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7 MSC Cruises MSC Orchestra Cruise Reviews for Repositioning Cruises to Transatlantic

We took (and reviewed) a similar repositioning cruise from Genoa to Brazil aboard the MSC Orchestra 2 years ago. At a cost of just £50 per person per day we think MSC offer exceptional value for money. The balcony cabin was just great. ... Read More
We took (and reviewed) a similar repositioning cruise from Genoa to Brazil aboard the MSC Orchestra 2 years ago. At a cost of just £50 per person per day we think MSC offer exceptional value for money. The balcony cabin was just great. We provided our own kettle to brew a cuppa whenever we felt like one. The €287.50 that we paid to access the spa was money well spent. The saunas were even better than in 2014, heated to 80°C rather than just 70°C, and the steam rooms were also hotter and not draughty. The payment also included access to 3 indoor Jacuzzis that were rarely crowded. We thoroughly enjoyed the 5 classical concerts by the 6 talented members of Musica in Maschera in the ship’s main theatre. The in-house entertainment team were good too, although their talents were repackaged again and again, as the same jugglers, acrobats, dancers and strongmen performed in Batman outfits for Gothem, in Asterix & Cleopatra outfits and finally for one last ‘Best Of’ show. High-margin items like perfumes, beauty products and handbags were always for sale from stalls set up in public areas around meal times. I was concerned by the very high suggested manufacturer’s retail prices quoted for a brand of watches, Invicta that are sold exclusively on TV shopping channels, cruise ships and over the internet. They claimed a €1499 price tag for the Invictca 2928B, and left leaflets in our cabin announcing discounts of up to 75%. MSC’s selling price of this watch is €549. I bought one over the internet after the cruise for £70. Beware of inflated sea prices as you have limited consumer protection! MSC Shore excursions were popular but we plumed for our own independent activities except in Rio. We paid $70 for a full day tour in a minivan, for a similar tour priced €140 on board (which included a light lunch delivered to your cabin beforehand). It’s worth noting that MSC provide no maps or practical information about shore stop destinations so do your homework beforehand. (Exceptionally, at Mindelo the local Cape Verde authorities had no information booth nor were there exchange facilities. Banks need to see your passport or a copy of it, but you can pay in most places using euros (preferred) or US dollars). We ate mostly at the buffet, enjoying real mozzarella cheese, fresh fruits & salads penne with tomato sauce, baked whole fish with tomato sauce and jellies amongst the culinary highlights. Dining in the restaurants is the only area I would rate as fair to poor. Breakfast and lunch are now both semi-self-service/semi-served, which is awkward if you have circular bench seats on a table for 8. Dinner is fully waiter served by friendly Indonesians, but the food was served lukewarm rather than piping hot, and most main course choices were either over- or undercooked. Soups were poor, desserts including a sugar-free version, quite good. Overall I stress that MSC offer tremendous value for money. The main reasons we go are to relax, read, sunbathe, enjoy undemanding entertainment. We ate perfectly adequately in the buffet and even managed not to gain weight. However I think next time we shall try another (more expensive!) repositioning cruise… Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We did back to back cruises and did Greece and Montenegro the week before on the same ship. Awesome itineraries, we were scheduled to stop at Malta but due to rough seas detoured to Majorca which was amazing beautiful place to visit, no ... Read More
We did back to back cruises and did Greece and Montenegro the week before on the same ship. Awesome itineraries, we were scheduled to stop at Malta but due to rough seas detoured to Majorca which was amazing beautiful place to visit, no biggy cause I already been to Malta before, some passengers were upset about not getting to Malta, but good that we had another port to visit as plan B as I believe some cruise lines don't always do this if a port is cancelled. The ship was nice cabins big enough and very quiet. We requested and paid for and upgrade from inside to balcony, but they refunded the money and said it was a free upgrade, WOW!!!... Food was OK in buffet, they do delicious curries and pizzas but don't serve enough curries in the buffet or restaurants. An indian couple on the table behind us asked if they would prepare their table a special Indian meal, request granted, not many aussies on ship (about 40) and we asked if they could organise a quiz for us,,, request granted, also excellent service with captain and ambassador frequently walking round ship asking if everyone happy and anything extra they could do, we asked for a table change and well no request seemed to be to difficult. Probs nearly 3000 passengers on this ship but staff so nice and professional they make you feel your the only one... Didn't like disembarking at Buenos Aries, small terminal busy and hot, took 2 hours to get out, but I think that's the ports problem, not MSC. Most ports easy to get on/off ship. The tours were reasonably priced, same price as private tours. I booked and paid for the thermal spa but didn't use it, only went to gym to weigh myself but then they said scales broke (I'm not that big) so upset that all I wanted to use in the thermal spa area were scales and same not available. I have booked again to go on another cruise with MSC next year. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Well, after all the worry after reading some of the reviews on this Cruise Line, we did actually go with an open mind. We where not dissappointed the ship was beautiful. After a very long flight we actually boarded just after 1pm plenty of ... Read More
