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8 MSC Cruises MSC Orchestra Senior Cruise Reviews

It was our second time with MSC. The first one was with MSC Fantasy and was very good. To start, embarkation lasted three hours, very stressful. We had to buy soap at the first port we arrived because the soap dispenser did not work. ... Read More
It was our second time with MSC. The first one was with MSC Fantasy and was very good. To start, embarkation lasted three hours, very stressful. We had to buy soap at the first port we arrived because the soap dispenser did not work. The menu at buffet and restaurants did not have many options, specially if you do not want to eat meat. They take a lot of time to refill food and coffee, when they do. Napkins at the buffet were dark blue fabric, dirty and smelly as well as the plastic glasses to drink water. Dining tables at the buffet were usually dirty, they did not remove the dirty dishes and stuff very fast. No enough tables at the buffet, it takes some time to find a place to seat. No shows at the theater for several days, even at sea days. However, one night there was the best show we ever enjoyed at cruises, with an Argentinian singer, Guillermo Guido. Great show. Instructions to connect to the Internet were not given to the rooms. After some time, we finally found the instructions on a blackboard near the Reception office. We wasted a lot of time with long lines everywhere because there were just a few officers to help you. It seems that they did not have bilingual crew. The library was very limited, not only the quantity of books available but also its schedule. The person in charge of the library did not speak or understand basic Spanish, in spite of most of the passengers were Argentinian. The crew looked very tense and did not smile at any moment, they just did the minimum required with a tired face. Finally, they charged for water and everything, even for the only scale they had at the gym, $9!!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This ship was clean and tidy, the food was average and never hot, just warm if you were lucky. If you had a question regarding anything on the ship, YOU had to go to deck 5 and stand in a queue to speak to one of the 5 persons behind ... Read More
This ship was clean and tidy, the food was average and never hot, just warm if you were lucky. If you had a question regarding anything on the ship, YOU had to go to deck 5 and stand in a queue to speak to one of the 5 persons behind the desk, it was very hard to find any other member of the crew. The personnel behind the bars were very efficient and polite. I had an all inclusive drinks package, HOWEVER I was not told that this only includes the cheapest drinks, IE; Metaxa brandy and 2 other cheap ones, not even a middle class one, the same with all other alcohol beverages and wines. The entertainment was the same approximately 10 persons doing the very similar show with a slightly different theme every night for 30 to 45 minuets. I would not recommend a M S C cruise based on this one. One more complaint, when I tried to speak to a member of M S C I was told I can not, I have to email them and wait up to 28 days for a reply, to me , this means, they have my money and that is the end of any other service. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
I have got a very good information about MSC trips from Italian friends as we are leaving in Slovenia, we, my friends and us, decided to join this cruise for celebrating the 60th anniversary for my husband and our friend . We were ... Read More
I have got a very good information about MSC trips from Italian friends as we are leaving in Slovenia, we, my friends and us, decided to join this cruise for celebrating the 60th anniversary for my husband and our friend . We were enjoying our trip together and we were all exited. Unfortunately, our friends found their theft on 3rd day from inside the cabin and could not find their money. For us we found the theft of our camera and wallet upon arriving home taking into consideration that our home keys and cupboards were inside the wallet (Belle red wallet) - This happened when we put our bags and handbags (myself and husband) outside the cabin the night before we left, following cruise instructions . I have already sent my complain to my travel agency in Cairo and didn't get any feedback. Embarkation and disembarkation was very smooth , Dining service staff were very friendly, accurate and perfect. Overall comment, I am warning everyone about their money and their stuff during any trip on MSC cruises . Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We chose this ship on recommendation of travel agent.It all kicked off at Barcelona Airport where the MSC rep could not be found. We looked everywhere and eventually spied him behind a pillar. The embarkation was a pain as there was only ... Read More
