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16 MSC Cruises MSC Orchestra Group and Theme Cruise Reviews

The ship is nice and the balcony cabines are looking good also. The food was low cost quality. The strongest point of this cruise was the staff, with special remarks for Miguel, the waiter in cigar bar. Ship and entertainment ... Read More
The ship is nice and the balcony cabines are looking good also. The food was low cost quality. The strongest point of this cruise was the staff, with special remarks for Miguel, the waiter in cigar bar. Ship and entertainment information are delived on board daily. Trips organized are expensive and is better to do your own programm on each stop, according to your preferences. Dinning in a la carte restaurants is for people having patience to be served with medium quality dishes. Overall it wasn't bed, but didn't meet our expectations. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Came with great expectations - none were met. The food was shameful - no way there was a chef in the galley, a home cook could put more flavour and could cook more authentic ethnic food than what we received. The Indonesian bar and cabin ... Read More
Came with great expectations - none were met. The food was shameful - no way there was a chef in the galley, a home cook could put more flavour and could cook more authentic ethnic food than what we received. The Indonesian bar and cabin crew were amazing! The European crew were rude, lazy and just didn't care about the passengers concerns. Their infection control was non existent leading to a respiratory virus do the rounds up to three times, the only way to get better was to get off the boat. I felt sorry for Gallipoli cruises who were the meat in the sandwich. They chartered the ship feeling that if there were concerns from the passengers, MSC would address those. That most definately did not happen. What should have been an amazing holiday was marred by these memories of MSC. My recommendation to anyone looking at cruising - NEVER cruise with MSC! Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
As this was a charter cruise we paid above market price for this cruise and knew it. But even so we were expecting a 5 star ship and cruise because of the way MSC Orchestra had been sold to us. Also because of Orchestras own advertising - ... Read More
As this was a charter cruise we paid above market price for this cruise and knew it. But even so we were expecting a 5 star ship and cruise because of the way MSC Orchestra had been sold to us. Also because of Orchestras own advertising - the ship looks much prettier in photos, boasts wonderful food and friendly staff. First - the ship itself was immaculate, it was so clean at times it actually inconvenienced passengers. There were days we couldn't use our balconies when they were being cleaned. This is this first ship we have been on that has no chairs on the promenade deck which was really odd and they were constantly washing it!! This was were the smokers also could linger, not a bad thing as they couldn't congregate, no chairs. Inside was as clean, but most ships are now maintained at this level. First time we were made to feel like we as passengers interfered with the schedules though. Embarkation - was quite fast and fairly smooth considering the fact that MSC had never docked at Fremantle before. It took some time to get our luggage to our rooms but I think most passengers had theirs before midnight. Service - well .... made the mistake (we think) of buying the Alegrissmo package. Service is slow to non existent. This wasn't helped by the fact that the ship was full of Aussies who insisted on fronting up to the bars themselves and insisted on face to face service from the bar staff. Then they remained at the bars!! This ship went through a lot of firsts I think, we drank them out of quite a few beers, wines, spirits etc. But aside from the bad behaviour of some of the passengers ( in the opinions of the staff ) service was the worst we have experienced!! If you got one coffee you were lucky, don't expect two! Though we had the package that included unlimited, silly us!! The staff were there they just ambled around, looked busy, served one of two, disappeared???? Dining - food was adequate. Again had been led to expect 5 star, it was just 3 star. Though there seemed to be plenty, there was no flavour in the meals, desserts were very ordinary, the breads were quite good. Our staff in the main dining room were excellent however as were our dining companions, every evening was a joy. Made the cruise!! The buffet served up a very ordinary, sufficient fare but nothing exciting or over the top. Entertainment - we actually provided a lot of our own Aussie entertainers on this cruise, who were great, but the MSC entertainers also had a night here and there. So, a couple of lovely female singers, a particularly strange Italian male singer who started off the cruise trying to sing like Frank Sinatra - downhill for him from there! They had some great acrobatic performers and dancers, though I found the dancing couple who do the daytime classes rather over rated! No band was also a bit disappointing. Activities - they ran a sort of bingo, but honestly the American cruise lines are so much better at this! I'm sure there were lots of other activities but again because it was a charter cruise, there were so many things that were done by our organisers and some by MSC it is a little hard to comment here. Disembarkation - was very fast and efficient in Rome. They have done this many times. Summary: At Istanbul we noticed a change in staff from predominately Asian to a lot more European. I would say Italian as this was an Italian line but not sure, they were rude, surly, not at all friendly or ready to smile and communicate like the previous staff members had been. Perhaps they didn't like Australians; but how would they know, I didn't see any new staff members in the bars, buffet or around the ship trying? Do I say something about everyone getting sick? This was not MSC's fault, this will happen in any environment were people group together for extended periods of time. We were our own worst enemies when it came to the floating flu!! So, this ship looks like a beautiful ship, acts like a beautiful ship but inside behaves and is a 3 ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Ship. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Firstly the positives - the restaurant, bar and entertainment staff were fantastic, always smiling and wanting to help. We were a family of 4 with 2 teenage chlldren. We booked 2 years before cruising when the children were smaller (due ... Read More
