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131 MSC Cruises Southern Caribbean Cruise Reviews

This is a new ship and it is beautiful and the price was right. Getting on the ship was pretty fast if you don't stop to take a cruise pic. First impression of inside of ship was wow very nice. We went to buffet for lunch it was just ... Read More
This is a new ship and it is beautiful and the price was right. Getting on the ship was pretty fast if you don't stop to take a cruise pic. First impression of inside of ship was wow very nice. We went to buffet for lunch it was just ok noting special like Carnival or RCCL lines what I'm use to. Made it to cabin stated where's the 3rd closet and extra storage space. There was a foul smell coming from the shower drain at times so strong I put a wet towel over the drain to keep the odor from penetrating the entire cabin, most times the smell was in the halls. MSC should make it mandatory for all employees to wear deodorant OMG the smell was pretty bad on some employees. The ship hasn't changed over to the American market it still is favoring the European market. Food: The food on the Meraviglia is just one step above the MSC Seaside and that's not good. Back in the day people went on cruises and raved about how fabulous the food was, not on these ships. People in the yacht club were complaining about the food quality. A passenger in the YC was telling me that a man ordered a t bone steak and a strip steak was server to him. It was corrected but the mistake should not have happened in the first place. The food was lukewarm, some mornings you have super hot coffee and other days it's like warm by the time you put creamer of milk in it's cold. One day I chose a small piece of steak from the children side it was so tough I couldn't even cut it with a knife. Restaurants kept running out of clean coffee cups. I noticed how much food that was left on plates. Food was not edible, to tough or to salty or just not cooked right. The specialty restaurants were a joke, they are just a small step above the buffet. NOT GOOD. I inquired 3 times if the Meraviglia had switched over to the American market and was guaranteed that it has been. NO IT HAS NOT. MSC better wake up and copy other ships that have their program together if not it will fail in the American market. Entertainment: Went to the special show on board thought this is what I've seen in Vegas not, they might as well hired some of the seniors in wheelchairs and using walkers to do the show. Show was boring and felt like a middle school production. The show was over and there wasn't an announcement saying goodnight and thank you for coming just silence for a minute then the passengers started getting up to leave. There was a group on board that had a private event in the Sky lounge it was more entertaining then all the shows on board. We had a ball with them. There should be more to do during the day other then shopping shows or trivia. Who was the cruise director? Other pass cruises I've taken the cruise director was more active and we all knew who it was. Money: MSC nickel and dime you to death, old tv shows and movies cost $8 to watch in your cabin. bowling $25 for one half hour. .All day long you are bothered by the people trying to sell you a drink package or to one of their terrible specialty restaurants. Would I recommend this cruise line to a friend no I would not, to and enemy yes I would. I'm done with MSC Cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
About the Reviewer: I’m a 37-year-old male who sailed with his mother to celebrate her milestone birthday. This was my second MSC Cruise, my first being on the MSC Seaside in October 2018 (there’s a review for that voyage as well). ... Read More
About the Reviewer: I’m a 37-year-old male who sailed with his mother to celebrate her milestone birthday. This was my second MSC Cruise, my first being on the MSC Seaside in October 2018 (there’s a review for that voyage as well). However, this sailing I was celebrating a milestone of my own as this was my 47th cruise overall and my accomplishment was hitting a full year of my life at sea! Other cruise lines I’ve sailed on are Norwegian Cruise Line (Platinum Plus with over 25 cruises), Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Princess Cruises and lastly a couple of times on Carnival. My reviews are typically written in chronological order so you can follow along with when things occurred and what my thoughts on them were. At the end there’s a summary and thank you to staff who stood out. I hope you enjoy! Day 1 – Embarkation Day – New York City After the first cruise to sail from NYC had a bad embarkation, I was happy I wasn’t arriving to Manhattan until Noon on the bus I took down from Boston. Upon arrival to the pier, the porters quickly took our luggage and with a decent tip ($2 per bag), our bags were gone and down the conveyer belt in no time! We entered the terminal and encountered a fairly long security line at 12:30PM. When I had my documents out, the lady pulled me aside and told me to go into another line which was not snaked. I did so and we were at security in no time. The check in counters didn’t have any lines at all. I was taken straight away and we were on the ship by 12:45PM. It was pretty seamless! We embarked the Meraviglia from the front of the ship and walked down the indoor Promenade with the giant LED screen, the largest at sea! It was impressive, although some of the shows watching them looking straight up later in the cruise would make me get dizzy. To best view them, go to deck 7 by the spa and look the long way down the promenade. Helpful