Well, after all the worry after reading some of the reviews on this Cruise Line, we did actually go with an open mind. We where not dissappointed the ship was beautiful. After a very long flight we actually boarded just after 1pm plenty of time to unpack have lunch and a good look around. Everything on this ship is very expensively done the furnishings, decor etc are magnificent. Our cabin on Deck 12 was very clean and spacious and our cabin steward extremely good. We opted for the late seating for dinner as the early one was 6.30 a little soon for us, this was perfect as MSC did a show at 7.30pm for late diners so we saw the show before our meal. Every show was exeptional, we loved them all most could compare with a West End show they where so good. The Covent Garden Theatre is beautiful the nicest I have seen on any ship. We found the meals to be very good, plenty of choice and the Express Breakfast in the Main Dining Room was really nice. We have no cause to complain, yes the food on other ships is possibly better but for the price we paid the choice was very good and we enjoyed all. Our waiter Salvador was excellent. The Animation team worked really hard especially when we celebrated Crossing the Equator meaning that the pool had to be emptied and refilled and cleaned there was so much mess as people where Christened with Champagne, flour, milk, raw egg and last but not least Coco powder it really was quite a celebation!the ports of call where all good especially Rio and the Statue of Christ the Redeemer was magnificent. We thoroughly enjoyed this cruise and would have no hesitation in sailing with MSC again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
Booked in August 2008 after seeing the MSC Orchestra Transatlantic/Repositioning Balcony Cruise advertised in Saturdays' Daily Mail.  Their advertisement stated that a transatlantic flight and one night's accommodation in ... Read More
Booked in August 2008 after seeing the MSC Orchestra Transatlantic/Repositioning Balcony Cruise advertised in Saturdays' Daily Mail.  Their advertisement stated that a transatlantic flight and one night's accommodation in Miami/Fort Lauderdale was included.  The latter turned out to be misleading and we paid over £80.00 extra for "3 star accommodation", which turned out to be the awful River Park Hotel & Suites in Miami, although well located for the free transit system and Bayside etc.  However, as a result we did upgrade us from deck 8 to deck 12 (the highest for standard balcony accommodation) as compensation, when I complained about their misleading advertisement. Remembering that we had booked this cruise 9 months before travelling and with just 2 weeks to go there was no sign of our tickets so I called, who after putting me on hold for about 5 minutes stated that they were calling for our tickets from MSC's head office in Italy that day, which should take a couple of days to reach them, and they would then be sent out to us first class post.  We were still without tickets 1 week from departure, so I rang again, and also rang the MSC Club member's hotline number, as we were  already members, having travelled with them twice before on the "Opera".  The outcome was we travelled with e-mailed/inkjet printed documents, which caused some issues with the transfer coach operators in the US, and we never received the "before you cruise" booklet we were supposed to have.  All in all this was very stressful, and subsequently I have written to express my dissatisfaction, particularly when we saw what the official MSC travel pack should have looked like, which all other UK passengers had received. I have say that after this disappointing start the MSC Orchestra and the transatlantic cruise visiting New York (2 days/overnight), The Azores, Portugal, Spain and finally back to Dover was absolutely superb.  The Orchestra is a beautiful ship and as reported is kept spotless, at all times.  I don't understand some of the earlier critisms, as we found hot (tea, coffee, decaff and infusions) and cold drinks (iced water & fruit juices) available free of charge for most of the day and even at the midnight buffet.  Yes, the bottled water in the cabin is expensive at $4.50 per bottle, and compared to "our local" back home, so were the alcoholic drinks/cocktails, but given the presentation of them and the fact that in the La Cantinella wine bar you always received a plate of "Palma Ham" and cheese and elsewhere generous dishes of both crisps and Japanese rice crackers in beautiful surroundings and served by immaculately dressed & extremely courteous bar staff.  It truly is a 5 star ship and in our case represented very good value for money. DINING: My wife and I found the food of a very high standard, in both the deck 13 buffet restaurant and in the mornings and also the evenings when we had our very own table for 2 in the second sitting of the Villa Borghese Ristorante on deck 5.  