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3 MSC Cruises MSC Fantasia Cruise Reviews for Singles Cruises to Europe - Western Mediterranean

First of all I will start by saying a cruise or any holiday is what you make it and before you book any holiday DO YOUR RESEARCH!!!!!!!! many reviewers it seems just did not research what they were getting on MSC and they should have as ... Read More
First of all I will start by saying a cruise or any holiday is what you make it and before you book any holiday DO YOUR RESEARCH!!!!!!!! many reviewers it seems just did not research what they were getting on MSC and they should have as many gripes and moans could have been avoided . I booked a fly cruise package as a solo passenger and had a fantastic deal of 0% supplement and a free upgrade from outside to Balcony cabin deck 12 ,other cruise lines could not get close to what good value this was. I flew from London Gatwick with British airways to Nice airport where we got a bus transfer to Genoa , when we arrived at Nice airport we could not see any representative from MSC (other reviewers have stated the same) but rather than get annoyed and Irate we just looked for other travelers with cruise luggage tags and stood together to wait and soon enough a Rep arrived to take us to the bus. The only annoying bit was then having to go to terminal 2 and wait another half an hour for the French passengers landing. The bus transfer took 2 and a half hours but was a pleasant coastal journey with some great views . Upon arrival at Genoa an MSC Rep got onboard and spoke in French telling passengers what to do next , then she got off the bus again, rather than be annoyed I just asked on the bus "can anyone tell me what she said" and a kind passenger told me . Once in the terminal it was the same long queues I have experienced with other cruise lines but check in was quick once you got to the desk and there was not reams of form filling as with some other lines , I dodged the photographer and didnt want a complimentary drink that was on offer so we went straight to board the ship. We went straight to the Buffet and just like all other cruise lines I have been on it was noisy busy and tiresome . I do not like buffets on any cruise and MSC are no different I just use the buffet when I need to preferring the main restaurants . My cabin on Deck 12 was great and having a balcony was a bonus it had a plastic wicker look table and 2 chairs which for some reason were changed 2 days in for new furniture which I dint like as much it was a mesh type but had a foot stool no table so I had to put my drinks on the floor . some reviews had stated they didnt get bathrobes and I didnt either so I simply went to reception to ask for one and had one sent that very same day so no problem. I had better sleep than I do at home the bed was comfy but the pillows were not too good a bit soft , I could of asked for new ones but i just used 2 together and that was fine. Our dining room was the Il Cerchio d'oro we had second sitting at 8.15 which was great we had a table for 3 as we were originally 3 friends booked together but only 2 of us went in the end so we asked for a bigger table the next night and we were given a table for 4 . The table was in a quiet area and unlike other reviews we had lots of space around us and was in an ideal position. The waiters we had were fantastic, very chatty and helpful. on day 3 the haed of food and beverages was going around the restaurant seeing if passengers were happy with food and service we happen to mention that the food was a little salty for us , No problem he said , right away he fetched the head of our section who deals with the special dietary requirements we could order our food the night before and it would be cooked salt free for us , So a fantastic outcome. Also as a vegetarian About a week in to the cruise I was getting fed up with the poor choice of vegetarian options and the sameness so once again the head of section asked what I would like instead and different dishes were cooked especially for me I felt this was Amazing service . From research I knew tea and coffee was not served after dinner so we simply went to a bar for this along with a liqueur . We had the standard all inclusive drinks package that I found to be the best I have had with any cruise line so far it had everything I wanted . Only gripe was having to pay over 5 euro for a plastic souvenir glass because this was not included when ordering the cocktail . I though a nice touch was wishing all the English mothers a HAPPY MOTHERS DAY on the cruise news and making a huge cake . We felt the evening shows were great and got better as the week went on each contained amazing dancers acrobats and singers. and even some magic yes some of the story lines and arrangements were strange but the visual display was Fantastic I especially enjoyed the Michael Jackson night and Pirate night . The cruise directer did a great job of speaking in 5 different languages, something I admired rather than found irritating as other reviews had. The activities on offer during the days and evenings I expect some found rather lacking but as I have a very busy and tiring job I was content sitting on a sun lounger reading all day in between going to the bar ad using the hot tubs. My one and only gripe would be that there was not an adult only hot tub in the free to use areas , there were not many children on board so this was not a problem on this cruise but would be during the summer. I did not have any problem finding a sun lounger or table and chairs around the pools inside or out when the weather allowed I enjoyed the Zen area which is a lovely quiet space with pools hot tubs and a bar. The inside pool area was nice and warm on cooler days and again I had no problem finding somewhere to sit and could always get in the hot tubs. Bar service I did not have an issue with having researched MSC I knew they were not 'in your face' like some cruise lines so when seated and wanting a drink