Firstly the positives - the restaurant, bar and entertainment staff were fantastic, always smiling and wanting to help. We were a family of 4 with 2 teenage chlldren. We booked 2 years before cruising when the children were smaller (due to special nature of the Gallipoli Cruise that we went on). In that 2 years my 2 boys grew into adult sized pubescent smelly 'little adults'. Despite several emails to the organiser of the cruise mentioning the cabin suitability for what is essentially 4 adults - I was reassured that all would be fine. So in the end we paid A LOT of money to have 4 adult sized people crammed into a tiny cabin (with no doors or windows or ventilation) that stank of smelly teenage boys after the second day, so the next 34 days were very uncomfortable. I went to speak to the organisers after 2 days to request to upgrade to a cabin that would actually accommodate us in more humane conditions - to be told they were very busy and would get back to me within 24hours. Despite offering to pay the difference in price to a larger cabin, I never heard from them again. We had 2 other lots of friends who complained on the ship about their cabins (noise from decks above and and odour) and they were upgraded (at no cost), but they didn't even bother to answer our plea for a more humane trip. Needless to say only 10 days into a 36 day trip I got sick with flu like symptoms, fever and cough, and then for the rest of our cabin - all 4 of us were infected and at varying stages of illness and recovery for the rest of the cruise. The medical facilities were seriously inadequate with English language issues (medical staff were Croatian???), the "pharmacy" ran out of Paracetamol in the first week and never restocked??? The medical centre charged a fee of $90 just to see the Doctor to get paracetamol (without even an examination). I am a nurse and my husband is a doctor and we were stunned at the lack of English and poor medical treatment. Combine this with the total lack of supervision of passengers at crucial places like the buffet - where we witnessed sniffling children with their hands in parmesan cheese, adults putting their hands all over the spouts of water dispensers etc etc. with no supervision or guidance by staff. It is NO WONDER over half the ship was sick by halfway through the cruise. So disappointed with the performance of this company and this cruise. The kids activities for children aged 12-14 were much younger than was appropriate for their age, and mine were (understandably) not interested in attending after a couple of sessions. Nothing like previous cruise experiences we have had. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
The Italian staff on this ship were rude, arrogant and often told us lies. They need the sack! The Balinese staff, on the other hand were excellent - friendly, helpful, caring, considerate and could not do enough for you. The food was ... Read More
The Italian staff on this ship were rude, arrogant and often told us lies. They need the sack! The Balinese staff, on the other hand were excellent - friendly, helpful, caring, considerate and could not do enough for you. The food was a disgrace. I got food poisoning 3 times - twice from milk that had gone off and once from apricots that had been dried and then re-hydrated. The chefs tried to make food from different nationalities, but failed miserably. The Australian food night had sushi for an entree, for example. The chef had obviously done no research into what Australians ate. The food on the Thai night was so bland we could not taste any spices at all. There was not a single night where I could say that the food tasted authentic to the particular nationality being claimed to be served. On an Italian ship even the pasta was gluggy. The buffet was badly laid out. The bread and toast were about 30 m away from the margarine and jams, for instance. On such a long cruise they kept running out of more and more foods. These were not replaced / restocked during the cruise. During embarkation we saw frozen meat fall out of its packaging onto the port. It was picked up and pushed back onto the crate, presumably to be served to some unwitting passenger. The meat was definitely not thrown away as it should have been. Many passengers caught the flu from each other. The staff did not put any disinfectant into the air conditioning system (as is done on oil riggs) to try to prevent the spread of the germs. When passengers went to see the doctor they were given only enough medicine to get them to the next port, as the doctor was running out of stock of vital medicines including antibiotics and paracetamol. Passengers were told to buy their own at the next port, as the ship was not restocking on medicines till after the cruise had finished. In my opinion this is pure neglect of the passengers safety. Embarkation and disembarkation were both done poorly. If you did not know better you would have thought that they had never done this before. The staff seemed to have no systems in place. Different passengers were asked for different information on embarkation, which caused embarrassing situations later for those of us that had never been asked for our credit card details, for instance. The entertainment on the ship was quite good, the cabins were clean and well maintained. The captain did seem to know what he was doing and steered the ship well. The shore excursions went well, as they were not organised by MSC. The value for money was definitely not there. Overall, I would not recommend MSC Cruises to my worst enemy. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
OK, 35 nights cruising for one's first cruise could be problematic! NOT loved the cruising, despised the European cruise staff. Best bits: Our dinner table companions (overwhelmingly the best thing about the cruise) ... Read More
OK, 35 nights cruising for one's first cruise could be problematic! NOT loved the cruising, despised the European cruise staff. Best bits: Our dinner table companions (overwhelmingly the best thing about the cruise) Visiting Gallipoli Nice cabin (balcony on deck 12) - clean, adequate storage, comfy bed, good maid. Tour out of Naples to Sorrento & Amalfi Coast Dinner waiters Days at sea (lots) - peaceful etc. History lecture series - unparalleled I'm told by many (I didn't attend) OK bits: Entertainment. Good variety of Australian artists. Impressive cruise staff performances. Theatre was usually full. Coffee (paid for) once you sorted out how you liked your coffee (inevitable differences between countries). Visiting the various countries/sights. Although, be warned - one day stops make it a brief & stressful race to get off, get somewhere & get back on the ship. NOT leisurely, you don't get to see much or experience the ambience. The rest of it: Food was appalling - not even one-star. All tasted pretty much the same & was out of bain-maries - warm & re-heated tasting. Apart from ordering poached eggs etc or smoked salmon in the dining room at breakfast. Of course you could live off the adequate muesli & fruit selection. But that was not the way the ship was advertised. However I did lose weight (7kg) - not a bad thing but unexpected. Italian staff would smile but were inanimate, disinterested & only helpful if really really pushed (politely). Drinks packages were a joke. They saw us coming - premium allegrissimo alcoholic & non-alcoholic. No way we could come close to getting value for money ($4500). Other reviewers have said it all. Running out of drinks, no service etc etc. We even had the bar staff refuse to serve us an icecream in a cone (at the icecream bar with cones in sight). The wretched respiratory bug - nightmare. Duty of care non-existent. One wonders, was the ship working to a budget? The food was so so bad. Where did all our money go? About $50,000. Yes. Plus the pre-paid gratuities. We worked out every staff member could have received approx. 600 Euro - bet they didn't. I don't regret the cruise - Gallipoli etc - but feel a bit foolish & cheated - captive for 5 weeks with crap food on a beautiful looking, clean & glamorous floating hotel. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Irish Naval Association Dublin 7th May to 15th May 2011 Our group of 49 travelled to Copenhagen on board SAS Airlines. The coach was waiting on our arrival and took us straight to the Cruise Line MSC Orchestra, ... Read More