We chose this ship on recommendation of travel agent.It all kicked off at Barcelona Airport where the MSC rep could not be found. We looked everywhere and eventually spied him behind a pillar. The embarkation was a pain as there was only one scanner at security check in we were in the queue to board ship for ages. The cabin was very clean and of a good size. The TV had two English channels BBC World and CNN. The cabin was serviced twice daily no problems here. The food was plentiful in the buffet area but in keeping with dining throughout the ship the temperature was tepid to cold totally unacceptable. The fine dining was just that, the portions were very very small. I ordered a cheese platter and there would just about be enough to put on a mousetrap. The waiters and staff were excellent very friendly and obliging. My other gripe were the two Gala nights suggested dress code dress suits. It was totally ignored by many of the other passengers. They came in in leans tee shirts and other rags. They were admitted to the so called Gala night. This should be policed and if not cancel the Gala nights altogether. The entertainment in the lounges was very repetitive so much so you might hear the same songs twice or three times every night. It was all karaoke backing tracks even for the four piece bands. The theater productions were not too bad the worst performance was the opera night were the male singer was totally out of time with the backing tracks and his tuning was suspect as was the female singer. The security people need to smile a bit they were the most sullen I have come across. There is a ten euro service charge per passenger per day. I asked some of the staff if they received this and the response was no. So with a capacity of 3200 passengers MSC are pocketing a further €32000 per day this is €224000 per week and €11,648,000 per year from passengers . Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Sailed with MSC...gold card holders...so very disappointed. Venice embarkation shambles to say the least. After flight from Dublin and long track across Venice airport coach park with luggage in the rain we had to stand 2+ hrs to ... Read More
Sailed with MSC...gold card holders...so very disappointed. Venice embarkation shambles to say the least. After flight from Dublin and long track across Venice airport coach park with luggage in the rain we had to stand 2+ hrs to hand over luggage in PRIORITY BOARDING lane at cruise terminal. Fellow passengers the noisiest, hardly any English announcements/entertainment etc clear enough to hear. We so fed up with tango demos, entertainment after THREE WEEKS we cancelled show here in Buenos Aires. LITINERARY was awful.......half days in Recefi, Sansalvedor and Rio (tour guide there useless and slept or smoked so v disappointing) destinations we went for. No TV available... almost all of cruise....all retuned after Med. They kept promising us "after Sansalvedor" or "after Rio" so unprofessional when they knew it wasn't going on again. Disembark in Buenos Aires another nightmare in tropical temps. It was not the Bucket List cruise I had envisioned or hoped for yet I love usually love and recommend MSC? If you not Spanish or Italian speaker would suggest give Grand Voyages with MSC a wide berth. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Round trip cruise Kiel/Baltic/Kiel/Norway/Kiel. Booked the Aurea package which included priority boarding which was a slow process as rude and impolite fellow passengers wouldn't give the staff a moments peace interrupting them ... Read More
Round trip cruise Kiel/Baltic/Kiel/Norway/Kiel. Booked the Aurea package which included priority boarding which was a slow process as rude and impolite fellow passengers wouldn't give the staff a moments peace interrupting them consistently asking questions and not having the good manners to wait, in line, to be attended to next. Shore excursions lacked co ordination in leaving the ship, as there were few fellow English speaking people, several tours were with guides who would speak in German and then English which made it difficult for them, more difficult for us as others would talk loudly amongst themselves when English was being spoken and remained quiet when their language was being spoken! Our excursions were pre paid (in Australia) and were considerable more expensive than if they were purchased onboard. Cabin on Deck 15 was great, excellent service from the housekeeping staff, no request was too much of an effort, always smiling and obliging. Dining in main restaurant was excellent, good menus but only on a seven day turnaround so there was no changes in the menu for the second week. Breakfast and lunch fare never changed and it is nigh on impossible to keep food hot for 2600 guests which was not often enjoyable. Entertainment had it's difficulties for those who didn't speak another language and the shows we saw really only filled in time prior to dinner. Disembarkation was an absolute shambles! 