own drills these occasions this meant that we were on an oversized ferry rather than a cruise ship most of the British people we spoke with felt the same and had never experienced this on any other cruises they had been on also at each Island the departure was quite early which seemed to be the ship was in a rush to get the people on and off had we known in advance all this information we would never ever booked this cruise and after 1 week all we wanted to do was get back home for our part this was a wast of money and we will never use MSC again if we had never been on an other cruise company we would be put off cruising altogether. We believe we should have been forewarned of all these points before committing to a booking Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
We were travelling with parents to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary. Chosen for the location and itinerary which was excellent with a few new places to discover. The cruise price wasn't cheap but overall not stupid for a two ... Read More
We were travelling with parents to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary. Chosen for the location and itinerary which was excellent with a few new places to discover. The cruise price wasn't cheap but overall not stupid for a two week cruise. We also had the advantage of being able to have balcony rooms next to each other. Embarkation was the best I have ever experienced. The main foyer was beautiful with crystal staircases and lots of marble. The special holiday was one big regret from our first meal. My parents are 80 years young and this could be their last special holiday. My heart sank at the overall disappointment. 1st meal was up in the buffet lounge of which afterwards we avoided at all costs having to suffer the appalling food twice more throughout our stay. They had a hotdog/burger bar which didn't look appealing. If you take children food could be an issue from poor choices. The food was really poor quality, the place scruffy looking not worth the trek up. We usually enjoy going to the buffet for breakfast and lunch or afternoon snack but not on the Fantasia. Dining room experience was average. not enough staff so lacked personality. The exception was Antonio from El Salvador. Great fun and good at his work. Sadly he went home after week 1. The food was good but not typically English for those wishing for a more bland palate. You did have to buy water which you could incorporate with the expensive wine package. No after dinner coffee. I have never been on a ship where you had to buy water at meal times we were pretty much annoyed by that. Not forgetting that 15% We requested a large table a booking and was told we were on a table of 8 before departure. It was just the 4 of us on a table for 4. We requested a change but it didn't occur. Bar experience was lacking. Took ages to get served by some waiter without personality. I don't think they were really trained properly as getting a smile out of some was awkward. We put the slow service down to people buying expensive drinks packages and MSC policy of slowing down the drinking but that is our theory. A shame really as the singers in the main atrium were really good and worth a listen to. It tended to be the same two singers every night which did become tedious. The downside of this ship really was the fact that several times a week people from all over the world were departing and arriving. I believe this had an affect on the atmosphere of the ship as you never got to know anyone unlike others I have been on. You were constantly moved from one area to another as barriers were in place to accommodate the changes and you did have to listen on those days to the loud speaker giving the new boarder drill in several languages. A bit annoying but didn't really ruin the day. 15% on everything did have an effect on our on board spends and on our tips. We always tip but did hardly any this time. Taking it out on the staff but you know. Most didn't work that hard. The only ship I will hopefully avoid in the future. Excursions not used We did use the doctor. He was excellent. No complaints in that department. pros - clean - great itinerary - good drinks once served - nice food in dining room - good breakfast in dining room - good singers in atrium - beautifully decorated - con - expensive packages - no personality - shortage of staff issues - lack of staff training - 15% on everything bought - no water at the dining table - lack of finishing touches in the cabin by cabin staff - lack of customer service overall. Terrible buffet lounge. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
MSC Fantasia Ratings
Category Editor Member
Rates 3.0 3.5

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