Irish Naval Association Dublin 7th May to 15th May 2011 Our group of 49 travelled to Copenhagen on board SAS Airlines. The coach was waiting on our arrival and took us straight to the Cruise Line MSC Orchestra, There was no delay and the check-in was very efficient. They take your credit card details and issue you with their own credit card which is your the key to your cabin, boarding and disembarking identity card and the card you use for purchase of drinks and items from duty free and onboard shops. When booking they tell you there is a €7 per person per day gratuity which at your discretion will be added to your bill. This is the first negative comment as it is added daily. We asked that it not be added until the end of the Cruise but they insisted they were adding it and we would have to discuss its removal at the end of the cruise, but to be honest we were very satisfied with the service of all their staff. It would be better they added the gratuity to the overall cost and forget about adding it to the bill. The ship was stunning and top of the range in luxury. We sat for our first evening meal and of course not been used to Italian food we ordered starter, main course and sweet, which when served was very small portions so we actually left the table still Hungry. This was our first mistake. The Menu was a 5 to 6 course menu and we should have ordered all 6 items on the menu Appetizer, Soup, Starter, Main Course, Sweet and finally Cheese Board . (ask for more if you like any of the items) Wine for the table is approx €20 per bottle, however, for €8 you can order a carafe of house wine which is approx 6 glasses, and very good wine. On Deck 13 there is the Buffet Bar opened basically all day until 9pm. Tea and Coffee and drinking water are all free 24 hours. You can help yourself to perhaps every conceivable dish you would want . The usual Fry-Up, Burgers, chips, salads, fish, sweet, cakes, fruit etc.etc. So there is no reason to go hungry on the cruise, and there is plenty of places to sit and eat. You are charged for bottle water at your dinner table which is very silly and at €3 is a stupid addition and takes greatly from the overall impression of the cruise and ship. HOWEVER!!! Your can get drinking water free on Deck 13 24 hours a day so although from a health point they do not allow you fill a bottle. You can of course take as many glasses of the water to you table and fill your water bottle at your table. The shows were short approx 30 minutes, but small is wonderful, and you will really enjoy the wonderful variety of the shows. This leaves you plenty of time to sit in the many bars each with their own evening entertainment and always plenty of room to sit, so no need to rush out after the show to grab a seat. The groups and musicians in the various bars are great. Another nice gesture from the ship was that at approx 11pm every evening waiters came around with trays of sandwiches as much as you wanted. One evening they rolled in the chefs and trolleys and prepared pancakes for anyone that wanted them. On our last night on the Ship they opened the Buffet Restaurant at 10pm and stayed open until 1am for the last night Banquet. Again every type of food you copuld think of was there for you to eat and of course no extra charge. I cannot express the absolute class and quality of MSC Orchestra, but next was the scenery, never in my lifetime and having covered many countries over the years had I been prepared for the stunning scenery up the Norwegian Fjords. It was also a great surprise to find the Ship docked almost in the Town at all places we visited. Only once did we anchor and the Ship used its own Landing craft to take us ashore and back to the ship. There was possibly 20 to 30 of the Ships motor boats holding enough to get everyone ashore and back without any need to queue. The cost of the excursions were expensive which is normal on Cruise Ships, However if you get to know enough people on the Ship you can go the local tourist office ashore and get 15% discount for 10 or more. The 15% is also off a much cheaper price at the Tourist Office than on the ship. This applies to the Hop-on Hop-off services in most cities. So get 10 together when going ashore and save money. Our over-all impressions. The Ship was terrific, Scenery was amazing, Food was great, Shows were great, Thanks to all who helped make this a memorable Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Critique of MSC POESIA 1/16/2010 Sailing traveler1019 Having viewed the virtual tour of the MSC POESIA prior to our sailing, my wife and I anticipated an enjoyable journey to the western Caribbean from Fort Lauderdale. In truth, the ship ... Read More
Critique of MSC POESIA 1/16/2010 Sailing traveler1019 Having viewed the virtual tour of the MSC POESIA prior to our sailing, my wife and I anticipated an enjoyable journey to the western Caribbean from Fort Lauderdale. In truth, the ship itself was magnificently appointed. The theater was high tech in all respects and we were really impressed. However, as it has been said, "Beauty is skin-deep", and that, unfortunately is where it ended. We had been to all of the ports before, so there wasn't too much to comment on there. What we can comment on is the service on the ship, or lack thereof, starting with the extended wait in line to embark. The ship was berthed in a fairly shabby section of the Fort Lauderdale terminal as compared to other areas of the port we had embarked from on previous occasions. After entering the ship we dropped our carry-ons in our rather small, but nicely appointed, clean, and neat balcony stateroom. Incidentally, and to our surprise, smoking was permitted in the room,,,,and not on the balcony. Went up to the buffet and had lunch which was satisfactory. On deck there were many service personnel to be seen, but service was almost non-existent to say the least. You actually had to almost grab one of them by the arm to get them to remove dishes, etc. They mostly ignored everyone, except the girl that had charge of the ash trays. She was a consummate professional in the execution of her duties, attempting to dis-allow more than one ashtray per table. Dinner was another story. Our waiter seemed to speak very little English and his helper even less. This is surprising for a line that is catering to English speaking passengers, although there were many guests from France, Germany, Latin America, etc. Announcements were made in five languages ALL THE TIME. The dinner menu was limited to three choices with a few items that were always available. I had expected that, being an Italian line, the food would be outstanding. This was certainly not the case and we were very disappointed. with the food selections and food quality. After dinner we visited the casino for a while, made our donations, and went to the theater for the show, and later to the buffet on the upper deck, which was non-existent. There was nothing to eat anywhere, just coffee. Very disappointing to say the least. So ended the first day. Not a good omen. The above was repeated for the remainder of the cruise. The final insult was their "Grand Gala Buffet", which was a complete disaster, to the point where several of our group acquired a touch of food poisoning. I, and several others, spent the final day sick in bed. The shows were all about the same every night, with few exceptions, but the lounge dancers were multi-talented and performed in the lounges after the shows and seemed to work harder than anyone else on the ship. Their tribute to Michael Jackson was excellent. Toward the end of the cruise a large group of guests decided to have the service charges removed from their bills in order to reward the people that had truly given them good service, the cabin attendants and the waiters. The headwaiters were inattentive and occasionally argumentative and rude to the guests. The accounting department people were rude and uncooperative, but finally gave in, but not without giving everyone a hard time. All-in-all, this was an experience I will never repeat. MSC, take a good look as I leave because I am never coming back. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
Ok, we just came back from the MSC Orchestra Caribbean cruise and I must say it was fantastic! What a great time and what a great ship! All those who have complained about the food, service, friendliness, etc. of the ship, I am not sure if ... Read More