We had an Indonesian head waiter from Bali, who was excellent, except when we arrived a few minutes late and a nearby table of 8 Germans caused total chaos by confusing him with their desire to order copious bottles of wine each evening!! THE SHOWS: The theatre on the Orchestra is very large and a truly beautiful facility, with excellent sound and lighting, which puts many London theatres to shame.  As with the MSC Opera we found the shows to be of a very high standard, the costumes beautiful, and the performers actually received a standing ovation for final show of our cruise. THE ENTERTAINERS: Unfortunately, the Orchestra's animation team did not impress us at all and we found them flat and somewhat embarrassing to watch, whereas there were some real characters on the Opera, who regularly had us in stitches, so much so that we used to make a point of finding out which bar they were in each evening.  On this cruise we made a point of avoiding them if we could. EXCURSIONS: The excursions were expensive, and the tour we took was billed as lasting 4 hours only lasted 3 hours and we did feel cheated at $53.00 each.  This was the cheapest excursion on offer, some being double that, but it enabled us to get our bearings and spend the remaining day and a half finding our own way using the "subway", Staten Island Ferry, World trade Centre/Ground Zero, Central Park, "Top of the Rock", etc.  As their main focus and intention is to sell you as many excursions as possible, what is annoying is that they do not provide port information or maps until the evening before or to tell you there was a local tram for Euro 1.60 (100yds from the port entrance) when due the distance from the port to the city centre of Lisbon (Portugal) they were doing us a favour by arranging a shuttle bus for Euro 12.00 each.  Furthermore, on occasions we were not told in advance that there would be free shuttle bus provided from the ship to the city/town centre in the hope that you would book an excursion rather than doing your own thing. TIPPING: I do not agree with the MSC policy of adding a daily amount to your account to cover tipping.  For a 17 day cruise this would have added $232.00 to our joint account, but what is really annoying is that many passengers are unaware of it, as it hidden in the booking small print, but we already knew as we had experienced it on the Opera previously.  All you need to do is contact the Accounts desk at any time during the cruise and ask for an "opt-out form" to allow you to either personally tip those that had served you, or adjust the amount deducted to suit you. Finally, despite the somewhat negative as well as positive comments above we are still rating the MSC orchestra Cruise Very Good to Excellent, and would have no hesitation travelling with the company again next year or indeed recommending the MSC Italian cruising experience to friends.                                      Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
We did try to find something good to write about this dreadful experience but apart from looking out over the lovely seas that was it! It was 17 days cooped up in a tin can. Toward the end it felt like prison and one person actually ... Read More
We did try to find something good to write about this dreadful experience but apart from looking out over the lovely seas that was it! It was 17 days cooped up in a tin can. Toward the end it felt like prison and one person actually kissed the ground when we reached Fort Lauderdale. I stood and breathed a sigh of relief as I was halfway across the elevated walkway. I was back in America where things work and people are good mannered. Embarkation in Genoa Very poor with little organization. The small door where you can deposit your luggage was was obscured so I struggled with the cases right down to check in. Mind you that could be because we had two cabin numbers instead of the one we had booked months ago. OK we went back out in the pouring rain and sorted it out. Passengers could not get on board as they were pretending to board by numbers. Walking to the front of the queue we found the real problem. The photographers were stopping everyone to take their photos. This was the not wanted by many but it held the line up for ages. When we bypassed the photographer we found the security line completely empty. On board nobody showed us where our cabins were. Just told we couldn't go to them until 1.00 p.m. We just ignored that and found our cabins. Lifeboat drill Basically this was a farce for something so potentially important. The passengers arrived on time and in good order. Not so the staff. They arrived after us. The muster station was on deck 7 and it was awash with rainwater. We stood there while the staff were sweeping an inch of water away. We could not hear a single word from the Public Address system so we politely stood in line for about 30 minutes and then wandered off. It was that casual. (dangerous in an emergency). Restaurant Our table was suitable for two people but set for four and placed in a throughway for all the waiters. My head and chair was hit everytime they walked past. The noise was overwhelming as the deck height was very low. So many people were crammed in and so close