just a simple smile and wave of cruise card to the bar staff was all that was needed to be served and on the occasions when bars were very busy and waiting times longer I simply went and sat at the bar and was served quicker . My one gripe here is that upon asking for an English breakfast tea I did not always get the cold milk I had asked for , but having the AI drinks package if the tea had gone cold before milk arrived I just ordered another one. Ports of call were changed because of rough seas and this was disappointing and could have been relayed to us sooner than it was , but we cannot control the weather and you need to be aware of this when cruising . I had already been to the 2 new ports of Lanzarote and Gibralter so even more disappointing but we made the most of these ports and wouldnt let it spoil the holiday. I always research ports before I cruise so the lack of information given by MSC was not an issue I suggest everyone does their own research it is much better. Another reviewer commented about there being not enough toilets on board this is not true perhaps they just did not find them! many are quite hidden and not easy to find but are on each floor near bars and lifts , when having wandered around looking for them I have asked staff who directed me to them so no problems there. I found all staff very chatty and helpful all speaking adequate English I went to reception many a time to ask them questions and for help and they were very helpful and polite always. Only gripe overall was that the use of hand sanitizer was not being monitored and enforced in the food areas . As for smoking again having researched MSC I knew smoking was allowed and where it was allowed , Royal Caribbean in the Mediterranean was the same . I did not like the smoky atmosphere in some bars so just chose not to use them and why anyone would want to gamble in a Casino in the first place is beyond me! I thoroughly enjoyed this cruise it was the best value for money cruise I have had and the most relaxing and comfortable and would not hesitate booking MSC again or Recommending them. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
Things couldn't have started much worse - booked through Gill's travel online; a fortnight later they went bust ! Assumed I'd lose my deposit, but MSC got in touch & said they'd honour the booking. Think when they ... Read More
Things couldn't have started much worse - booked through Gill's travel online; a fortnight later they went bust ! Assumed I'd lose my deposit, but MSC got in touch & said they'd honour the booking. Think when they saw just how cheaply I'd got my single cabin + flights for 11 nights(under £700) they were more than a little shocked, & for a good while I feared that I'd be going nowhere even after paying the balance, but eventually got all the paperwork & turned up at Gatwick hoping the trip would actually happen ! BA flight, civilised hours, easy check-in, no problems - Genoa, well, found the MSC reps easily enough, and the wait on the coach could have been worse, but was definitely relieved actually to arrive at the ship (15 minute transfer...almost unbeatable anywhere !). Check in at the port definitely easier than RCI, and all the wine/spa/excursion/restaurant packages actually on sale on the way through, so no need to chase around the boat booking everything, though of course you could if it was all too much at once in the check-in shed. Welcomed onto the ship, though not taken to the cabin, though there were folk around who probably would have if I'd looked in need - quite happy to explore a little anyway ! Cabin(interior - lowest grade) just fine for 1, probably for 2; no intention of spending much time there, so quite happy. Attendant(from Bali..a lot of Balinese on the ship, & having visited the country I'm glad to say these were just as charming as I remember)on hand to make sure all was well; always was on hand if you needed, or just to have a chat. Luggage arrived within 10 minutes, a record ! The ship is spectacularly attractive, beautifully appointed restaurants, some 19 differently & elegantly themed bars, very smart public rooms & stylish pool decks. It's not garish & brash as some of the 'American' style boats, much more like a European Cunard or Princess. Always cleaning in progress, & plenty of emphasis on hygiene, though there were a lot of colds/coughs etc. on board; no idea if that had any relevance to the ship, but if so it wasn't for want of trying. The food is more European than some would like, but plentiful, varied and usually, with maybe one exception, entirely hot enough. All my (extremely pleasant) English table of 6 were delighted with it. English guests are in a minority, but everything's explained in English(usually first of the announced languages), and the crew converse very well in English...so communication should never be a problem there. Fellow guests..well many speak some English, though of course the French prefer not to and let us wallow,and Eurpeans aren't as good at queuing as we seem to like being, but most of the the time I'm afraid to say I found them a sight more polite and, sorry, refined than a lot of English/American/ S. American guests I've cruised with before....and if you happen to be able at least to say good morning or thank you in their language, it usually, as on most holidays, makes all the difference. You can spend a lot of money onboard, though most of the charges - service/drinks/excursions/spa etc. sre no different to 85% of other companies, and if you don't want to spend much you can have a delightful time without the need to. My bill on board was 6-7 hundred euros....I could easily have halved that; or doubled it, if I'd so wished. The choice is yours. Everything was slick & well organised. Most of the shows (bearing in mind if you're expecting British comedians etc. you really are on the wrong ship) were very well put together, so even if like me your tastes don't always entirely match what's on offer it's a very pleasant way to spend 45 mins. or so. I could go on....and on (!), but if you've read this far you get the picture. For a total base price of under £700 I don't think there's a holiday to touch it, & precious few other cruise lines who could offer anything like this sort of classy experience for anywhere near that. But....unless you realise you're going European, and are prepared to go with the flow & not expect everything to be just as it is back home, then you'll probably come home moaning like so many of the reviewers I was put off by before setting out ! It's my 6th cruise, my best(and that includes a gorgeous S. American trip with Celebrity), & I'll be very happy if the price is right to travel with MSC again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
