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7 MSC Cruises MSC Orchestra Senior Cruise Reviews

this was our first cruise.My wife's ambition to cruise the Med. Visions of good food, good service and interesting places to visit, the main reason for chosen this particular cruise was its ports of call. Unfortunately it wasn't ... Read More
this was our first cruise.My wife's ambition to cruise the Med. Visions of good food, good service and interesting places to visit, the main reason for chosen this particular cruise was its ports of call. Unfortunately it wasn't as we had hoped. Dumped at the harbour side with our luggage, ignored by some attendants wearing high vis jackets and expected to fathom out the boarding procedures. when we were acknowledged it was a curt' go over there. ' .having left home at 2.30 am arriving at Barcelona port at 10 and not expected to board ship until 3 it was not a god first impression. Obtaining the cabin key was another farce. it would have made more sense to have explained that the key, along with the luggage would be in the allocated cabin which would be unlocked.The cabin was clean and adequate but the wind noise when at sea and the drone of the engines was nearly un-acceptable. the ship was clean and tidy, well furnished if perhaps a little dated. The staff were friendly and some very helpful. The items to purchase on board, drinks,water and excursions ( if you hadn't purchased in advance) were very expensive. The self service cafeteria was like feeding time on the farm with everyone pushing and shoving and devouring as much as they could get there hands on. not like the vision of civilised dining we had anticipated. the food was bland and tasteless and a bit monotonousness. the allocated evening restaurant served minute portions of similar quality. Not to be recommended is the Chinese, Japanese restaurant that was available for an extra charge, i can say it must rate as one of the worst i have ever eaten in and is an embarrassment to the nations it is meant to represent. avoid at all costs. now the good points. The salad bar and fruit bar were both excellent. the evening entertainment was superb, a pleasure to watch and the fact we had pre-purchased a drinks package allowed us to sample different cocktails.. sorry but that's it . The daily itinerary, along with suggested evening dress code was a good idea, telling us times of various activities and also which musician was in which bar. its a pity that most people chose to ignore it, unless jeans, trainers and open neck shirts are classified as evening dress for men . ! ! ! we were charged a charitable donation to our on-board account, another payment they think there gusts should make . this seems to be an automatic, not notified charge that the inexperienced guest need to be aware of. our overall opinion of this cruise line is, that it wants to extract as much money as possible from its guests and give as little in return as possible. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Both my sister and I have mobility issues - walking frame and crutches. Port assistance had been requested, none forth-coming, struggled through a flooded approach to embark, still no assistance. Transfer to cabin without any issues. ... Read More
Both my sister and I have mobility issues - walking frame and crutches. Port assistance had been requested, none forth-coming, struggled through a flooded approach to embark, still no assistance. Transfer to cabin without any issues. First night dined in buffet, it was like a free for all cattle market, found food exceptable, but below expectation, always cold. All looked very pretty, Took us a week to find real meat, Carvery well tucked away. It appeared that the staff were uncomfortable at offering assistance out-side their designated duties. Good thing about the dining-room was the people we met. Food again well presented but cold. Guests were ordering extra courses as the 'fine dining was Find Dining' Waiter very pleasant. We are not fussy eaters but had risotto 3 nights followed by ice-cream from the children menu. Late night snacks was filled bread rolls or cold pizza. We spent 3 days eating a niceselection of breads and processed cheese. I need to stop here as I sound like a miserable moaner. We did enjoy the folks we met may of them of the same opinion. I CANCELLED THE GRATUITIES. First time in my life Entertainment was quite good staff worked hard. Stefany from the casino was the only person to give help he would not leave us after the drill until he got someone to assist us back to cabin as we were both in need of physical support by then. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Ship: This ship smells of smoke, is dated, with not much to do on board. Pool Area: Was surprised to see that there were only two pools for tons of people. Pools are packed with people- didn't bother to go in. Food: ... Read More
Ship: This ship smells of smoke, is dated, with not much to do on board. Pool Area: Was surprised to see that there were only two pools for tons of people. Pools are packed with people- didn't bother to go in. Food: Food is ok- you will not go hungry as there are lots of options. We had the drink package but was disappointed to see that many drinks were not included despite asking the MSC rep if all drinks on the menu would be included. Service: Service was ok- hit and miss. Sometimes great, other times had to wait a long time for a drink. Overall: This was our first cruise experience and because the itinerary for this ship saw us cruising only at night, we enjoyed waking up in a new port every morning with no days at sea. We would definitely cruise again but not with MSC. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