Ok, we just came back from the MSC Orchestra Caribbean cruise and I must say it was fantastic! What a great time and what a great ship! All those who have complained about the food, service, friendliness, etc. of the ship, I am not sure if you were sailing on the same boat as the rest of us. I would tend to agree with a few of the other critics here that the rudest people I encountered were the guests (all nationalities I must say). For some reason people seem to think the crew are their personal servants, yelling at them for utensils at the buffet line when they are clearly directly in front of them, yelling at the staff cleaning tables to get the manager because they were not being served self serve drinks and most appalling hearing one guest actually tell a staff member to go back to China because he couldn't meet the guests ridiculous demands. Though these were only a few minor observances, unfortunately you get these stupid people no matter where you go. Let's get to the good stuff! This was our 12th cruise and 1st with MSC. I always sail with my wife and two boys (now 8 years and 17 years). Though the kids clubs are a bit less involved than other cruises our kids don't use them anyway, so I can't really comment on that. Other than the teens took over the Disco each night which seemed to be one of the nicest clubs on the boat with a great bar you couldn't access. It was to be adults only after 9pm, however this was never enforced. We also decided to take a group of 28 other friends with us this time around; the majority were first time cruisers. What a great ship and itinerary to break them into cruising! They all have been raving about how much fun this was and how beautiful the ship was. SHIP: Clean, clean, clean. MSC Orchestra really has a beautiful setup, a bit different than other ships we have sailed with. The floor plan winds you around each deck allowing you to meander in a relaxing stroll through the shop, lounge and dinning areas. One major difference on this ship was that there are no main atrium elevators mid-ship. They have a beautiful 4 deck waterfall in which nightly music was played by live acoustic bands on a small stage within the waterfall pond. Unfortunately the ship never had the waterfall working. One unique thing, though it may sound strange, is that the restrooms all had a 'For Children Only' stall. It was a little larger with a smaller sink within the stall for the kids. I found this to be very unique and a nice touch for those traveling with family. SMOKING: As for smoking MSC has tried to cut down on the smoking areas within the ship. It was most noticeable in the Shaker Lounge, Casino and of course the Cigar Bar (which if you like cigars this was a fun and unique addition to the ship. Say hello the Beni for me!). Up on the pool decks the smokers seems to stay near the window seats and the pool areas were relatively smoke free. It would be nice to see a few less areas indoors that allow smoking, hopefully in time. FOOD: Having been on 12 cruises now I have not found one cruise to be fantastic when it comes to mass dinning food. I would say that MSC was comparable to food I have had on Disney, Carnival or Royal Caribbean. One thing to keep in mind if you want your steak done medium, order it medium rare. Medium seems to be Well Done on this ship. With any ship a few featured plates stand out as very good. The lamb was excellent! Leg of lamb as well as the lamb chops were my favorite. If you really want a bit more elegant and made to order dinning the Shanghais Chinese restaurant was wonderful! Prices were by dish and at a price point similar to a standard restaurant of an average of $8.00 per dish. The food was very flavorful and one of the best reserved dinning on a cruise ship I have experienced. The buffets were laid out nicely with lunch service being served on both sides of the ships restaurant. One side of the ship with more hot dishes such as carved roast beef (was awesome!), carved pork, ham and veal, fish dishes, Italian specialties, pasta, etc. The other side more traditional American fair such as burgers and dogs, fries, etc. The burgers were by far the best cruise ship burgers I have had. The salad bar was also one of the largest I have seen on a ship, very nice. All the food was well presented and labeled nicely as to what was in each dish and the country of its origin. There are two main buffet stations, one forward of the restaurant and the other towards the back, both serving the same food. The crowds were all at the front buffet and many guests did not seem to realize that if they walked a little further no one was in the back of the restaurant. We did this each morning and at lunch and never had to wait in a line of more than 5 people for food. Pizza bar was great and the pizza was very tasty. The Gelato Bar was molto bene! The coffee gelato especially. Being from New England we like our coffee milk, coffee ice cream, coffee shakes and this coffee gelato was great! CABINS: No complaints. We had an outside window and it was comparable to other ships, other than Disney that has the largest I have ever seen. The porthole style window was large enough for me to sit in (5'11", 210 lbs), very nice! SERVICE: In general I can say everyone was a pleasure to speak to and all were very helpful. No one was ever rude. At times some crew members may take a minute to register what you are saying, but this is a typical language barrier thing and as long as you understand that cruise ships are full of a wide variety of nationalities it all works out fine. I too was impressed with the multilingual experience of the crew. Our waiter and assistant waiter were phenomenal! They were a bit stiff on the first night (think they were nervous), but once we got to talking with them they really opened up and we had a great time joking and learning about each others cultures. Dinning each night was a typical 2-hours, but never longer than this. Room Steward was great. Very courteous and always had a smile. He was great with our kids and always made sure we had fresh ice and towels. Anytime we left the room he was in cleaning. He must have cleaned our room 5 times a day!! POOL: We did spend a great deal of time at the pools and hot tubes as a group. Yes, chairs were hard to come by, but again, having been on 12 cruises this is the same on any ship, especially with the days at sea. Everyone goes to the people and you always have discourteous people who block off chairs for the day. This is unfortunate, but you need to make the best of difficult situations. We just put our towels at the benches pool side and jumped in and sat in the great wading areas around the pool. It was truly very nice, relaxing and helped keep you cool during the hot days. I did not notice the pools themselves to be crowed to the point you couldn't go in for a dip and I did not find anyone in the pool areas to be discourteous, rude or unsafe as one critic stated. Yes, people were sitting around the pool with drinks and beer, but everyone we saw and talked to were polite, being cautious and enjoying themselves. I did not see anyone who was drunk or disorderly at the pool. There was none of the rowdy party crowd you see on other cruise lines either; i.e. Carnival. Even the kids seemed to be well mannered for the most part. As for the one person who stated more management of the pool areas should have been done, I am not sure I agree and if it was so bad why did this person not tell the staff when she was on the ship? ENTERTAINMENT: The shows each night were terrific! Some of the best entertainment I have seen on a cruise. Very talented entertainers and well choreographed shows. For