150 plus people, all arriving at the meeting place (theatre) at the one time, sitting around for over an hour waiting, so they screened a Mr.Bean show, I suppose to try and amuse us, that didn't happen. When given the word to disembark, it became a stampede as everyone, many with their baggage in tow (having chosen not to place their luggage outside the cabin evening prior as recommended,(imagine looking for a fast getaway) all tried to get off the ship at the one time. Finding your luggage in the terminal was a bonus, then you had to stow it yourself onto one of three Hamburg airport transfer coaches and then try and find a seat on the coach. Some people who had stowed their luggage and couldn't find a seat, then had to locate their luggage and try another coach. Plenty of staff standing around smiling and wishing you a safe onward journey but no one available to help the elderly with their luggage. Having cruised several times with other companies, the only way I would chose MSC again would be for the itinerary alone and very little else. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Having subscribed to MSC newsletters for some time, we were keen to try one of their cruises. When this great deal of 3 b2b cruises came up, we were eager to sign up and with CC reviews in hand, went with an open mind to experience the ... Read More
Having subscribed to MSC newsletters for some time, we were keen to try one of their cruises. When this great deal of 3 b2b cruises came up, we were eager to sign up and with CC reviews in hand, went with an open mind to experience the good and bad. After the first 7 days, I was still keeping an open mind and focussing on the good. By the second 7 days, some things had begun to be quite irritating and when entering the last leg of 11 days, we now saying, "never again MSC"! EMBARKATION - quick, once it all started but waiting for a few hours in an unlit temporary terminal on a thuddery day was not much fun. We did have drinks available! This was our first encounter with MSC's unusual admin ways. Although we were booked on 3 cruises our cards showed the dates for only 2 cruises. When questioned about this the answer was so absurd that I knew we would experience some unusual ways! THE SHIP: Really lovely - quality, relaxing decor and furnishings in public rooms,easy to navigate, good pool deck. Cabins were clean, a little smaller than other cruise lines with less drawers but bathroom ok. The things that annoyed us were that every bar had loud music playing constantly, so that it was difficult to find a quiet area to sit and read when blustery conditions prevented sitting on the balcony. Smoking was alowed inside certain bars and therefore again restricted our presence. THE STAFF - Our cabin steward was delightful,speaking good English and always attentive to any needs. The restaurant staff were fine but not outstanding. Fortunately we drank little. With only adequate bar staff, it sometimes took a while to order a drink. We had no real administration problems but those who did had a dreadful time at Reception. Some staff spoke good English but others were very poor in their communication skills and we heard some appalling tales that other passengers encountered. THE FOOD - OMG where do you start - maybe with the water that you had to purchase for 2 euro each time, whether in the restaurant or buffet. The food was continuously inconsistent! We dined in the L'Isbiscus restaurant every night and found the food boring and overcooked. On many occasions certain ingredients described in the menu were either in the Chefs dreams or so disguised that were unrecognisable. We discovered after the first 7 days that the menu was recycled every 7 days and even thouh the last sector of the cruise was advertised daily as a food and wine cruise, there were only 3 days of a new menu. By the last night, i was ready to throw the Darn of Salmon at the waiter!It was yet again dry and if you are thinking why didnt I order something different, well on several occasions, i rejected my first order for something else, only to find it was also either overcooked or salty. Then, every now and again a dish would surprise us, The rack of lamb, which was actually only 2 cutlets, was beautifully cooked and tasty!! At least the L'Isbiscus restaurant had a reasonable amount of space - even though we were squashed in a corner and never saw the sea at nights- the Borghese restaurant was ridiculously sqashy for lunch, hence we went to the buffet for lunch. Again, the food was consistly bad - inedible bad- and good -great indian curries and roasts on some days. Breakfast was GOOD - great German style rye breads, great tasting bacon, good eggs, yoghurt, heavenly waffles and despite the fact that they did not replace my cereal when it ran out, good variety of cereals. However, if you wanted fresh orange juice that had to be paid for! We tried the Oriental specialty restaurant for lunch- I think the only ones to do so as we saw no other people there day or night. The quality was acceptable but I could not label it good. We did not go to the 4 Seasons restaurant