together it was a miserable experience. People were complaining on the first night. We managed two nights only and then gave up eating bad cold food. Without asking the waiters started to pour bottled water. Fortunately we are experienced cruisers and we had already checked the price list and knew it was $4.50 a bottle. (Do the math for 17 days of bottled water!) We asked for a jug of iced water, which is normal. This was reluctantly brought to the table. Other passengers went four or five days before realizing there was iced water available at no extra charge. Coffee was not available without an extra charge. This was changed after the first round of complaints. The Maitre 'D told us that this was going to be the first cruise that MSC would give FREE coffee and water. Those asking for iced tea had to pay for a small tin of sweetened ice tea. There was no option. Those of us who actually had the cheek to ask for a decaffeinated coffee were provided with a cup of hot water and a sachet of instant nescafe. Should you want cream or milk you would have to wait. However to be fair the nescafe was the smart option because the regular coffee was dreadful. Having given up our evening meals, we had to review our options. At first the 13th floor cafeteria was not open in the evening. This did open after considerable complaints to the staff. We decided to eat our main meal at lunchtimes in the restaurant. As we had 17 days of complete boredom it did not really matter that it took one and a half hours for three small courses which included one or two cold starters. The food was rarely up to standard, rarely hot and not always completely cooked. For instance, we understand al dente but we do not understand three quarters cooked pasta. I did ask the waiter why the food was cold. He said it was cooked hours previously and left to keep warm. We felt that the staff resented our presence in the dining room. Not a smile until the last day when they were looking for tips. 13th floor cafeteria Had to open in the evening because so many people refused to eat in the restaurant. By the end of the 17 days it was packed. The food was mediocre and the same day after day. There might be one new item each day. We lined up for hot french fries which were about the only hot thing to eat. (in the dining room they were half cooked and warm, at best) The flow in the cafeteria was dreadful. We have no idea how electric wheelchairs are supposed to use the circular food stations which were surrounded by pillars. Half of the evenings we collected small rolls at 4.00 p.m. and ate them in our cabin. What a cruise! One passenger asked for a donut which was under the counter. She was told that they would all go if he put them out! Noise levels - We did not need an alarm clock. At 5.30 a.m. every morning the sunchairs and other equipment was thrown across the deck above our cabins and we were awake for another long day. MSC made sure were enjoyed the maximum number of hours we needed to be awake. Twice a week they scrubbed the deck at 1.12 a.m. to give us more time awake. Our written formal complaint was responded to well by the Guest Relations Officer. He said that it was not the way we told them to do it, if they don't stop we will put them off the ship. What a thing to say to the customers. How unprofessional and the noise never stoppped. The walls between the cabins were paper thin and everytime the person in the adjoining cabin shut their door our wall bounced. It was a very thin ship. Sanitization - Dispensers - often not there, often empty. Arrived one lunchtime at the restaurant to find no dispenser, asked Maitre 'D where one was and he told me rudely to use the toilets. I was also told by the same person that I should not speak in German to some ladies as I was English. Yep, we are still working that one out. Billing and Interactive TV - Not working three or four days. Reception comment it is a general problem - attitude - go away. Our billing was correct on screen on the last evening. The paper bill at 6.08 a.m. and every item had been entered twice. Spent 45 minutes in line to have a correct account issued. No apology, just a joke to them. During this time we should have left the cabin by 7.00 a.m. Cruise details prior to boarding said all transactions would be in euros. Confirmed by check in so we provided a euro credit card. Ship changed to dollars without advising people. Sports - All sports equipment could only be obtained by going to the 5th floor reception and signing for one tennis ball and the minigolf clubs and ball. Then go back to deck 15 to play before going back to deck 5 to return them and sign for the one ball and equipment. What a joke. New Year's Eve - Health and safety - Many of the passengers were on the outside deck. Not enough chairs were set out for a New Year's Eve buffet so passengers were obliged to remove every single chair in the cafeteria and take them outside. Good job that most people were sitting as the lights went out and the deck was in complete darkness. There was no safety secondary lighting. It was very dangerous. Premium Restaurant - Friends of ours had a meal costing $25 each. At the end of the meal they received the bill and found they had to pay extra for bread and coffee. Unbelievable. Attitude of staff - If they could understand or speak English we didn't find out. Just told it was the Italian way, take or