those complaining about 'thongs' and your poor children's eyes, get them out of the closet, take the blinders off and get them cultured! This was nothing different than if you went to a Rockets at Radio City Music Hall in NYC or any other Broadway or Vegas style show. Their was more skin on the pool deck that in the nightly entertainment. As for deck side entertainment this was much less than other cruises, but was there if you wanted something to do. Typical trivia contests, putting contests, Bingo, etc. Otherwise this was more a relax and kick your feet up cruise. First ship I have seen with a full tennis court. It was funny to eat breakfast in the back of the ship and occasionally see a tennis ball fall down to the back dinning deck. PORTS of CALL: Great stops and great weather! The only complaint is I wish we had more time in places like Nassau, Antigua, and St. Martin etc. Only 5-hours (4 for getting on and off the ship) is not much time .maybe MSC can cut one stop out to give more time to the other ports of call? We had a great time in each port and only one stop in the D.R. was tendered and this went extremely smooth. Very well managed by the crew, two thumbs up!! Shopping in Nassau is always a good time and the Straw Market proved to be the best stop as always. 3 designer bags for $30 - $35 each was fun to barter for for the lady's and the people are so friendly. If you have never experienced the Nassau Straw Market you need to check it out. EMBARKATION and DEBARKATION: Both were very quick, easy and run smoothly. MSC does need to put a little money into their cruise terminal as it is currently run through a warehouse, but it was done very well. We were on and off the ship very quickly and this was one of the easiest of any cruise line we have done. Taxis are not that easy to get from the terminal when leaving. I would suggest arranging transportation before you get on the boat for when you return, either through your hotel, a bus transfer through MSC or a call ahead taxi or car service. OVERALL: A great experience and we would sail MSC again. This is certainly a different kind of cruising with a more relaxed European feel. Be prepared to do nothing and enjoy every minute of it!! Great job MSC and with a few more tweaks I think you will be able to carve a unique niche in the U.S. cruise market!! P.S. MSC = Folded towel animals and a chocolate on the pillow are little cruise extras that can help you go that extra mile! hint, hint Read Less
Sail Date April 2009
We looked forward to trying an Italian cruise line without any preconceptions. We have cruised for many years and have been on most of the cruise lines during our more than 25 trips. We found a company who didn't care what happened to ... Read More
We looked forward to trying an Italian cruise line without any preconceptions. We have cruised for many years and have been on most of the cruise lines during our more than 25 trips. We found a company who didn't care what happened to us while on a vacation. We booked a cabin with a balcony at the very back of the ship. Never did that before. We loved the quiet and the need to walk to our cabin. Gave us some exercise. The cabin was nice with lots of places to store our stuff. The ship is beautiful but it is hard to find the bathrooms which are tucked into corners. There is so much brass that there are several people who only shine the brass all day long. When walking down the staircases you get the polish onto your hands. Not a big deal. Our itinerary was flawed. We were in Nassau for just a couple of hours. We pulled into Antigua at 5 pm supposedly because there was another MSC cruise ship in that port and we had to wait for them to leave. We were supposed to get into that port at 2 PM also very late, but 5 PM is ridiculous. The cruise line wouldn't cancel the tours, so our friends had to go, in the night, to tour the rain forest. They returned to the ship to no food unless they wanted to pay for a drink or ice cream. They close the kitchen at 9:00 PM. You cannot even get room service unless you want some chocolate covered strawberries or drinks. (which you have to pay for) They have some midnight buffets, but not all of us stay up that late. We had first seating so after looking for food the first night and being told we couldn't get anything except coffee or tea we started hoarding food in our cabin. Food on board was OK. Very small portions in the dining room but mostly OK. Several meals I had the steak because I didn't like what they had on the menu, which was done properly. I have to say that the two shining lights of the crew were our room steward Ida, and the assistant Maitre D Mario. Both went out of their way to make us happy. We went to their "private island" where we had to pay for everything we ate or drank. It turns out that the island is not private, such as NCLs, but is rented from Dominican Republic and the natives want to make money by charging us for food and drinks. We went back to the ship for lunch. The shows and music were shaded toward a European audience not an American one. There was one night of Opera, another of concerto and one very good magician. Not usually my taste but he was good. There were lots of places to sit and drink but the lounges had 1940's music with very little to dance to. Also, lots of smoke in the lounges and casino. We were with a group of about 350 people with our own shows and entertainment, thank goodness. The casino rules are European not American which can be very confusing. There were not enough 1 cent and 5 cent machines so people had to line up to use them. The crew was surly, rude and never smiled. Everyone agreed that they were cold and aloof. When you complained about, even something small, they did not help but gave you a hard time. Nothing was easy everything was your fault. When I had a question about my internet account they never got back to me and eventually I found that the rude, nasty person at reception was ill prepared and gave me a very hard time. The instructions that were given to me about how to use the internet were not complete and they insisted that it was my fault. OK, the $50 won't hurt me but it is just one more reason I would not use this line again. Finally, when we disembarked no one told us that we were in a different part of the port and couldn't find where our car was located. We finally had to call emergency and they told us we had to take a bus to our car. There is such a lack of communication. Obviously, our expectations were not met and we came away with a very bad taste from the indifference and callousness of this cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
I went on a cruise with 18 other college students for spring break. The ship was modern and full of amenities. Nonetheless, I would caution college students and younger students, as the ship is geared more towards a European and elderly ... Read More