as it had no extra decor than the buffet and those who did use it said that the food was not much different to the usual. We do not know why they have specialty restaurants - they were a BIG dissapontment SHORE EXCURSIONS - good, very happy with the content and value of the excursions. Getting your bus number was typically chaotic as was much of the administration. ENTERTAINMENT - hmmm interesting! The night time entertainment in the theatre was excellent - just as well, as it recycled every 7 days also. We therefore saw all the shows 3 times and 1 for the fourth time. MSC's 'production shows' are different from all others. While only 30 mins, the shows had the usual dancers and singers and in addition, incorportaed contortionists and acrobats of very high quality. The theatre was beautiful but each night the CD introduced each show in 5 different languages which took 10 mins. During the first 7 days, I laughed at his amazing abikity to go so fluidly from 1 language to the other. By the second week, it began to be irritating and by the third week, it was more than annoying!! The ships activities - those things you participate or watch on sea days or in between times were carried out by 6 or 8 young enthusiastic guys and gals who again were fluent in several languages. In addition to ball games, we had cooking demonstrations, napkin folding and flower arranging. Needless to say, sea days were ultra boring - I am so glad I took my e-reader, otherwise there was not much to do - a complaint by many!! DISEMBARKATION - Hmmm again - words cannot adequately describe the chaos. Since our passports had to be handed in from Portugal onwards, we were told to retrieve them at 9 am onwards on day of embarkation. While that sounded strange, it was nothing compared to the debarcle that occured. Humongous lines- I am not exagerating - of 3000 passengers all trying to retieve their passports caused some passengers to resort to barging and near fisticuffs. I wish I had taken photos!! Having had to be out of our cabins at 7 am, we had to wait till nearly 10 am to get off and we were some of the early ones. This was far from MSC's finest hour!! In summary It seems to us that MSC supplies cheap cruise by undercutting all else - staff, food, entertainment and whatever else they can. Maybe if you only want a 7 day port intensive cruise and can put up with the announcement in 5 languages continuously and the lack of manners by some passengers, then by all means try MSC but for us, we would rather pay a little more and know that we will dine well, not have to sit in tobacco scented public areas and be entertained with slightly more sophistication. Not much to ask for in old age!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
Cabin: Category 10, Balcony Stateroom, Mid-ship, Deck 11 The room was pleasant and spacious. Bed was king-sized. Full sized desk (with vanity type mirror.) Drawers on both sides of the desk. Small sofa. Mini-bar with LCD TV above. Ample ... Read More
Cabin: Category 10, Balcony Stateroom, Mid-ship, Deck 11 The room was pleasant and spacious. Bed was king-sized. Full sized desk (with vanity type mirror.) Drawers on both sides of the desk. Small sofa. Mini-bar with LCD TV above. Ample closet space (2 closets side-by-side.) A third closet had floor to ceiling shelves plus the mini-safe. There were ample, shaped hangers available. Bathroom was typical cruise line except that the sink/vanity had cabinets and shelving below (nice touch.) Balcony had two chairs and a small table (man-made wicker.) The TV had a very user friendly on-board system for messages, calendar of events, account checking, etc. Access is through a single button on the remote - no channel surfing to find it! If it is used as intended, it would be very nice on longer cruises. There were no note pads or writing instruments in the desk. At evening turn down there are no chocolates on the pillow and no clever towel animals. Lacking a personal touch. Cabin attendant was very attentive and helpful. Left telephone wake-up call that never happened. The center elevator (closest to our room) does not go to deck 13 and there are no stairs at that point. Must go down hall to next elevator station to get to 13. Elevators are generally very slow and have a tendency to skip floors when going up/down for some reason. Important note: Once inside your room, there is a little box on the wall near the bathroom door. You must insert your sea card into that box for the room lights to function. This also activates a small led light outside the room to alert your room steward that the room is occupied so that he/she will not disturb you. Nice touch! Dining: Villa Borghesi Ristorante, Deck 5, Mid-Aft. Single level dining room, nicely divided into smaller eating areas of 6-8 tables. Attractive and warm in appearance. Quite noisy. Each table had a waiter (shared with other tables.) There was not an assistant waiter. Service was slow. Had to request water (several times) and on last evening it