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12 MSC Cruises MSC Orchestra Cruise Reviews for Senior Cruises to Mediterranean

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
This cruise ship was clean and tidy but the cruise was a disaster hoping to have a lovely Xmas cruise we were very very disappointed .The food was disgusting most of the time it was served after a long wait more often than not it was COLD ... Read More
This cruise ship was clean and tidy but the cruise was a disaster hoping to have a lovely Xmas cruise we were very very disappointed .The food was disgusting most of the time it was served after a long wait more often than not it was COLD and undercooked . The service was pathetic very slow sometimes waiting for up to 45 minutes between courses . The cabin was good and always clean and tidy . The cabin steward was always pleasant and helpful . Entertainment was good and a good choice of entertainment . Reception ok staff helpful and efficient . We missed a couple of ports due to adverse weather conditions and were given a refund of €50 each but were not informed that we had to spend it on board till we were disembarking so lost that . After disembarking we discovered our suitcase had been damaged I would only travel again on MSC when HELL FREEZES OVER . I strongly advise you not to travel with this company . Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
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 is old but OK, Service is very good, polite, helpfull... Cabin could be better. Excursions are very expensive and not good organised, to get on and off the boat it is a war, a fight to be the first ! Dining is like a hundreds of ... Read More
Ship is old but OK, Service is very good, polite, helpfull... Cabin could be better. Excursions are very expensive and not good organised, to get on and off the boat it is a war, a fight to be the first ! Dining is like a hundreds of hungry pigs doing a hold-up on the buffet! The theme restaurants are better for the service, food is as bad as in the self service. Once I had risotto with St Jacobs scallops , sorry was only 1 slice, about 1/5 of a scallop!! An other day we had Pintade.... the leg who has been warmed up in a microwave, it was hard as a stone!! Also pay attention to your drinks.... not included and very expensive if you want to enjoy cocktais, wine, etc .....I hoped to have a good reposing cruise, but it turned out in a horrible experence. That is why I do not want to let you have the same disillusion Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
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
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
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
This is my first cruise and i really loved it. We embarked at Barcelona and it was very easy and no hiccups, arrived on board at noon and rooms were ready at 1.30pm. Our room was 8012 no balcony but a large porthole view. Room was a ... Read More
This is my first cruise and i really loved it. We embarked at Barcelona and it was very easy and no hiccups, arrived on board at noon and rooms were ready at 1.30pm. Our room was 8012 no balcony but a large porthole view. Room was a reasonable size and very clean and a nice bathroom, and a bar fridge, fresh towels every day also. Ship was about 3/4 full so not too crowded and we could always get a chair or sun lounge next to pool. We had the first seating for dinner and our meals were always lovely, not huge portions but you could always ask for more, and there was 3 courses and a selection of hot rolls. The buffet was great at breakfast and lunch with many things to pick from, however we quite often went to the dining room for lunch as it was more relaxed and not as noisy. Loads of entertainment during the day and a show every night. A new port every morning and i booked excursions and was not disappointed, tickets arrived in my cabin every evening with the time and location i had to be next morning. very professionally carried out. Only thing i thought was a bit expensive was the photos taken on board 25 Euros for one pic was a bit much in my opinion. We took the 26Euro a day drink package and found it to work out really good value as you could have almost anything you wanted. I was worried about being sea sick but there was hardly a ripple around the Mediterrian. I would love to go again and next time do the Greek islands. We had nothing to complain about loved it all and the staff were fantastic. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
My boyfriend and I are 19 and 20. We are both pretty busy people starting careers and completing various qualifications. Last minute (one month before the holiday) we booked to go on the Orchestra end of may to early June for a week. ... Read More
My boyfriend and I are 19 and 20. We are both pretty busy people starting careers and completing various qualifications. Last minute (one month before the holiday) we booked to go on the Orchestra end of may to early June for a week. First of all the cabin was everything and more than what we expected. It was spacious and bright, despite the balcony being directly above the lifeboats the balcony was private and it was big and very clean. The room was large and had a big mirror opposite the bed which meant a lot of reflected light making the room look even larger. Air conditioning was fantastic, was always the temperature we wanted. Secondly the ship was contemporary, perhaps an acquired taste in some bars (animal prints etc.) however the rest of the ship was clean and modern and there were many other bars to chose from obviously! The buffet was unbelievable. I have been on many cruises where the buffet was perhaps average at best, but the Orchestra had fresh pizza every day all day at the buffet with other wonderful Italian food. It was fresh and a lot of the food really clean and healthy. Felt like a cleansing! Was so much better than I expected. The food in the restaurant was of a normal standard, however the waiting staff made up for the average food. They always made the effort to make a conversation, big smiles and very polite. The was one bar that we went to every night before dinner (The Amber Bar), one barman made the effort to get to know us etc. and he bought us snacks with our beers (and refilled them sneakily after we had finished