leave it. They need to be advised that the Italian Way would be great but only if it is superior, or at least equal, to the competition. We asked to see the Hotel Manager but he hid in his office the whole cruise. Disembarkation - Words cannot describe the chaos that ensued. We docked at 7.45 a.m. and finally got off the ship at 11.30. We did not wait for our correct color tag to be called as our transfer bus would have been long gone. We finally got away from the port at 1.03 and could see the lines and lines of people trying to get on. How we felt for them not knowing what they were about to experience. In conclusion, I could go on and on with our complaints but what is the use? MSC were not interested in anything to do with passengers and our only way to express our disgust with the staff and management was not withhold payment of tips. The lines of people holding pink no-tips slips was a sight to behold. On other boats we have occasionally withheld a few of the tips but it was always done discretely. On this ship you could see people walking round with the pink slips and discussing it with others. Do not go on this ship, it was nickel and dime and they could not arrange a party in brewery. A complete waste of time and money. Read Less
Sail Date December 2008
We are not novices to cruising as this was our 39th cruise. We are gold card members of the MSC line. Until this sailing, MSC has been our favorite cruise line. Unfortunately the service made us feel like unwanted relatives on the ... Read More
We are not novices to cruising as this was our 39th cruise. We are gold card members of the MSC line. Until this sailing, MSC has been our favorite cruise line. Unfortunately the service made us feel like unwanted relatives on the Orchestra. We have had better and worse embarkations thus nothing worth writing about. It was upon entering the ship our problems began. Our adult son came with us since this was a Christmas and New year's vacation. Upon boarding he went to the Receptionist Desk to give them cash so he could open up his onboard account. When he tried to tell the receptionist what he wanted to do she told him "if he would shut up and listen." I was standing by him or I might not have believed a customer relations person would talk that way to a passenger. We are loyal past passengers and get treated this way. Strike one within ten minutes of boarding. Other cruise lines show you to your cabin and some even offer a glass of champagne. None of that here. You are on your own to find your cabin. Being hungry we went up to deck 13 for something to eat. Another disappointment. The food was tasteless and all the salads looked and tasted the same. There were only two variety of cakes for dessert. Little did we know this was to be the case for the entire cruise. Our first dinner foretold what was ahead for the next 17 days. We never saw a steak the entire trip. Fish served every meal but over cooked and quite dry. Chicken every meal and again over cooked. We ordered pasta the first night (remembering how wonderful the pasta was on the Opera.) To our surprise it was tasteless except for a rancid, metallic taste. No one at our table could eat it. In 17 days we had truly good pasta only two times. Service in the dining room was bad to pitiful. We were at a table for 6 and one person would get their dish while the rest would wait 10 to 15 minutes. Sometimes we were served the wrong orders. Other times we never got what we ordered. Sometimes we would get our food but have no silverware to eat it with. Dinner always took around two hours. Everyday except for three we went to the "formal" dining room for lunch. Imagine our surprise to have to go through a cafeteria line (buffet) at lunch in the formal dining room. No menu service. Again the food was tasteless. In all our cruises this was a first. Christmas Eve we could have "prime rib" or lobster. Everyone at our table and next to us agreed the "prime rib" was merely a small piece of over cooked roast beef. The lobster was soooo large we took three bites and it was gone. Also, I was told fourteen passengers ended up in the infirmary ill after eating the lobster. Unfortunately the food never improved the entire cruise. I had occasion to speak with Marcello, the Guest Relations manager. He told me he was a "chef" and that Italians do not cook with spices. I wondered if he thought I had dropped here from another planet. Especially since my husband is 1/2 Italian. Day two we slept in and did not leave our cabin until 10:10 am. Imagine our surprise to find it was not possible to find anything to eat on the ship until noon. The restaurant closed at 9:30 am everyday of the trip. The deck 13 cafeteria (buffet) closed at 10:00 am. No rolls, croissants, nothing. Our cabin was always very clean and our room steward had a handicap as our adult son would stay out quite late and thus get up very late. Our steward never complained and graciously worked around our night owl. We were quite happy with our service in this area. The productions shows were good and the costumes were beautiful. The were four African men who were acrobats. They were truly wonderful. The magician and illusionist were acceptable. One night there was no show at all and three nights the show consisted entirely of groups which played every night in the atrium lounge. These three nights were poorly attended since we saw