I went on a cruise with 18 other college students for spring break. The ship was modern and full of amenities. Nonetheless, I would caution college students and younger students, as the ship is geared more towards a European and elderly crowd. Food: The food was simply ok. They did beef (steak, burgers, etc.) very well, but often times missed the mark on fish, Italian, and more complicated items. Food was also not available at all hours, and there was a lull before the midnight buffet every evening. The pizzeria from 5:00 to 10:00 pm was very good. Although there was limited room service available, the items they have were tasty and arrived within 10 minutes after ordering. Ports: Unfortunately, the port times for the cruise were a bit early. We left Key West at 2:00 PM, Cozumel at 3:00 PM (Local time), Grand Cayman at 4:30 (Local Time), and Cayo Levantado at 3:30 PM. It seemed that many of the other cruise lines had better port times. Nonetheless, we were placed on close docks and at the closest tender. Cayo Levantado was the least enjoyable port we visited, as they charged for lounge chairs and there was very little beach space for the thousands of visitors (it didn't seem quite as private as they advertised). We didn't feel as though we had an opportunity to experience culture of the Dominican Republic. Service: The table service was a little slow, and we never spent less than two and a half hours at dinner. As a European cruise line, it definitely had the feel that time was not a concern. All of the staff were very accommodating and they remembered our preferences later. Many of us got the feeling that the cruise line catered more towards Europeans as the staff would often times not understand exactly what you were saying. The cabin staff was friendly and attentive. We were impressed by their work ethic and speed in cleaning our room in the morning and turning down our sheets at night. Additionally, the staff often would give priority to Italian cruisers. For example, we were playing a pool game where we tried to land rings on bottles and were next in line. The staff told us the game was ending and we could not participate in the contest. A family went up to them and spoke to them in Italian and was able to participate in the game. Although most announcements were announced in five different languages due to the diversity of passengers, occasionally some announcements were in Italian only. I was also disappointed in the helpfulness of the staff at the excursion desk. I asked them if they had any scuba trips in Cozumel and they provided little assistance beyond "There should be many of scuba shops as you leave the ship" although I did not find this to be the case. The photo staff was one of the worst parts of the cruise. During dinner they would take two and three pictures and even after saying "no thanks" told us to sit up straight and take the photo. The photographers had ambitious quotas they had to meet and were set on meeting them, even at the expense of guest satisfaction. We were disappointed to find the first night of karaoke consisted of slow, melodic Italian and French songs that were not to the liking of many Americans. Rooms: We were upgraded to balcony rooms on floor 11 (huge plus - the balconies really were a highlight of the trip). They were gorgeous and relatively spacious. The TV system (a flat LCD-screen) was convenient, as you could do almost everything from ordering shore excursions to reviewing your billing account. Another plus was the ability to connect the balconies, making it very easy to go from room to room if you had a large group with multiple rooms reserved in a row, without taking your room key. Amenities: The gym was nice albeit small (6 treadmills, 2 ellipticals, 2 bikes, 2 stairmasters, and relatively few weights) and no water was provided, so be sure to bring your own. They also allow cruisers to visit the sauna, steam room, and hot tub for free. The casino was relatively small and we found ourselves consistently waiting for tables. Due to a small casino staff, they did not have all the games running all the time and would alternate nights between roulette and craps. Blackjack was European rules where the dealer pulled their second card after everyone had made bets. Statistically, this provides lower odds. Entertainment: We did not partake in much of the entertainment, as much of the entertainment catered to an older crowd (e.g. musicals, cabaret, etc.). They had no comedians because all the jokes would be lost as they translated it into the five languages spoken on the cruise. Embarkation/Disembarkation: The embarkation process was incredibly fast and we boarded in almost no time (the CEO of MSC was there that day). There alcohol policies are incredibly lax, and we were able to take on alcohol at embarkation and at all ports. Disembarkation was a bit confusing as they never gave us the proper forms to request early disembarkation. Disembarkation was slower than embarkation, but nothing unreasonable. Be sure not to book a flight early in the morning, since we found ourselves competing with cruisers both from MSC and other cruise lines to find cabs to the airport. Conclusion: Overall it was a good cruise. We had a great time and were incredibly impressed with the ship. MSC clearly has growing pains and is trying hard to improve their problems. The Italian aspect of the cruise is both a plus and a minus. I have spent much time abroad, and feel as though I am relatively accepting of other cultures. Nonetheless, sometimes you just want to hear American songs at Karaoke and see shows that aren't translated into many languages. Would I go on MSC again? With my family definitely. With my friends not until we're a bit older. Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
After reading some really horrible reviews of the Orchestra, we were rather apprehensive about this ship. We just returned and I must tell you, this was extremely enjoyable. We have been on about 20 or so cruises, so we ... Read More
After reading some really horrible reviews of the Orchestra, we were rather apprehensive about this ship. We just returned and I must tell you, this was extremely enjoyable. We have been on about 20 or so cruises, so we are very experienced. The ship was beautiful, very clean, and the staff was pleasant, courteous and very helpful. We enjoyed such professional and high quality shows each night, especially the opera show and the magician. Standing ovations almost every night. The cabin, though small, was ok. This was the first time we had a balcony and now we're spoiled. How can we ever go back to an inside cabin. The food received mixed reviews from our friends. However, my husband and I enjoyed the gourmet Italian delicacies that we had every night. If you are just used to American style spaghetti and meatballs, etc., I guess you didn't like the polenta, fennel, manicotta and the like. We did. And even if you didn't care for something, they were happy to bring you anything else. We had ice cream every night. The ice cream was not available during the day except if you paid for it. As far as the buffet goes, there were plenty of choices, plenty of stations, the lines were not long, and we found seating every single time. The coffee guys came around with carts with hot steaming coffee continuously. I don't understand some of the complaints I read about. The problems we had were so minor they weren't even worth mentioning. Yes, there was no talent show. Yes, there was only Karaoke one night. Yes, there were no chocolates on the pillows at night. That's about it. I'll say it once again. You can enjoy yourselves on a beautiful ship, with attentive service, good food, lovely weather, or you can complain about every little thing. I chose the former. I heartily recommend this ship to anyone. We had a wonderful time. Signed, Esther & Joe Read Less
Sail Date February 2009
We booked this cruise because of the Concerts at Sea concerts on board. Last year it was on Costa. My review on that one is already posted. We arrived in Ft. Lauderdale and stayed at the Atlantic Resort - an upscale resort we found through ... Read More
