1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. MSC Cruises
  4. MSC Orchestra Review
  5. MSC Orchestra Cruise Reviews

3 MSC Cruises MSC Orchestra Repositioning Cruise Reviews

We have recently returned from a 40 night Grand Voyage on MSC Orchestra. Our first cruise with MSC, only the second cruise that we have ever done, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. We cant wait to do another one! We found embarkation to ... Read More
We have recently returned from a 40 night Grand Voyage on MSC Orchestra. Our first cruise with MSC, only the second cruise that we have ever done, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. We cant wait to do another one! We found embarkation to be easy and well organised (and I love a French or Italian accent), and directions to our cabin were given by immaculately presented staff on board. Our luggage took a little while to arrive, but we were somewhat paranoid due to a misunderstanding with where we should be and where our luggage should be when first arriving at Dubai Port. Non MSC staff onshore were not always that helpful. First impression of the ship is really pleasing. It is spotlessly clean, beautifully decorated and furnished (subjective opinion I guess) and throughout the voyage this standard was maintained. Staff were constantly, unobtrusively, keeping all areas immaculately maintained. Every washroom I used throughout the ship were the cleanest I have ever encountered. All the time, every time. Our cabin (deck 8, on the rear), was spacious and clean. A few minor signs of wear that didn't affect our pleasure , say 95/100. Some holiday basics that can make or break. The bed(s),2 king singles pushed together, was very comfortable. A good nights sleep from day one. The pillows, unusual to my taste, and mentioned by others, but didn't affect my sleeping. More than enough drawer and hanging space. Excellent water pressure in the shower, which was more roomy than my only other cruising experience. Lots of hot water Towels changed twice a day. Room made up twice a day. Food. The buffet offered a range of food that changed throughout the day. Some aspects of the menu varied day to day and others remained constant. The standard of the food available ranged from excellent to OK. Often it was not as hot as I would have liked, but this also varied from dish to dish and day to day. We still often opted to eat there. Suggestion, if there at a busy time, find your table BEFORE you collect your food. Sounds like common sense to me. The a la carte restaurant. Staff immaculately presented, permanently friendly and willing to do almost anything to make your life pleasant. Most staff on the ship speak 4 or 5 languages and English is not necessarily going to be their best. Can be entertaining or annoying depending on your attitude and approach, but can always be sorted out. Often noticed the staff enjoying themselves and having a laugh which impressed me, because they work hard and long hours. The food was always hotter here than in the buffet and, I believe tasted better. This could of course be the ambience etc. etc. This is not to say it was better. Some meat dishes were disappointing (eg a "steak" turning out to be a thin slice of overcooked roast ), but other meals were excellent. In my opinion, all the entrees and desserts were most enjoyable. The range available on each nights changing menu was varied enough to suit most tastes. An issue I don't understand, that reared its head over and over again, was water with dinner. Water and ice (and tea and coffee) is available 24hrs in the buffet), BUT, and I knew this before embarking, water is not served with dinner unless you buy bottled water. However, every drink package, in addition to whatever you have chosen, provides a supply of bottled water that was more than sufficient for our needs, that can be obtained at any bar or restaurant throughout the ship. I heard people complaining even quite late in the voyage about this aspect but it seemed mostly along the lines of "this is what we do, and just because you are Italian you should not be different". Entertainment in the theatre was outstanding in presentation and content and variety. Wait staff were constantly attentive but achieved the perfect balance of not being intrusive. On board activities were many and varied. The activities we participated in were entertaining and rewarding. We never found disembarkation a problem although Brisbane was a bit disappointing. After cruising, I find the concept of airports, airplanes, log haul flights and everything that goes with them quite unsettling. But, as a converted cruiser, I've got to face it because I'm ready to MSC again. In summary, not perfect, but I would give MSC 95/100 for value, cleanliness, general comfort, staff at all levels, entertainment and facilities but with some room for improvement in food. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
There was 4 off us, one disabled, and we had a marvellous time. The staff where friendly and very helpful and went out of their way to make our disabled friend's live as easy as possible aboard. They made sure that he could access ... Read More
There was 4 off us, one disabled, and we had a marvellous time. The staff where friendly and very helpful and went out of their way to make our disabled friend's live as easy as possible aboard. They made sure that he could access anything he needed and help was always available for going ashore and returning as with everything else on board. The entertainment staff worked very hard to make the time on board entertaining and encouraged everyone to have a very good time. Both my friend and I are a bit reserved but they encouraged us to join in and we ended up having a wonderful time. The entertainment staff took time out during the day to ask and answer questions and where always ready to take on suggestions. The entertainment on stage was first class, with something for everyone even if some of the nights where not to our taste, they were still very professional and entertaining, with the performers taking time out at the end to be at the exits of the theatre to meet and answer questions. The ship was clean tidy and very comfortable. Meals were excellent with plenty of variety and very well prepared. Serving staff where well trained and very Curtis making sure that your food was delivered correctly. We only took one shore excursion to Petra, but this was very well organised and we enjoyed the whole experience. It was something that we could not have done without the excursion. The rest of the time we did our own thing when going ashore as out friend finds due to his disability it is not easy to go on shore excursions as a lot are not suitable for wheelchairs. The inside cabin was comfortable and the cabin Steward was friendly helpful and kept everything clean and tidy. Embarkation in Venice was efficient and quick with extra care being taken for the disabled, the same for disembarkation in Dubai. Safety was always top priority and going through the Suez Canal and around Yemen the Staff where kept well trained and you felt that they would be able to handle any emergency that was forthcoming i.e piratecy. Overall we would all do another cruise with MSC, having done numerous cruises with other company's we feel that value for money and hospitality MSC will take some beating. We are looking to take another repositioning cruise in 2016 if one comes up with MSC as these are exceptionally good value for money. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
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
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

Find a MSC Orchestra Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click