only came at the end of the meal. Bread/rolls we never refreshed/offered again after original serving. Language was a problem and waiter did not understand "salad dressing on the side' at all. We were never asked if we wanted coffee at the end of the meal. Same evening our waiter disappeared and other waiters had to fill-in for him. Food, overall, was mediocre at best. Rice was undercooked and crunchy. Steaks were not prepared as requested. Requested baked potato was brought to table many minutes after all hot foods had been delivered. Waldorf salad was a lettuce salad with one very small piece of apple smothered with a very unusual Thousand Island dressing. Vegetables were mushy. Some desserts were actually pretty good, but cakes were dry. Never saw a head waiter. La Piazzetta Cafeteria, Deck 13, Aft. The Cafeteria is very nice in appearance. There is a separate salad bar area (cereals and fruits in the am.) Two additional hot food lines (grill area), a desert area, and separate drink area. There is an attendant to pour your coffee. Ample seating both inside and outside. Tables at breakfast were set with silverware and napkins. Seating areas were quieter than the dining room. Lines were long and personnel would direct people to other areas to shorten lines even though what they wanted was where they were in the first place. Like the dining room, food was mediocre at best. Many empty pans were not promptly filled. At breakfast there was a sign alluding to the availability of eggs cooked to order - but no personnel available to perform that task. Entertainment: Both nights the entertainment was provided by the ships' own entertainers that would have to be classified as very good to excellent. Those on the second night received a well-deserved and prolonged standing ovation. It was, without a doubt, the best cruise line provided entertainment that we have seen. Although we expected one, a cruise director never did appear. The Covent Garden Theater is very nice and has good sight lines overall with only a couple of pillars that only obstruct a very few seats. There is not any in-theater bar service before the shows. Family & Children: We were two adults traveling so it is difficult to address this area. There is a separate pool area for children on deck 13; as well as a protected play area for younger kids. Public Areas: Overall, the ship is absolutely beautiful. Decoration is tasteful and refined. Getting from one area to another is not difficult. A majority of the public areas, including outside on deck 7, like the cabins themselves, are non-smoking. There is limited smoking on deck 13. Purser's desk had more than its share of lines due to embarkation problems. Personnel behind the counter were not well versed in English and spent more time (at one point) arguing with each other in Italian than taking care of customers. The reception area is very nice and had a very nice string quartet playing many times. Very pleasant and relaxing. There are several shops in the vicinity with a better than average selection. Resort/vacation type clothing was priced below what one would expect on a cruise line. The lounges were all very nice, and most offered areas where you could easily have nice, quiet conversations. Entertainment was on par with most cruise lines. Bar service in the lounges was far superior to that available in the Casino area. The Palm Beach Casino was nice even though small when compared to those on smaller ships. Beverage service (at the bar and on the floor) was extremely slow due to the apparent lack of personnel. Attendants to handle machine problems were difficult to find and slow to respond. General announcements (minimal) throughout the public areas were difficult to hear and/or understand. There is a definite need for improvement here. Most announcements were made in English only. Embarkation: Parking ($15 per day) is available only a 100 yards or so from the terminal building. In a nutshell, the embarkation was a nightmare. We had been told by MSC that embarkation could begin at 1PM and planned accordingly. At 13:15 we joined a very long line of people outside the terminal building (they were not letting people in yet.) Very quickly the line became a serpentine. About 14:15 they started to let people in (a few at a time.) By 15:15 we were in the building to join, yet another, serpentine line leading up to the TSA scanners. The line would move for a while, then stop for many minutes before resuming the minimum progress. Eventually we made it past the scanners only to be given a number for a seating area. Only after our number was called did our 'Web Express Check-In' take on any meaning. As a result we got to wait in a short serpentine line instead of a long one. Actual check-in went relatively smoothly except for the fact that they could not establish the on-board account due to computer problems. By 16:30 we were in our room with our carry-on baggage. From there we proceeded to the purser's office to join another long