We booked this cruise because of the Concerts at Sea concerts on board. Last year it was on Costa. My review on that one is already posted. We arrived in Ft. Lauderdale and stayed at the Atlantic Resort - an upscale resort we found through the internet. We were very pleased. Saturday, the 17th, we left for the port hoping for a good week, in spite of the bad reviews of the Orchestra. We arrived around 12:10 and had a line to wait in, but it went fairly fast. We went to our room and checked it out. Not much space, but of course we knew that already. Lunch was to be served in the buffet from 12:00 to 3:00. We were still waiting for the lines to open up at 1:30, when they finally did. We had a very large crowd by then wanting to eat. Seats were very hard to find by that time. They changed our dinner seating to 5:30 but kept the late seating at 8:30. Don't know the reason for this, but it caused many inconveniences with port calls being AFTER 5PM. The dinner was not very hot and the waiters mixed up things a lot. We objected to the couches we were told to sit in, and were told to "Get here earlier tomorrow". Did not appreciate that attitude as we hadn't been rude when we objected. The couches are rounded and hard to get into. The first night's entertainment was Midnight in Paris. It was a line of ladies in skimpy outfits walking around (not dancing) the stage. At the end they did a can can dance with "canned" music. No orchestra, and no singing. A man dressed in drag took the stage while the ladies pranced around and had body parts that sprouted out from his "body". It seemed in poor taste to me, but then I like dancing and singing. Our concert at sea group had a welcome aboard and singing by the Chancellor's & Stacy Wayne (Elvis) who did a wonderful job. We went to bed early tonight, because we were tired. Sunday was a sea day. We We ate in the buffet, but again, the food was cold and had been sitting on a hot plate for a while, which made it hard in spots, especially the waffles and breads. We had a concert at 1:30 for Paul Revere and the Raiders. They were even more wonderful than last year and the "baby raider" Darren was great. A few of the entertainers had brought family and it was fun to meet up with them around the ship. Tonight was gala night with the Captain. We had a few drinks and went to dinner. Not much to brag about again. Most of the wait staff were from Indonesia and did not speak much English. The theater had Circusland tonight. If you have seen Circusolay (?) before, you know what it was. I left before it was over. Again, went to bed early. Monday was Cayo Levantado. We went to the beach and had a nice day. The food was overly priced. A hot dog, hamburger and 2 soda pops was $15.00. The buffet was $15 pp and did not seem worth it. They had drinks in coconuts and pineapples for $8 each. We tendered into the island. We were #1 but it took us about an hour to get off the ship as Nos. up to 5 & 6 were crowding into the hallways and no one was doing anything about it. No organization. Dinner was again nothing special. I must however comment that we had ideal tablemates who took turns taking the couch seats. Very delightful people to converse with as well. The entertainment tonight from MSC was Concerto - again all Italian. We went to Bobby Vee and the Vee's. Wonderful entertainment from C@S. Then dance lessons at 9PM. An early night once again. Tuesday we arrived at St. Maarten. 1-8PM. We met up with a group of friends we made aboard with C@S and went to Orient Beach. Had a relaxing day until around 3:30 when we returned to the ship. We did not get there until 1PM though, so we did not get as much sun as we would have liked. C@S had a cocktail party tonight. Nice party! Lots of drinks! FREE! Then we had a Dance Party which we did not leave until Midnight. MSC had a magic act, but we did not attend. I should tell you that two nights MSC had a midnight buffet of different items. Tonight they had Mexican buffet. We all would eat and sit around talking until very early in the morning after dancing all night. Wednesday was Antigua, St. John. Wasn't much shopping there and we only walked into town and back to the ship. A 2-hour tour was running for $100. We had from 7AM till 2PM on this island. Dean Torrence from Jan & Dean fame was on tonight at 7:30 and I waited through Dinner to get a good seat for this one. Loved Jan & Dean. The band was wonderful as well. MSC had opera tonight. Maybe I am just not worldly enough, but there sure was a lot of Italian going on. Most cruise ships try to do a variety. We danced again till Midnight and had a super sandwich buffet. Thursday was a Sea day. We had an early concert with the Guess Who - great again! Although they are a little more 70's than 60's for me. Just lazed the day away and got to dinner tonight. I was ordering off the "always available" menu a lot this week. The spaghetti was great and HOT! The MSC show tonight was Celtic Spirit, so at 8PM we went to an autograph session with all the groups and had a great time talking with them and their bands and family. It did not end until 11PM, so I went to bed tonight. Friday, we had a C@S concert with Bill Haley's original Comets. They were terrific. We arrived in Nassau around 3PM and were finally off the ship around 3:20. Since dinner was 5:15, we skipped it on the ship and had dinner at Atlantis, where we showed our new friends all the sights. Of course the casino took their interests mostly. I must say that the hamburger at Atlantis was the best meal all week. The MSC entertainment for tonight was Singing under the Moon, but no one really sang, they just panomined. We went to the dance again where we had our final dance and said our sad good-byes to all the friends we made this week. If it hadn't been for Concerts at Sea, we would not have anything really good to say about this cruise. On the last night they locked up the mini bar at 6PM but we hadn't used it anyway. The next morning when we got our bill, there was a $19.20 charge for mini bar. The room stewart had neglected to refill it from last cruise. It was a lot a little things like this that messed with your good nature. There are real attitudes among the staff, seemingly against Americans. Don't know why, but there it is. Not trying to discourage anyone, but I would not go back for a while, if ever. Read Less
Sail Date January 2009
Well, here goes.  I traveled on MSC Orchestra for a Rock and Roll Cruise.  If it weren't for the included concerts and activities provided for this special curise, i would have been sleeping all of the time.  1.  The food was the ... Read More
Well, here goes.  I traveled on MSC Orchestra for a Rock and Roll Cruise.  If it weren't for the included concerts and activities provided for this special curise, i would have been sleeping all of the time.  1.  The food was the worst.  I could not imagine it.  I lost 2 pounds.  Many others complained about the food.2.  The room was ok but I never knew who my room steward was.  3.  The staff was only 3 weeks old.  They did not have any experienced staff to help.  It seemed like everytime you asked a question, they could not answer you,  They acted like they were totally confused.  4.  For the side trips, there were totally unorganized.  Always running late and loosing information that was sent to them from the travel agency for our side trips.5.  You never knew who the cruise director was or the cruise directors staff was.  6.  Never saw the ships Captain.7.  There was a musty smell on the decks where the rooms were.  I felt sleepy all of the time.I heard nothing but complaints from almost everyone.  The travel agency was going to use MSC for another Rock and Roll Cruise in 2010 but decided against it.  The best was the waiter staff.  Always on the ball, courteous and very helpful.  Could not have asked for better. Read Less
Sail Date January 2009
With kids sail free, I thought the ship would be full of kids, but not any more than the other cruises we have been on. Embarkation and Disembarkation were both very smooth. That out of the way, we had a great time!! The dining room ... Read More