Tip: We registered our credit cards at the onboard kiosk on Deck 6 by the elevators mid-ship. There are two types of machines to register your room card with. One takes cash and credit cards, the other one takes credit cards only and is smaller. The cash machine had so many people fiddling with them, I just wanted the card machine and this was located on Deck 6 starboard side. We went to lunch at the Market Place Buffet up on Deck 15. The buffet is quite lengthy. Each side has the same type of sections. In the front on the port side is the pizza station which serves pizza pretty much ALL the time (breakfast pizzas, and a changing variety throughout the rest of the day). There’s a pasta, salad, rotisserie, sweets and wellness sections. On port and starboard side there was ethnic sections which largely consisted of Mexican / Spanish foods throughout our voyage. In the back of the buffet (most didn’t walk that far), there was a stir fry section which was really good. During the voyage, on port days, the back section of the buffet was closed. We grabbed a plate of food and sat on the outside deck overlooking the Hudson River. It was overcast but not too chilly to enjoy a lunch out there. While eating lunch, I connected to the ship’s WiFi and loaded the MSC for Me app. This app is quite handy in booking reservations for all the shows and seeing what’s on. It also has a chat functionality which you can use to stay connected to new found friends on the ship. It was the first cruise where I used the chat functionality and it worked quite well. The app also gives you guidance on where things are in the ship and how to get to them. I strongly urge you to download this prior to the voyage so you can take full advantage of what’s on offer and waste minimal time at the touch screens scattered throughout the ship. After lunch, it was announced the staterooms were ready. We proceeded to our stateroom and the luggage was already there! This was quite impressive given how short of a time it was. The rooms were ready at 2PM. Stateroom 9218: This is a Fantastica balcony stateroom. If you don’t know what Fantastica is, it’s a tier level of room you book on MSC ships where you get certain amenities – main among them is room service. This stateroom was located starboard side on the mid-ship bump out and it was the second to last room heading aft in the mid-ship bump out. MSC seems to have a standard stateroom format as the room looked exactly the same as Seaside. The closet was small and didn’t have enough hangars (we remembered and brought our own). There is two cubbies and two drawers on the right side of the closet with the safe in the middle. There’s also another cubby on the floor of the closet on the right side. The bathroom consisted of a shower with glass door, very deep sink (love the sink design on MSC) and a counter which extends down the wall for storage. There are three shelves in the bathroom. The stateroom was in physically good condition upon initial inspection. It quickly became apparent due to the ship’s configuration with the bump out, we must’ve been on the end of the vacuum line with our neighbors being the last. The toilet was very picky so you had to flush it constantly. We had to get it fixed twice during the voyage. The refrigerator was good at cooling items such as the water containers we brought. There’s a desk drawer under the counter top, it’s quite big and another helpful place to store stuff. The light to the left of the beds was constantly flickering during the voyage. I never used it but when the evening turn down was done, it would flicker. I don’t know if it was an electrical issue or what not. I did not report it. Now this part is important, when the ship was at sea and we had some rough sea conditions due to passing cold fronts, the room was constantly creaking! For a ship as new as this, I couldn’t believe the amount of noise the room made. It wasn’t anything the ship could do to fix it as it was the room itself. I still slept but when you were in the room, you could hear it with the ship’s movement. If you’re a light sleeper, book another room and probably not on the bump out. Of more important note, the room did NOT have any Kleenex / tissues. We asked for a box and were told the ship does not provide them, only to Yacht Club guests. Some guests on the previous voyage (where an illness had started to break out) were given them who were not YC guests. This would later come back to bite MSC big time. If you’re going to be an Eco Ship, why not get rid of bottled water but instead tissues? I’m still scratching my head over this one. After unpacking, we headed down to the dining room to change our dining time. We requested the early seating but when we said early – we didn’t mean 5:15PM. I don’t know why MSC doesn’t allow a person to pick slots in first, second and third order so that if you booked an experience, they could work best to accommodate you. Having fixed dining times is inherently lazy of cruise lines anyway! It’s the one thing on MSC that I do not like. The restaurant manager switched us from Waves at 5:15PM to 6PM in Panorama. Panorama is a really beautiful restaurant aft on the ship. However, what I didn’t realize is when he switched us, we went to a table share with two other couples. Thankfully they turned out to be quite lovely people when tables around us had some really odd pairings with people swapping out. This process took us over 1 hour to do so if you don’t like your dining time, change it first thing when you get on because the people pile up and you don’t want to spend your first day of holiday waiting. At 5PM as we wasted so much