them). I can't give an accurate report on the entertainment because we didn't engage with any of the activities or entertainment as my boyfriend and I spent everyday all day enjoying the port we were at! The ports were perfect (Barcelona, Ajaccio, Rome, La Spezia, Genoa, Cannes and back to Barcelona). Every port was wonderful. I especially rate La Spezia, if you go there buy the ticked for the boat which travels to all the nearby seaside towns, these towns are called the Cinque Terres, if you stay at La Spezia you are missing out on the most breathtaking scenery, we spent all day off the boat and got very burnt! We had an excursion in Rome and it was fantastic, the guide was patient and very knowledgeable. We went on the Vatican tour which was brilliant and so informative. It's the little details she knew which made it all very special. I think this ship is for all ages, from a casino to a wonderful looking children club. However we didn't travel with children, but we felt that the ship was suitable for everybody. Would 100% travel with MSC again, was brilliant and the staff were incredibly kind. Read Less
Sail Date May 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
We normally go with NCL and the cruise we were planning to do on the Norwegian Epic was full and our travel agent suggested giving MSC a go. We were very apprehensive about this due to reviews we have seen about food etc. However, it was ... Read More
We normally go with NCL and the cruise we were planning to do on the Norwegian Epic was full and our travel agent suggested giving MSC a go. We were very apprehensive about this due to reviews we have seen about food etc. However, it was one of the best cruise holidays we have had. Embarkation was brilliant. Our flight was extremely early and the ship was not in port when we got there in our taxi from the airport. The porters were so helpful took our luggage away and told us to come back after 1 pm when the ship docked. When we came back to the ship we were given priority boarding because of our early arrival. Our ship card was waiting for us in the cabin and we changed our first sitting to second sitting dining with no problem at all. Within in 20 minutes of getting in the cabin our luggage arrived. Food on board was superb although we avoided the Pizza buffet as it was always crowded and busy. This is the case on all ships we have found. The restaurant waiters and food was excellent. We were on the all inclusive drinks package and were amazed that bottled water and speciality coffees were included. Not the case on many other ships we have been on!!! Entertainment was very laid back and we did not see any shows although the theatre was amazing. We did not do any shore excursions. What was absolutely noticeable in a good way was that there was not constant tannoy announcements from cruise directors letting you know about entertainment etc. We did not do any shore excursions we preferred to do our own thing. Every member of staff treated us with courtesy and they were always more than helpful. Disembarking the ship and collecting our luggage was the most organised I have ever seen. Marvellous. I would highly recommend MSC and will most definitely cruise with them again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
My wife and I have just completed the 14 day cruise from Rio to Genoa. Having cruised with MSC before our expectations were reasonable and they were met. The staff on the ship range from speaking English but not understanding English ... Read More
My wife and I have just completed the 14 day cruise from Rio to Genoa. Having cruised with MSC before our expectations were reasonable and they were met. The staff on the ship range from speaking English but not understanding English through to a good comprehension of English. If you are expecting a cruise with normal English standards you will probably be disappointed. if you want a cruise that will enable you to mix with people from a range of nationalities, you are prepared to accept the quirks and behaviour of those nationalities, you accept the pushing and shoving that is normal for them and are prepared to accept what you consider rudeness and bad manners but to them is normal behaviour then you will have a good time. If you are not prepared to accept the above then do not cruise with MSC as you will be disappointed. If you have not travelled with MSC before then research them well so that you will not be disillusioned. Their meaning of customer service is different to ours. Our interactive TV did not work in our cabin for the first 10 days. Finally after 3 requests and a written notice it worked. However at no time were we informed what was happening or advised that it was fixed. You need to persevere and keep checking every day until something happens. Their tours are are usually overpriced by our standards and what is written in English is not exactly what happens on occasion. You need to understand that to us what appears to be organised chaos to them is normal. They make very few if any allowances for people with disabilities. One very big negative is the embarkation procedures in Rio. My wife requires assistance and despite 3 hours of waiting and several requests no assistance was forthcoming. My wife finally had to hobble through and literally be carried by myself to the ship. The girls in their white uniforms were pathetic as well as being rude, arrogant and ignorant. Believing that corporate behaviour stems from the top I can only say that the girls in Rio need to be reprimanded and then retrained. Their superior needs to be either reprimanded and retrained or sacked and replaced by a person who understands what customer service actually means. In all, if you wish to experience a very interesting experience with lots of diversity you will enjoy MSC. My wife and I certainly did. One big note to MSC. MSC Orchestra is cruising to Australia next year. I tell you now that you need to vastly improve your definition of customer standards, initiate feedback procedures to your passengers and revise your handling procedures of clients with special needs. If you do not then your foray into the Australian market will be disappointing.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
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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