With kids sail free, I thought the ship would be full of kids, but not any more than the other cruises we have been on. Embarkation and Disembarkation were both very smooth. That out of the way, we had a great time!! The dining room food was wonderful, our waiter was very sweet, he wasn't entertaining like on other cruises we have been on, but I am not there for a show, the waiters work hard enough without being expected to entertain you. I loved just about everything in the dining room. The cold soups are very good, I followed others advise and had fish several times. Delicious!! Even the kids (12 & 15), tried some new things and really liked them. The buffet was fine, they had a good breakfast, but he lunch had lots of things that didn't sound good to me. Lots of fish based rice or vegetable salads. They did have a fabulous pesto lasagna one day. There were always hamburgers and hotdogs on one side and other the other, pizza, don't have to pay extra for it anymore unless you go in the evening and sit in the back buffet. TIPS: Breakfast and Lunch, both buffets are open and have the same items, so go straight back to the second one, no line and there will be tables available at the end of the ship! Also, bring a water bottle with you, fill it each morning and put lemons from the coffee stand in it. You will have refreshing water to drink when you are off the ship! There is a talent show on board the last day, so if you have a talent, bring what you need for the show. Sheet music, instrument, outfit, whatever. If you are into buying souvenirs, Key West and Cozumel, had the best prices. Grand Cayman is too commercialized. Key West, we took the Conch Train tour, it was fun seeing the whole island and you can go back to places, or get off and on all day. Cozumel, we rented a jeep and drove around the big circle. That was great, we could stop where we wanted. Played in the ocean and went to the Myan Ruins in the middle of the island. It was a great day. Grand Cayman, with choppy waters, it too forever to get everyone off the boat. If you aren't doing an excursion, before breakfast run down to the Excursion Office and get a Tender number, otherwise you will have to wait 2 or 3 hours to get off the boat. We only had time to take a taxi to the Turtle Farm then shop a little in town. Cayo Levantado, we just went to the beach. Gorgeous beaches! The vendors there have all the same stuff and wanted way too much. I did buy some Rum, the black bottle rum is really good! All in all, we had a great time, I don't know that I would cruise with them again, but it was nice to have the European experience. I love the way the announcers can say their introductions to a show or game in English, Italian, French and Spanish without a pause in between. I also appreciate that they don't try to constantly sell you things like on the other lines. MSC has some improving to do, but they definitely are trying. Read Less
Sail Date January 2009
My wife and I were very disappointed in the MSC Orchestra's Eastern Caribbean cruise. We were among approximately 1,300 people from the Cleveland, Ohio area that book a cruise every year over Super Bowl weekend. We found the ... Read More
My wife and I were very disappointed in the MSC Orchestra's Eastern Caribbean cruise. We were among approximately 1,300 people from the Cleveland, Ohio area that book a cruise every year over Super Bowl weekend. We found the MSC's organization to be highly disorganized compared to the way other cruise lines handled our group. Our biggest disappointment was in the food. On several occasions, because of conflicts between the times the main dinning rooms were open and the times of the shore excursions, we ate at the ships buffet. We found the buffet line in the Cafeteria La Piazzetta to be narrow and hard to navigate. People walking back to their table had to move around the people in line picking up their food. The buffet's food was of the quality but not the selection found at a local Golden Corral. For instance, on two occasions the only dessert was white sheet cake; no cookies, pies, puddings or brownies. On one occasion, besides the sheet cake there were a few pieces of a pumpkin tart. However, on the day before, pumpkin tarts were served in the main dining rooms. The selection of meats at the buffets in the evenings, as well as lunch time, were usually hot dogs, hamburgers, cheese pizza, chicken, fish or luncheon meats. The food in the main dining rooms was better. Our assigned table was in the Villa Borghese. One night, when I had an excellent lamb dish, my wife had a beef filet. Her filet was tough and tasted like hamburger. She did not finish her steak nor did several people at our table. Our table was excited that they may get a good meal on the night they found lobster on the menu. Several of the people were planning to order two lobsters. When the lobster finally came, it had tasteless brown not pink meat that stuck to the shell. No one ordered seconds. A man from another table said that the lobsters were South Pacific tiger lobsters not the typical New England lobsters. The food service at our table was good but the cocktail service was horrible. The waiters could only take wine orders. The cocktail waitress would arrive at our table about the time we were being served our entree even when we requested cocktail service as we sat down. By the end of the cruise, when the people at our table would want a cocktail they would get up, leave the dining room, go to one of the bars to get their cocktail and bring it back to the table. Shore excursions and disembarkation were basically hurry up and wait. For the whale watching tour we had to assemble at 8:45 in the theater located in the ship's bow only to be lead at 10:00 through hallways crowded with people to a gangplank located near the ship's stern. There was no explanation for the delay. We were originally scheduled to arrive in Nassau at noon but were informed the night before that we would arrive at 2:30. We were not allowed off the ship until 3:00. Again with no explanation for the delays. For disembarkation, we had to leave our cabins and assemble in various lounges at 7:00. Disembarkation started at approximately 8:30. And again there was no explanation for the delay. Breakfast was served in the Villa Boughese between 6:30 and 8:30 but since we were not informed of the delay we sat for over a hour in the lounge when we could have enjoyed a breakfast. Our cabin was very comparable to the cabins we had on other cruise lines. The room steward was excellent. When we first arrived we found that the cabin windows were dirty. We told the room steward and for the rest of our trip the windows sparkled no matter how much sea water was splashed on them. During most of the trip we had a rough noisy ride. Our cabin was in midship on the eleventh floor and the balcony and windows would occasionally get wet from the sea mist from the bow of the ship. All throughout the night our cabin would squeak and groan as the ship bounced through the waves. The entertainment aboard the ship was excellent. We attended an opera and two musical reviews in the Covent Garden Theatre. We enjoyed all the lounge entertainment. The drink menu was extensive and included many creative cocktails, martinis and coffees. My only complaint in the entertainment area was that the casino was small and over crowded. If you plan to use the casino, bring a lot of cash. There are no ATM machines on the ship and there is a 3 percent fee to cash travelers checks. My wife and I will not go on a MSC cruise again and absolutely will not recommend it to our friends. Read Less
Sail Date January 2009
MSC Orchestra Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.0
Dining 4.0 3.0
Entertainment 3.0 3.4
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.3
Family 3.0 3.3
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.1
Enrichment 2.0 2.8
Service 3.0 3.4
Value For Money 4.0 3.3
Rates 4.0 3.9

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