I recently cruised on MSC's newest ship Fantasia and would like to say that while I feel every sympathy with those who experienced a less than successful cruise on her maiden voyage, I can happily report that no catastrophe was ... Read More
I recently cruised on MSC's newest ship Fantasia and would like to say that while I feel every sympathy with those who experienced a less than successful cruise on her maiden voyage, I can happily report that no catastrophe was encountered on my cruise! What an amazing ship - a stunner and certainly the largest ship I have been on! Embarkation was easy. Using MSC Express check in DOES get one through check in very quickly but DOESN'T make the slightest difference to the amount of time spent in the 'waiting room'! (Certainly those who hadn't used this facility had to stand in queues but I couldn't say how long for) The waiting room has masses of seating, a table with complimentary soft drinks and water, and the usual 'drink package' tables where you could buy tokens for the various drink packages on offer. This is exactly how I have found it on my previous cruises with MSC. All in all it took just over two hours from arrival at the port to entering my cabin and when I arrived in my balcony cabin, my luggage was already there! My cabin was spacious and beautifully fitted and I am now completely won over to the pleasure of having my own private balcony! Once again I had the pleasure of being escorted to my cabin by a white gloved gentleman who carried my hand baggage! A minor nicety I know but most appreciated on a ship of this size! The cabin was an excellent size and although I personally prefer the blond 'wood' trim on Armonia to the 'mahogany'in my cabin on this ship - it a matter of personal taste! The majority of public areas on the ship have been designed with what I would call 'Italian retro panache'!!! Some were a trifle startling when first glimpsed, but further inspection showed incredible design flair, although the upholsters probably thought it was a nightmare!  Masses of custom made sofas and chairs! I am in full agreement with Mulliner regarding the Tex Mex (El Sombrero) and the Wine Bar (La Cantina Toscana) in finding these areas lacking in cutting edge style. The design was more 60s 'oldy worldy' pub than anything else in my opinion! I never saw either of these venues well attended which rather surprised me since their offerings were very reasonably priced (An Ensalada Tijuana, classic Caesar salad was €2.90 or Barbecued spare ribs at €4.90 in the Tex Mex and a glass of wine with meaty nibbles €4 or a Bottle of wine with two plates of Italian Cheeses and cold meats at €26 (for two people) Perhaps the majority felt like I did and preferred more congenial comfortable surroundings. Il Transatlantico was my favourite bar not least because it was the closest to my cabin! I was assigned to a window table in the Cherchio D'Oro restaurant with very pleasant dining companions. I certainly saw no lack of space as described in previous reviews and in general the service was excellent, always delivered with a smile and impeccable manners. On occasion service was a little slow but never late enough to disrupt any of the evenings' planned activities (shows etc).The food was perfectly acceptable and at times exceptional! While at times it wasn't piping hot, it was NEVER cold.  I would say that perhaps the menu descriptions in English leave a lot to be desired and MSC would be well advised to use better English descriptions in their menus. A thing I also missed on this cruise is that I never once saw the Dinner/Lunch Menus displayed in the custom built display cases outside the restaurants. I have experienced this on other MSC Cruises and find it odd that they were missing on Fantasia, particularly in view of the fact that there are other eating venues on board, including fee paying restaurants! A missed opportunity for MSC I think! After the first evening when I accepted an offered glass of iced water, it was there within seconds of my arrival in the dining room on every other evening! Breakfast was slightly different! The staff were too speedy in that the cooked items arrived before the fruit or cereals!!! A polite word was all that was needed to cure that problem! I only visited the cafeteria once at breakfast time but it was too much of a bun fight for my liking so I generally went to the dining room! (Admittedly I did attend fairly late on the first morning of the cruise and I think the majority of people on the ship had the same idea so it was very crowded!!!) I must say though that I saw no unruly behaviour among people queuing at the various service stations and the waiting/clearing staff gave very prompt service. I would also point out that I ordered juice and coffee from room service each morning (free).  