time getting the table and time changed, it was the compulsory emergency drill. Our muster station was in the casino (oddly it was on Seaside as well). We arrived early to get a seat for mom and waited and waited. People were not attending the drill like they were required to. Finally, it started and it was over in the blink of an eye. They only demonstrated how to put the life jacket on. The rest was found on the stateroom TVs which was clear during the voyage people did not watch (throwing cigarettes and other items overboard, smoking on the balconies, etc.). Fellow Passengers: There was truly an international mix of passengers on the ship. I became friends with people from Germany, Holland, Canada, Austria and Greece! What unsettled me was the group of people MSC used to fill the ship closer to sailing. I booked fairly last minute (8 weeks out) and thought wow, the ship is still fairly open. However, when they discounted the prices even lower around 3 weeks out, the passenger make up got really interesting both posting online beforehand and on the ship. The Cruise Director joked about it not being a Carnival ship one night in the theater, well I guess he never visited the nightclub. Those folks causing issues were the scum the low pricing MSC did brought onboard, amazingly and not shockingly… all Americans. Before you say how rude, I’m American but I do have a sense of propriety and class. I understand everyone is on holiday but save your offensive shirts, surly (perhaps drunk) comments, feeling up your fellow (perhaps drunk) cruisers for your stateroom or better yet… don’t cruise if you can’t act correctly in public. Most of the latter stuff was in the nightclub. Cruisers also didn’t seem to practice good hygiene either leading to a massive spread of a sinus and upper respiratory bug throughout the ship. Cough etiquette goes a long way. Coughing into your elbow is great way to stop the spread of germs, but most just chose to cough on everyone else. The lack of tissues made the spread of germs on all surfaces even better. Way to go MSC on that one! I will give credit to MSC for trying to make the situation right during the voyage. I truly appreciated the guest services hospitality when my concerns were addressed. It was dinner time in Panorama and the first night menu resembled a similar one to NCL with the vegetable spring rolls. I had the lamb t-bone. The spring rolls were great. The lamb t-bone was incredibly small so I asked for a second portion. Lino, our head waiter, delivered it without issue. Lino and Frederick in Panorama offered great service throughout the cruise. Frederick was very attentive and constantly filling my water glass. The food was way too salty and it just made me thirsty incessantly. Frederick would have to refill my water glass up to five times during the dinner service! FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Serge Massot We booked the 8PM showtime for the ventriloquist. I realize there’s an international audience on the ship so he would say somethings in English and I believe the other parts were Spanish. However, the little character was not really amusing and he was hitting on female passengers and calling other male passengers ugly. It was entertainment but not the kind I experienced on Seaside. I know Meraviglia had to add entertainment to the ship as they only had 7 production shows but this guy was not very entertaining overall. After the long day of traveling and getting up early, after the show I showered and relaxed. It was at this time that we discovered the room service menu’s inadequacies. I remember having room service on the Seaside and not having any issues finding something to eat. This cruise I was up in the buffet for breakfast more than I had anything from room service. Mom found items but it was challenging as she doesn’t like chocolate (and most of the menu was chocolate items) and can’t have dairy. Other entertainment going on the first night was a welcome party from the cruise staff around 10:45PM in the Promenade and the disco with the DJ after 11PM. DAY 2: At Sea The weather was still chilly outside and the seas were kicked up. Cold fronts coming off the USA East Coast would cause issues during various days of the cruise. Today was the Cruise Critic gathering and the ship did it nicely with cocktails being served at 10AM and little bites to eat. This time they let the passengers mingle a bit before they introduced the officers and presented us with a cake. It was a very nice touch and I got to make some great cruise friends along the way! It was today I discovered the Gym on Deck 16 mid-ship and wanted to do a workout since the weather wasn’t warm enough for it. The gym was packed solid and hideously small for a ship this size. Some of the cardio equipment was broken further compounding the crowded feel of the place. I went for a walk around the walking track with mom that goes around mid-ship to aft on Deck 16 to get some steps for the day. While doing the walking track, it’s single file so where possible I walked outside to the right of it to talk with mom. Runners were coming along on the other lane or just running everywhere and not staying in their lane. When you got to the aft section of the Horizon Pool where the track loops around on the Starboard side, you go right through a smoking area! How dumb!! If you’re trying to workout, why on Earth would you want to inhale smoke?! After an early lunch, I decided to go to the gym and finally found a spot to work out on the mat. I did have to work in for one of the two benches near the free weights. Very few guests were sanitizing equipment after use so I