line to establish the on-board account. While there we inquired about the SBC (ship board credit) for the fuel surcharge refund - something nobody knew anything about. (footnote: The SBC did show up on our final shipboard account prior to debarkation.) The ship was scheduled to depart Port Everglades at 19:00. Actual departure due to the numerous problems did not take place until 20:30. Because of the delays, the mandatory muster drill was held the following morning at 08:30. Probably the shortest muster drill we have been through as most people were still sleeping and nobody bothered to get them up. One plus on embarkation. Once on-board the ship, a cabin steward was there to take us (and our luggage) to our room. By luck-of-the-draw ours was the steward for our room. He was pleasant and helpful and made us feel right at home. Exactly what went wrong here, I do not know. I heard a lot of stories and excuses (from MSC personnel and other passengers.) I strongly suspect that it was a combination of many things (ship being late, delayed debarkation of the transatlantic cruise, lack of trained MSC personnel, etc.) but standing for 4-5 hours in a line did little to give a "vacation" feel to the cruise. Debarkation: I have always felt that you should learn from your mistakes; and truly felt that this would be the case for MSC on debarkation. We signed up for the 'self-debarkation' as we always do on all cruises. The notice said that we would receive a special luggage tag (never did) and debarkation would go by decks. We were told to be out of the room by 07:00. Because it was a short, 2-night cruise, most people opted for 'self-debarkation' in hopes of getting off the ship quickly. We were in line shortly after 07:00. Consequently almost two thousand people and their bags crowded into the reception area; there were lines going in several directions. Nobody with MSC seemed to be directing things at all. Children were crying, and at one point 2 men almost got into a fist fight to gain position in line. Shouts for "Security" seemed to quiet them down. The nightmare of embarkation was replaying itself, only this time passengers couldn't wait to get off the ship. It left an unpleasant aftertaste that tainted the entire trip. While waiting in line I spoke with several couples (first time cruisers) about their experience. Further, I went into detail explaining to them that this had not been a 'normal' embarkation/debarkation experience. I hated the idea that people would be turned off on cruising because of this experience - especially since the experience on most of the cruise had been positive. All things come to an end; and ours finally did at 08:30 when the line to debark started to move. Once we exited the ship, everything went smoothly. We were in our car and en-route home by 09:00. Comments: I would normally end a review with what has been said before this. In this case I think that there are a few more things that need to be said here. It was apparent throughout the cruise that MSC had fewer people than they should have had to perform certain functions. It was also apparent that many of those that they did have should have been trained better than they were. Why was this? I do no know. Cost savings reductions? Possibly. The availability, or lack thereof, of qualified people. Maybe? I really don't know. But little things -like chocolate on the pillows -matter. I only know that there is room for improvement in many areas. It is the job of a cruise line and its personnel to make people feel special; to pamper their passengers. That's why they are paying the money to cruise in the first place. MSC failed in many areas in this respect. I can only hope that MSC has learned from this cruise and that many things change and do improve. I think that MSC really missed an opportunity here. Had they truly excelled on this simple 2 night cruise, they would have won a lot of followers. That did not happen and I think, I'm sorry to say, that they lost a lot of potential long time customers. Sorry MSC, I had hoped for more from you! I spent a lot of time talking to people on the cruise about what they expected and what they were getting. Many of these people were first time cruisers and I only hope that I was able to get them to understand, and believe, that the bad experiences that they had endured were the exception and not the rule as far as cruising was concerned. I would like them to come back to cruising, if not MSC, at least another cruise line. Perhaps, later, they will give MSC another chance. They truly deserve it - they have a great ship but need to improve the service to make it a better product. Will we sail MSC again? I cannot say at this point. We had said that if we liked this cruise we were going to book the 'Cruising to Music' cruise in late February. At this point, that is not going to happen. I have a hard-sell with my other half! 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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