them every night anyway when passing by the atrium. The Entertainment (Animation) Team on MSC really work hard and extremely long hours. These young people were no exception. They danced with passengers every single evening until 1 or 2 am. They had Italian lessons, trivia games, crazy games, dance lessons, etc. From nine in the morning until two am they were very visible and working hard. They truly made this voyage bearable. The cruise director on the other hand was very aloof and seldom said anything to the passengers. The ships lounge performers were generally good. We especially liked the Popcorn Band and their singer, Romanica. She has a truly lovely voice and is very friendly and outgoing. On the Opera you could not get on the ship or go into an eating facility without a crew member squirting you with hand sanitizer. Imagine our surprise when we cannot even find the sanitizer on deck 13 four four days. It was behind a door. Quite often when getting back on the ship or entering the dining room the hand sanitizer was empty. There was never any crew in sight the entire trip checking on this. Something we have never seen before was that none of the ships shops were open until the fourth day of our cruise. Christmas decorations (such as they were) did not appear until day four and five of our cruise. We heard several passengers complain because the ship never put up a Menorah even though we were cruising during Hanukah. There were never any Christmas Carols, no egg nog, no special Christmas show Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. A passenger chorus sang prior to midnight mass which was held at 11:00. Other than Santa for the children Christmas Day might as well have been any other day of the year. Get this the Orchestra had a Friends of Bill W. meeting in the Savannah "Bar." Our past passenger party was not until December 28 which is when we got our "welcome cocktail." It took three phone calls to get the invitation which we finally received 10 minutes prior to the party. Only ONE cocktail is permitted per passenger. No canapes. Since Saint Thomas is the first U.S. port this is where the immigration procedures were done. What a mess. We got a paper which I am quoting "instructions for passengers NON USA and Canada." We get a knock on our door and were chastised for not going through customs. I showed the person our form and he said we did not know how to read and must go right away. We stood in line for one hour to have a ship officer glance at our passport and put a sticker on it so we could get off the ship and go into town. The last week of the cruise many of the passengers and some of the crew got a hacking cough, sore throat and fever. My son and spouse both had to go to the infirmary for medicine. They were told there was not an outbreak of illness. However, the ship sounded like a T.B. ward. A couple of passengers said they had contacted the Center for Disease Control because of the ships denial and the lack of sanitization. We have cruised so many times, we know there are always a few disgruntled passengers but we have never talked to so many people who were so angry. People from nearly every country we spoke with expressed their displeasure with the Orchestra. We only met three people who seemed happy with the cruise. We found out they were on their first cruise. Disembarkation was truly a nightmare. Everyone had to be out of their cabin by 7:00 am. Breakfast was closed at 8:30 am. Nobody was allowed off the ship until after 10:30 am. There was an announcement about 9:00 am blaming the Immigration Department for the hold up. Since we had a 12:30 train home we were getting quite nervous. I went to the Receptionist and she said she could not give me a different colored tag. (Ours was over half way down the list to be called.) She then said they could not "force" anyone to stay on the ship. We spoke with some people sitting near us and they had 7:00 to 8:00 evening flights and had the first colored tags to be called. We slipped in line when the first tags were called and upon reaching the baggage area off the ship found our luggage had not even been taken off the ship yet. We spoke to someone in Immigration and were told they were ready by 9:00 am to clear the Orchestra's passengers but the ship is under staffed and that was why it was taking so long. Many a time I have gone on Cruise Critic to defend MSC, telling the detractors how wonderful MSC is. I now feel a need to apologize to my fellow Cruise Critic's for misleading them. What has happened to my beloved MSC??? Read Less
Sail Date December 2008
The MSC Cruise line is for the birds. If you plan a cruise DO NOT CHOOSE MSC CRUISE LINES. It is a very boring place to be. The food was terrible-horrible-everything was either undercooked or overcooked....they even screwed up corn ... Read More