did before each usage. The side room which could be a good stretching area, was locked as it had the spin cycles in them. An aerobics room was missing on this ship since they used the basketball/soccer court for those classes. You couldn’t take a mat down there to stretch though! After a brief nap, I went to the single / solo cruisers gathering. It was there that I met two wonderful ladies at the bar who introduced me to some of the bar staff they knew from a previous voyage. All the bartenders and wait staff in the Sky Lounge were really friendly, helpful and out-going. It would become a good place for a pre-club drink or to pass time between activities. It was the first formal night of the cruise and I had the beef tournedos. The meat was cooked to order and very well presented but the sauce was way too salty. I didn’t have time for dessert as the ship had scheduled the LGBT gathering at 6:30PM in the Sky Lounge and I wanted to attend. Both the LGBT and the singles were unhosted events and unlike the Seaside – occurred every night of the cruise from night 2 onward at the Sky Lounge. Since we booked the 9:30PM show because I was unsure whether or not the LGBT gathering would run late or not, mom and I went to the Sportsplex which included the arcade, bowling, F1 simulators and the flight simulators. I purchased the Fun Pass pre-cruise for $100 for what I thought was unlimited usage of the entire complex, it turned out, it wasn’t unlimited but that’s not too much of a worry after the weather finally moderated. Of note, the bowling only had one functional lane meaning you had to arrange an appointment to use it. The 4D Cinema was intense. I played all three of the interactive movies with the skeletons in the mine one being the gentlest of them all. It’s quite an intense experience. The arcade has minimal games for a ship this size: 1 competing motorcycle game, Star Wars Game, shooting game (which didn’t seem to be working during the voyage much) and a demolition style sit down race car game. Turned out I was really good at destroying opponents in this game! The arcade would be a good place to pass time in between moments in the evening hours where entertainment gaps existed. I would highly recommend the Fun Pass at $100. The 4D Cinema is $10 per person, bowling is $25 for a half hour play, F1 was also expensive. One bad weather day and you could easily hit the $100! FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: One Day More It was the first production show of the cruise, featuring Broadway hits like Singing in the Rain, Cats, Les Miserables. The productions make extensive use of LED walls for graphics saving tons of space for props and endless costume changes back stage. The production cast tonight was great, the opera singers were more overpowering of their cohort singers in group numbers but I knew they’d both be shining stars during opera night later in the cruise! I would definitely recommend catching this show on the ship! Tonight, was the first night I went to the Attic Club disco on the ship. It was here that I discovered one of the two DJs from the Seaside was onboard (and he wasn’t the better one from Seaside – DJ Tony). At the bar in the nightclub was a younger guy with his head down sleeping, apparently passed out. Security went over to check on him and let him stay there but he put his head back down. Eventually he ordered two Red Bull and was much more awake but only caffeinated. It was a good night out but most hung outside at the Horizon Bar to smoke on the starboard side. With the crosswinds, it would waft across the deck into the non-smoking area making it impossible to get air. The Attic Club was insanely hot as the ship still had the heat on from the colder cruises. I retired shortly around 1AM. DAY 3: At Sea It’s October 30th and the ship began coming alive with Halloween decorations. The culinary team in the buffet carved pumpkins yesterday all day in the kitchen they make the fresh mozzarella in and today they setup a display of them with fake candles. The display was just as you entered the Marketplace Buffet. Also, in the Meraviglia Lounge, they had pumpkins carved on the tables there and the whole bar was even more decorated than the previous day. Actually, the whole Promenade on Deck 6 was alive with Halloween items, including some scary looking man who was later used for photos by the ship’s photography team. The weather was not cooperating so well so the Fun Pass was used to play some bowling, arcade games and 4D Cinema before heading back to rest for the afternoon. The temperature outside was finally starting to moderate a bit but the weather was still overcast with occasional rain showers. We also found a nice place to go for a walk downstairs away from the smokers. It was on Deck 7 forward and was a horseshoe from port side to starboard side through the front tunnel in the ship from one bump out section to the other. It’s by the life rafts and was a good place to go to not be in the direct sunlight as well. There are NO deck chairs on this deck, it was strictly used for walking purposes only and it’s not very well advertised. Crew do a lot of work out on this deck so parts may be shut off as well. Today, the ship delivered strawberries and prosecco to the room as part of the Diamond status Voyager’s Club welcome back gift. Prior to sailing, make sure to status match with your other cruise line’s loyalty club status. On NCL I’m Platinum Plus which makes me Diamond on MSC. Just before dinner it was announced Cirque du Soleil’s scheduled performance of Viaggio was cancelled due to the rough sea conditions. I was scheduled to attend the 