My biggest complaint about the food on this cruise is that I personally found the coffee very very poor indeed and the fruit juice a very watered down version of what I would term fruit juice , all obtained from room service, cafeteria and restaurant). I also disliked the fact that the only coffee available on breakfast room service menu was decaffeinated! The coffee available from bars was excellent and not too expensive at €2.10 for a latte. Quite often when I didn't want a full breakfast, I had a latte and a warm croissant (the croissant was free!) in the Fantasia lounge. I didn't try the tea but did see that the teabags available in the cafeteria were varied flavours and of good branded quality. Computer time is expensive with the minimum amount of time being €25 for an hour. MSC should consider introducing a half hour time slot at half of that price. I also wish that MSC would remove the 'free' games (the usual Microsoft culprits, Free Cell, Hearts etc) so that people did not feel they had the right to sit and play these games for hours thus preventing people who had paid for computer time from using the computers! In this respect I was at fault for not reporting this problem to reception however I have since reported this problem to MSC. Children were not the only culprits here and when asked, the adults were the ones who refused to allow paying customers access!!! I hope they were suitably ashamed when the children willingly gave up their seats and waited patiently for paying customers to finish! For those who continually complain in reviews about announcements (in five languages!) I counted precisely 7 announcements which were broadcast over the public PA system and just 2 broadcast in the cabin itself(the latter relating to safety drills). Thankfully I heard NO entreaties to attend art auctions or buy an inch of gold, nor announcements about cocktails of the day (all necessitating spending money!) Admittedly I did not attend other functions where this would be necessary (i.e. entertainment activity such as Bingo, Dance Lessons, Quizzes) but since these are all timed leisure activities, I really do not see the problem with hearing everything 5 times although it is very slightly irritating but CERTAINLY NOT a reason for complaint on a ship of non-British/English origin. On this cruise, I would hazard a guess that Germans were in the majority and I believe that changes radically during the months of July and August to Italian. Should you have a dislike of lots of children on board, July and August would be the months to avoid. There were some children on this cruise and I have to say I didn't see any really badly behaved 'loose' children. The whole mix was very interesting with Spanish (both mainland and Canary and Balearic islands), French, Turkish, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Polish, Romanian, Dutch, Norwegian and Swedish, and these were just the people I spoke to!!! Very cosmopolitan! I didn't attend any of the shows personally. I heard some good and mixed reports about the content, for example two people I met who had diametrically opposing views of exactly the same show! This does rather proves the point that shows, whether at sea or on land, are a matter of personal taste and it would be impossible to please everyone!!! This especially applies to ships with a multinational passengers list which necessitates the shows being visual and musical only because of the problem with languages. It always strikes me as odd that those who complain about the lack of comedians in the shows are generally also the people who complain most about announcements in five languages! The Theatre was designed for its purpose therefore sight lines are excellent. I didn't book any excursions (which did appear to be quite expensive but definitely on a par with every other cruise line I have been on). The shuttle charge of €5/6 euro is definitely common to other cruise lines I have sailed on. On previous cruises with MSC, there were talks given on every port of call (given by the English speaking representative) It would seem that these are no longer available. Also previously, all of the excursions were outlined on a channel on TV but I was unable to find such a thing. Perhaps I just didn't look hard enough! Like every other cruise ship, one is plagued by the ubiquitous photographer! At €19 the prints seemed very expensive to me! Last time I bought one on MSC they were £10 (then €15) so they have increased by 26% in 3 years in real terms but 70% including current exchange rate! Drinks were decidedly expensive at €6.90 for a G & T.  Some of this is assuredly in the exchange rate but surely not all!!! The prices were known to me at the time of booking but taking what I paid for the whole cruise in to account, I cannot complain too much!!! A glass of wine at €3.50 or a half carafe at €8.80 didn't seem too expensive to me. In several local restaurants here in the UK, the cost of a glass is £4 and £10 for ½ carafes. Many people I met solved the problem to some extent by buying alcohol and mixers when in port and would accordingly have a pre dinner drink in their cabin and ditto for a nightcap! I was told (by other passengers) that bringing bottles on board was not a problem. At NO time did I see any passengers in the bars drinking anything other than drink purchased from waiters. One person also informed me that when they purchased DF drinks in the on board shop on the 4th day of the cruise, they were allowed to take it directly to their cabin! This is certainly not what is printed in the brochures/newsletters! Disembarkation was smooth. Passengers were asked to go and sit in specific areas according to destination. Contrary to a remark I have read, all nationalities gathered in the theatre, not just British!. Coloured labels (which denote your flight) were provided for luggage and as is customary on cruises, luggage is left outside your cabin and is removed at some early hour. It is taken to a holding area where it is set out in bays according to label colour from where it is collected. You then take it to your coach in the car park where it is loaded prior to your journey to the airport. Would I cruise with MSC again - CERTAINLY - perhaps on one of the smaller ships next time though! Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
MSC Fantasia Ratings
Category Editor Member
Rates 3.0 3.5

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