The MSC Cruise line is for the birds. If you plan a cruise DO NOT CHOOSE MSC CRUISE LINES. It is a very boring place to be. The food was terrible-horrible-everything was either undercooked or overcooked....they even screwed up corn flakes (I lived on French fries and tomatoes for 17 days)...... there were no trained crew members everybody was new and spoke very little English if any at all....there were 16 decks on this ship and 2...yes 2...Christmas trees..no decorations.........no Christmas music......they had no planned organized fun things to do except stretching exercises and bingo and that was ill organized........Bingo cards cost $10 for one card......I paid extra for a smoking balcony and they did not allow smoking on balconies.......they charge 3% for cashing travelers checks.......the only deck party they had was New Year's Eve....no ice carvings and grand buffet on the last night as ships usually do...the nightly shows (except 2) were all operatic and classical.....no religious Christmas services except for Catholics.....the first and second days they had no night time buffet so you had to eat in the dining room whether you wanted to or not, then they had so many complaints that they had to open a buffet at night.....you had to pay for pizza...you had to pay for ice cream...one man had to pay $3.50 for a glass of crushed ice.....there were two big fights on the ship....no movie theater or free movies....the first few days they had 10 free movies but so many people were so bored they were staying in the cabins watching them so they took them off.....one couple got off in Casablanca and flew themselves home and another two couples got off in San Juan....... We had to beg for bananas...beg for doughnuts...they kept these things under the counter...... they did not ever have any milk although people were asking for it....until about 5 days into the cruise after thousands of complaints we didn't even get coffee except at mealtimes and on every cruise I have been on there are coffee and juices 24 hours a day.... One more thing...there were no hand sanitizers until we got to American territory and inspection time. They were hidden under the counters too. A lot of people caught colds and were in bed for a period of time....Clarence was one of them for 4 days. There were about 3K + travelers on this cruise and 2900 of them swear they will never go on another MSC Cruise Line. Everybody was complaining from all countries. If you sat down at a table or somewhere with a complete stranger, all that was talked about was how bad the ships crew, the service, and the organization was....especially the food. Everybody was teed off because the only vegetables were cauliflower, broccoli, and shredded carrots. We finally got some potatoes. They were also upset because all the deserts were the same with just different colored icing. The food was horrible in all restaurants because we tried them all trying to find something fit to eat. This is the only cruise line we have ever been on that we LOST weight. The productions shows were good and the costumes were beautiful. The were four African men who were acrobats. They were truly wonderful. The magician and illusionist were acceptable. One night there was no show at all and three nights the show consisted entirely of groups which played every night in the atrium lounge. These three nights were poorly attended since we saw them every night anyway when passing by the atrium. The Entertainment (Animation) Team on MSC really work hard and extremely long hours. These young people were no exception. They danced with passengers every single evening until 1 or 2 am. They had Italian lessons, trivia games, crazy games, dance lessons, etc. From nine in the morning until two am they were very visible and working hard. They truly made this voyage bearable. The cruise director on the other hand was very aloof and seldom said anything to the passengers. The ships lounge performers were generally good. We especially liked the Popcorn Band and their singer, Romanica. She has a truly lovely voice and is very friendly and outgoing. On our other cruises you could not get on the ship or go into an eating facility without a crew member squirting you with hand sanitizer. Imagine our surprise when we cannot even find the sanitizer on deck 13 four four days. It was behind a door. Quite often when getting back on the ship or entering the dining room the hand sanitizer was empty. There was never any crew in sight the entire trip checking on this. At one point I asked a crew member for the hand sanitizer, he sent me to the toilet. It took about three hours to get onto the ship and nearly six hours to get off. They ran us out of our rooms at 7AM (which was a first for us) and gathered all 3K+ into two small bars and then the Captain did not have some type of paperwork that America requires and we waited nearly six hours to get off. That is with no water, food or anything else and no place for all of us to sit. We were sitting on the stairs, laying in the floor, sitting on the bar and nearly hanging from the rafters. Children were irritable, crying...it was a fiasco. and I could go on and on but I bet you are tired of reading by now. However, the itinerary was great and off the ship we saw a lot of good stuff. We made several good friends and they helped to make the trip from becoming a complete disaster. So if you want to punish your friends and get even with your enemies..send them on an MSC CRUISE LINE FOR A FEW DAYS. Not us though, we will never cruise MSC again. The nicest people on the ship were both working on Deck 13. There names are Arie from Bali and Miriam from Peru. This was our first MSC Cruise and although we cruise at least twice yearly and sometimes more. This will be our last MSC Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2008
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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