9:30PM showing. It would become practically a routine to visit the scheduling guy at the Carousel Lounge to get the shows rescheduled this cruise. Why would you ever build a show lounge at the aft of a ship for a Cirque performance? The least amount of movement is mid-ship! Tonight, after switching the dining time around, the birthday cake showed up to the Panorama restaurant for mom. The first night it was delivered to the Waves Restaurant because we were scheduled to be there but the second night I left early before it could be served. It became a running joke this cruise because the travel agent also bought a cake for my mom’s birthday so there were TWO cakes floating around the ship! The section host, William, did a splendid job of tracking them all down and getting them arranged though! FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Born to Rock The second production show of the cruise with the production cast was mom’s favorite. She loves rock music and loved all the tunes. They had Tina Turner and many other rock legends. The production was pretty solid with full usage of LED panels and several wardrobe changes by all. Less group singing in this production so it made it a lot smoother. A definite must catch show! THEME NIGHT: Country and Western Night MSC has several theme nights on their American sailings or so it would seem (some appeared on the Seaside as well). The first theme night was Country and Western. I don’t particularly like country music but I was interested to see what they would do. The cruise staff dressed in Western attire and danced to the same line dance songs you’d hear most other places with a few country dance tunes thrown in for good measure. The overhead LED panels in the promenade had different graphics displaying throughout the event. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Beer Prov Adult Comedy Show This was an adult’s only improv comedy show. It started slow and just died. It wasn’t too funny and when it took too long to setup the next act, most people, including myself walked out. I felt bad for them but with a more engaging party (Country Night) going on just feet away, I felt my time could be better used to watch people have fun than those four TRYING to be funny. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Black Light Party Cirque du Soleil might’ve been cancelled but the Carousel Lounge was still open for usage. I loved the Carousel Lounge as a nightclub. Yes, the bar had a significant shortage of various types of alcohol requiring you to walk to the casino bar to get your drink but the lighting system and sound systems in there were FAR superior to the Attic Club. It also was much better climate controlled. It was sad the Neon party only lasted one hour before they closed it down at 12:30AM and sent us up to the Attic Club. DAY 4: At Sea – Happy Halloween MSC Meraviglia Finally, a good morning to go sunning on the pool deck after breakfast! I went up for a little while before returning to the room to join my mom at the Welcome Back Cocktail reception on the Promenade Deck 6 for all Voyager’s Club member. The event was attended by all senior staff on the ship with little snacks and drinks being served, including non-alcoholic ones. The best part was the production cast came through and did a song and dance number for us after the captain came by to say some remarks and toast. There was also a history presentation on the LED ceiling. It was very well done and probably the best welcome back party I’ve attended on any cruise line to date! After a buffet lunch, it was time to hit the gym. While most folks were out on the pool deck or worked out earlier, I could find a corner to do my ab workout and didn’t have to battle nearly as many people for the equipment. Dinner tonight was ribs and an Asian Salad. The salad was good. I asked for a double order of the ribs and still felt hungry. I didn’t order more because of the showtime and needing to get to the theater. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Serge Massot Yes, this ventriloquist came back with a new show dubbed to be full of surprises and laughs. Some of it mirrored the first show and there were new elements. The female he selected from the audience clearly didn’t want to do it and looked like she could’ve punched him at any time. I was sitting in the back and her unwillingness was palpable from there! It was a show to see but again, if he’s on, take a pass on it. THEME NIGHT: Halloween Several cruise guests, largely Americans, dressed up for Halloween. The top 3 were picked by the cruise staff for final voting up on the bridge in the Promenade. I dressed up as Cesar, quite a few vampires around but the winner of the contest was a group of drag Pan Am flight attendants and a pilot. I’ve never had my picture taken by so many cruisers before! A ship’s photographer named Veronica (I think) also snagged me for a photo shoot and she did some amazing poses. She was having a ton of fun with it! I don’t customarily buy ship photos but I did from her shoot. She’s got a good eye! Music tonight was by DJ Fabiano and the LED ceiling was on fire with creative and spooky graphics. I’ve done 3 Halloween parties at sea and this was by far the best one yet! Bravo Meraviglia entertainment team! The after party was up in the Attic Club and Horizon Pool Bar at midnight but since I was getting up to go ashore tomorrow, I went up for a bit and went to bed. Cirque du Soleil was cancelled again tonight, although it was the SONOR show I was scheduled to see. It was again due to the ship swaying in the sea conditions (high winds). DAY 5: Land Ho! ST MAARTEN After a