What a disappointment. My partner and I had been looking forward to this trip with great anticipation for over a year, leaving from Dubai to Fremantle. Food was mediocre and never hot, especially in the cafeteria. The layout of the ... Read More
What a disappointment. My partner and I had been looking forward to this trip with great anticipation for over a year, leaving from Dubai to Fremantle. Food was mediocre and never hot, especially in the cafeteria. The layout of the cafeteria was not well planned. In the dining room the staff were great but the food again was mediocre. Even a simple dish like a Nasi Goreng was a disaster. Steaks were like shoe leather. Entertainment was very limited and most things were done around the pool after 10.30 at night. Nothing much to do during the day except read a book or go to a quiz which was run by youngsters and only good for teenagers. Water had to be bought at the table unless you wanted to leave the 5th deck and go to the 13th deck in the middle of your dinner to get a drink of water. The shop charged exorbitant prices for simple things like a pack of cards for around $10. A lot of passengers were sick with a flu like symptoms and the doctor charged 80 euros for a visit, plus medication. We have cruised 10 times and I have never met such rude people in the Customer Service. Never a smile. The ship is kept in pristine conditions, the staff are working day and night to clean, even vacuuming at 10 o'clock at night. Never saw the Captain once. Every announcement made in 4 languages which was very irritating. Embarkation/disembarkation was very efficient. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
We have taken a lot of cruises. One was on a sailing yacht, and the others were larger ships. MSC is not a good choice for Americans. You will feel less welcome and the food is nnot to our taste. This ship was like a cattle car, very ... Read More
We have taken a lot of cruises. One was on a sailing yacht, and the others were larger ships. MSC is not a good choice for Americans. You will feel less welcome and the food is nnot to our taste. This ship was like a cattle car, very overcrowded. It was difficult disembarking for excursions because of the crowd which was largely European. In general, we often felt that we were being shoved a lot more than on other ships (not because of being American, but because that is evidently how they interact on elevators and other tight spaces.) Because of my ethnicity, I was typically mistaken for being either Norwegian or German. The cabin was not much different than the others that we have experienced. When we attempted to sleep in at the port where our excursion was cancelled, we were bombarded with constant loud announcements of various excusions needing to gather. The common areas of the ship were disappointing. There was nowhere to enjoy dancing, unlike our favorites of the larger ships-Carnival and Royal Caribbean. Fitness areas were restricted to people who got some kind of medical clearance. We did not bother to try to get that, not wanting to fill out lots of personal information without even being able to see the fitness room. The pool was outdoors, and the weather was quite chilly. No one used it. We only found one place to take a cutesy photo of the interior-the lounge which had a leopard or ocelot theme. Otherwise it was quite a plain ship. The casino was too smoky to enjoy. Many smokers were sitting on the seats by machines, smoking and not gambling. About half of the computers actually worked. We only had dinner twice in the formal dining room because the offerings were so limited. As it is, we were not assigned a table even though we had given our preferences months earlier. We had to see the wait staff to be assigned a table. It was only for 2 people, and it was off in a far end. Our formal dining photos were not purchased because the photographers could only take individual photos of us at the table. We are not much into seafood, especially sushi or octopus. Steak was only on the menu once. We paid a lot to end up in the cafeteria, eating their limited fare of cold burgers or cold pizza. And sometimes we did not eat because the cafeteria had very limited hours. And no midnight buffets on this ship! Water was an extra charge at meal time! Coffee was not available at lunch. The towels in the cabin were folded in the shape of an animal only one time. There were no chocolates on the pillows, and no welcome aboard drink. (There was no pampering.)The main performances were hard to find on the daily newsletter, causing us to miss 2 performances because they were not listed under "entertainment." They were stuck somewhere in the advertisement area. We saw contortionists, opera, and a Michael Jackson impersonator. (The Europeans were quite thrilled with him and their incessant loud clapping throughout the performance was hard on the ears.)Embarkation was too easy because it was insufficient. We were not given our excursion tickets which had been prepaid. The shops were not what I expected. There was no Loreal shop despite what I had read. And the gift shops were featuring Russian goods from a cruise prior to ours. The ship was using well-stabilized but on the 2 days where it got a bit rough, there were barf bags everywhere (as if they were decorative.) Any photo of the interior on those evenings would have been hilarious. This cruise line charges a set amount for tips, and they will NOT alter it upon request. This was a huge gyp since we hardly ate in the dining room; never ordered an alcoholic beverage; & the customer relations staff were most unhelpful. (The cabin steward was ok.) Kiel, Germany- Why would a cruise stop there on a Sunday? Everything was closed of course. We walked around but it was pretty boring. MSC had some excursions which would take cruisers to other nearby locations, BUT they cancelled ours because there were not enough English speaking cruisers!! AND they didn't care that I can also speak German & French. I was given no alternative options for my choice. Also, no refund yet. Geiranger, Norway- We had fun because we had arranged to meet friends there. We did not take an organized excursion. It has nice shops and a lovely setting. We toured the area by private car. Stavanger, Norway - We took a motor coach tour of the area & went to some shops. The dessert turned out to be pancakes which was disappointing since it mimicked my breakfast. Nice scenery. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
I am a retired Civil Servant, Civil Aviation Authority, and am fairly well travelled. My wife and I live on the Costa Blanca in Playa Flamenca around 60kms South of Alicante. So when a cruise became available that suited our preference for ... Read More
I am a retired Civil Servant, Civil Aviation Authority, and am fairly well travelled. My wife and I live on the Costa Blanca in Playa Flamenca around 60kms South of Alicante. So when a cruise became available that suited our preference for the Med was departing from Alicante we went for it. We persuaded a neighbour to take us to the port and point of embarkation very easy. Then we checked in our cases, no probs, but then an interminable walk, which I do have problems with, to passport control, then up two flights of stairs to a walkway, about 200m to the gangway and not covered. So got very hot as it was a sunny day. There was a lift that arrived at the entrance but it was not being used. I have noticed that MSC are not alone in this. Most cruise passengers are getting on a bit and yet are expected to walk long distances from the ships to disembarkation points. In most cases this is avoidable and is just thoughtless. Only at Jerez could you step off the ship and straight onto the tours and transport services. After some form filling we were shown to our cabin arriving in a very hot state. The Cabin was an inside one and had all the usual ammenities so o.k.. It was thouroughly cleaned and maintained throughout. There was a very comprehensive book of shipboard information to study and the usual brochures on the ships attractions and trips ashore. The trips were quite expensive but we decided to go on a couple. Ship's information was by the usual letter to your cabin and very clear as to what was happening. The ship duly sailed and we went to our assigned dining room and table. La Ibiscus Restaurant, the tables were very crowded together and waiters had great trouble getting between us all. Not at all comfortable and it was compounded by the fact that the food was very ordinary. One of the main reasons we go cruising is the quality of the food and this was plainly nowhere near what it should have been, little choice, overcooked and too salty was a common complaint.. I can get a better Menu del Dias in my local Bar/Restaurant for around 10€. so this was a major disappointment. In addition anything outside the menus, water and wine we had to buy at very expensive prices plus a 15 per cent surcharge. Breakfasts could be had in the restaurant, excellen, or in the buffet. Lunch was the same but the Restaurant charged for water whereas it was actually free in the buffet bar. Quality of the food, apart from breakfast, was pretty average to poor. We are fairly lazy cruisers and like to sit on deck and either play cards or read. Most of the passengers were Italian and they proved very noisy and territorial, made the Germans look like amateurs. So quiet it was not but we did enjoy ourselves. We could not fault the Staff and the service they supplied. However there was much discontent about the price policy on board. Basic prices were very high. E.G. 2.50€ for a can of Diet Coke then a 15 per cent surcharge bringing this up to 3.70€. Totally rip off and most were aware of this and complaining. Thus when it came to the usual tipping, 7€ a day, most passengers cancelled out the end of cruise tips. I did not feel this was fair to the staff as we felt that MSC were just being greedy with a captive clientel and in spite of claiming it replaced the tipping option they still tried to charge this. Evening entertainment was to a pretty good standard and played in a very comfortable and well equipped theatre. During the day it was more of a Hi-De-Hi type scene and very active. Shore excursions were the usual mixture. We went ashore on our own in Jerez and used a local Taxi with a very friendly and informative guide. In Lisbon we used a ship's excursion, it was expensive for what it was, mainly a bus ride round a small part of the City and lasted about 3 hours. In Gibralter we went onto the Dolphin trip and it was excellent mainly because we encountered around 200 dolphins so it had to be good. Disembarkation was efficient but again a walk of over 250m was involved. I asked for, and was given the use of a wheelchair so well done MSC but it would be better to eliminate the need for it. On the whole I would not recommend MSC, the headline price is reasonable but the on-board costs make it an expensive experience. The Ship and the staff are great but that 15per cent surcharge on everything and the quality of the food left a bad taste. Never again with this firm. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
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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