quick breakfast, it was off the ship and in a taxi with other guests to head to Maho Beach. I was heading to Cupecoy Beach, a LGBT friendly beach on the island. It cost me $30 for the trip for myself one way. When we arrived at Maho Beach, the beach was underwater and the sand had gone up over the wall and a bus got stuck causing a traffic jam. This should’ve been my clue to get out but I didn’t. I went to Cupecoy anyway and the beach conditions were similar. The beach was underwater due to the tides and high seas. I stayed and sunned myself on the rocks until some other cruisers from the ship arrived. We walked the different inlets from above and admired the views. I split the van on the way back with the other guys from the ship. It took us one hour to get back to the ship because the traffic was so bad. Mom spent the day walking around Philipsburg, St Maarten and finding tissues. She wasn’t sick at this point but the only option available at the time was to use toilet paper to clean out your nose when you awakened in the morning. This was very silly to her (and eventually to me too when I saw what a lack of it was doing to the ship) so she sought out tissues and made that her day ashore. She was successful. You knew it was starting to get bad on the ship because a hand sanitizer lady appeared in the entry way to the Marketplace Buffet. She wasn’t there until this day. When I arrived back onboard and synced by phone back to the Meraviglia Wi-Fi, the restaurant reservation was gone showing what time we were supposed to have Teppanyaki. My mom reserved the Teppanyaki for me to celebrate a career advancement. SPECIALTY DINING: Kaito Teppanyaki This specialty restaurant is where a cook prepares a meal in front of you using a grill and puts on a show. The price varies depending on what meal you select. I had the Samurai meal which was 7 courses and included sushi, salad, soup, tempura, steak, rice and dessert. Mom had the vegetarian version of it with tofu, cucumber rolls (versus tuna rolls), tempura, salad, soup and dessert. Dominique from the Philippines prepared our meal on the grill and did an excellent job of the show. I asked him if he’d been on NCL doing it as the show was quite similar and he said he actually did work on NCL. If you’ve done Teppanyaki on NCL, this is similar but with more food (courses). Also, during the reservation process, the lady asked my mom if I was celebrating anything and she put it in the computer. To my surprise, during dessert time, the Kaito crew came out with a congratulations cake and sang a modified happy birthday congratulations song to me! I wasn’t expecting it and it caught me off guard… my mom’s payback for the birthday cake for her earlier on I presumed! It was a great meal with excellent service. I would bump into the waitstaff in the mornings up in the buffet and they’d always greet me by name. Impressive! FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Antonio Versini: A world of Hands I figured this would be the standard magicians show with sleight of hand magic tricks and such. It actually was that and a whole lot more. He put up this projection light on the starboard side and this circle screen in the back and started doing impressions with his hands of animals, singers while songs were playing and morphed them all together. It was quite impressive and unique as I’d not seen anything like this before at sea. THEME PARTY: White Party A signature event on MSC seems to be their White Party. It’s simple, you wear white and dance the night away. It was the first night a party was held at the Atmosphere Pool outside. It was high energy once the line dance songs ended that accompanied most theme nights on the voyage. We had some good EDM tunes before the party shut down at midnight and moved to the Horizon Pool and Bar on Deck 16 / 18 aft. I stayed up until 1AM enjoying the fun before heading to bed. DJ Fabiano was spinning the after party. At the bar, one of the late bookers was drunk and loudly complaining about how crappy the music was. He was a complete buzzkill for anyone near him at the Horizon Bar. DAY 6: FORT-DE-FRANCE, MARTINIQUE We called on Fort-de-France, Martinique and when the morning started it was sunny and I had a leisurely buffet breakfast. I was joined by another solo from New York who hopped on last minute. She was very pleasant and we chatted for a bit. By the time I got off the ship, the sky had changed and storms were coming. The local dancers were out and performing tunes for photo ops. We decided to head to the museum we couldn’t see the last time we were there because it was Sunday. This time it was Saturday and the museum still closed because it was a holiday weekend for them (All Saints Day). The problem with going to the other side of town was the sky opened up and it down poured. Everyone ran for cover; my very large umbrella was no match for the deluge of rain that came. I ducked into an open shop. It was at this time we began to realize most of the city was closed! After getting soaked, it was time to head back to the ship and change. We decided on a leisurely lunch in the Panorama Dining Room. It was leisurely alright; it took 1.5 hours to get our lunch service and it largely seemed because the waitstaff didn’t want any other people to sit in their section again. We never dined in Panorama for lunch again after this one experience. In the PM, I returned to the gym and did a workout waiting for the sun to come out and then watched as the new guests embarked. The cruise was split into two segments to try and get more of it sold. We had a lot of new faces but sadly the sick ones were still around coughing everywhere. I continued to use my avoidance precautions as best as I could but the buffet was a hot bed of germs. Tonight, seemed to be a Greek themed menu so I stuck with the selection of Greek plates including Zucchini meatballs (Kefeta [sic]), slovaki and a custard pie for dessert. A table mate recommended all the dishes and he was supported by Lino, our head waiter for our table. It was a pretty tasty meal. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Virtual The third production show of the cruise featuring the singers and dancers. The show is with more modern music and features a cast member interacting with a phone which has different apps. Dancers come out as dancing emojis and such. While the costuming was engaging, the show, in my opinion, was the weakest one of all the productions. It just didn’t flow right and seemed wonky as they moved from app to app on an iPhone displayed on the LED screen. THEME NIGHT: Space Party I didn’t know or have anything for this party to wear so I just went as I was. It seemed like a lot of cruisers just showed up because it was on right after the show. It was at 10:15PM in the Promenade. The LED ceiling had different solar system displays and stars showing. It was a nice party with the cruise staff decked out in light up silver wardrobe. The funny part was the party was over at 11PM and they told everyone to check out the after party up at the Horizon Bar. When I went up there along with several other cruise guests, there was no music! Someone messed up this night and left a one-hour gap between the two parties! When the DJ came up, it was music under the stars at the Horizon Bar and not inside at the Attic Club. The lack of music and movement for one hour made me exhausted so I headed to bed shortly after midnight. DAY 7: BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS Our arrival was a nail biter for those of us on the starboard side of the ship. We watched as the ship backed into the channel and then come alongside a shipping container vessel (carrying some MSC containers by the way), and then slowly inching back. It was probably the tightest park job I’ve ever seen by a ship. We had to use this section of the pier because it was Sunday and the trolley trains wouldn’t be working. It was truly a sight to behold and nice work by the shore pilot and the bridge crew for an awesome docking without hitting anything (cargo ship or pier)! It was Sunday so everything was largely closed here. It wasn’t due to the same holiday in Martinique but just a very traditional church-going island. This actually worked in our favor as we decided to head to the Garrison and see if the George Washington House might be open. The ship was doing a tour to it so we figured we would try and the walk was a nice jaunt from the ship. We arrived and found a worker who was doing some clean up and said we could enter for $10USD per person. We did and walked the whole site and when we were leaving, the curator actually had just come back from church to close it up. He opened it before church for the ship’s tour. We lucked out! It was noon so we tried a place close by, one of two that were open for lunch called Brown Sugar Restaurant. It was a buffet lunch for $40 USD per person, since the other food option open was spicy Jamaican, we had to dine here. The service was non-existent. We needed water as the sun had emerged finally and it was a scorcher but the lady seemed to make it a chore to refill the glass even once. The buffet was extensive but not worth the money they were charging. After lunch, we decided to take a taxi back over to the port because it was so hot! The one-way taxi fare cost us $20 USD. Back on the ship, we showered and relaxed. Tonight’s dinner menu was not appetizing. I had the strip steak off the always available menu and it was tough despite requesting it be medium. This was one of two nights where I found the main dining room’s menu seriously disappointing and I’m not a picky person by any means. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Come Il Mare This night featured the Italian opera singers of the Meraviglia. We had heard them in earlier productions but tonight showcased their range. It was a spectacular show. Before the show and the previous night, the cruise director made it a point to say the show wouldn’t be for everyone. It wasn’t for everyone. The interpretations were on the side panels of the words being sung. The problem was the port side panel with the English was partially blocked by the curtain to the stage. I still enjoyed it! An aside: What I found really rude was despite the warning, the folks who had the 8:30 dining time still attended the show and got up and left en masse to their dining room! It was beyond rude given the caliber of the production being put on. MSC needs to put a block on reserving the show times if it overlaps with the person’s scheduled dining times. Folks with late seating need to see the first show only. Folks with the early seating see the second or third shows depending on when they finish. It’s much more respectful to the performers and the audience that way. THEME PARTY: Pirates Party Channel your inner Jack Sparrow mate and come along on the promenade for a fun-filled night at sea! I had a pirate shirt with me after learning of this theme on the Seaside the year prior. It was well-received by the staff who were surprised anyone had anything to go along! It was a typical night of line dances. However, when the party ended at 11PM this time around, I knew there would be a one-hour gap between music so I went straight to bed. DAY 8: GRENADA MSC SHORE EXCURSION: Spices and Rainforest Despite having been on so many cruises, sometimes I do go to someplace new. Today was the day to explore Grenada using a ship’s excursion because I didn’t know the island. I always take an organized tour the first time to a place and then go on my own the second time after I have my bearings. With that said, do NOT take this tour if you’re prone to motion sickness. The roads in Grenada are tight with lots of twists and turns and ups and downs. I got was getting car sick in the back and trying to get some fresh air. The AC in the tour van wasn’t working effectively and the hot air plus the lady who was coughing her head off up front was making me feel more nauseous. Finally, at the lake when I almost puked, the driver let me open the back window. I was fine thereafter but we had already stopped at the spice factory and driven well over an hour like this. The spice factory was short but informative with a 20-minute presentation and then time for shopping in the gift shop out front. The next stops were in the mountain at a lake and national park and then the Annendale Falls. The falls were spectacular and I wish I could’ve gone swimming but timing didn’t allow for it. They had cliff divers doing crazy jumps into the water for money. When the tour returned to the ship, I was still queasy. Overall, there were cheaper taxi options available doing a similar tour minus the nutmeg factory. However, no tour will be without the windy, bumpy roads so keep this in mind. We sailed for Curacao at 2PM. I went back and sunned for a bit before catching the Snow Party up on deck. At the pier welcome back show they had today, they had the snow machine out there and it appeared again on the pool deck for fake snow during this party. I live in New England, the last thing I wanted to see was snow – fake or real! Ha but it was a good afternoon party to have poolside and helped pass the time. SPECIALTY RESTAURANT: Butcher’s Cut (Elegant Night) As a Diamond member, you are given a choice of complimentary specialty dining. We chose this restaurant. The sommelier was quite helpful in finding mom a non-alcoholic drink she could order since the first one she had ordered; the ship didn’t have one of the ingredients. I ordered a glass of Robert Mondavi and the sommelier delivered it promptly. He was very attentive and so was the specialty restaurant manager who stopped by to say hello. I had the shrimp cocktail, the New York Steak (better quality than main dining room) and cheesecake for dessert. It was a nicely paced meal with great service offered by all. It was a nice evening to have dinner away from Panorama and well done! FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Way Yet another production show brought to you by the production cast of the MSC Meraviglia. It was a high energy dance show with some opera thrown in. I sat much closer to the stage than I usually do for this show because it had filled up quite early tonight. The dancers had a soda fountain themed attire and several wardrobe changes. I liked the energy from it and would recommend it. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Cirque du Soleil’s VIAGGIO The production was off to a very slow start. It didn’t seem too engaging. When the jugglers and all the other entertainers got going together, the show ended. It took forever for it to ramp up to something exciting and when it did, it was over in the blink of an eye! Yes, there were people walking on the LED wall sideways and a bike which was being pedaled across the ceiling but this show was not like any other type of Cirque show I’ve seen before. It was my first Cirque du Soleil and frankly, I wasn’t impressed by it. My mother fell asleep because it was boring. Other guests were just as confused as we were when the show ended because it had just started to get good when it did so. Being so short, it meant it had to be high energy the whole way through and instead it seemed like the last 10 minutes were. I would skip this show. I did the drink option for $18 pre-booked online. THEME NIGHT: Gatsby Party The Gatsby Party was taking a step back to the roaring 20s with cruise staff in period costumes. Since I was in Viaggio during most of it, I didn’t hear the actual type of music played but the LED ceiling was still putting on a good show while it was happening. DAY 9: CURACAO We arrived at 1PM. I went up on the sun deck and grabbed some sun before our arrival. I started to feel a bit under the weather today. Mom had started to feel that way at the end of the previous day. By the time we docked at 1PM, I was definitely coming down with something. During the afternoon, mom and I walked over to the Maritime museum and had a look around at the exhibits. The museum was not too far from the Queen Emma pontoon bridge. We had a walking tour of historical buildings in Willemstad we did afterward on our own. The ship was offering something similar but we found this walking tour online and it actually explained buildings quite well. We walked around quite extensively before heading back to the ship. Tonight’s main dining room theme was Tropical Night. The menu featured Jamaican jerk chicken and several other Caribbean favorites. It was a good menu, but not perhaps if you’re not a fan of spicy foods. It seemed like the spices weren’t too heavily applied though to the dishes I had but I have a high tolerance for spice. I went back off the ship after dinner since we were in port until 11PM to grab a drink in town with friends. It was a nice night off the ship. Most of the crew were off the ship that worked during the day, the production casts had the night off and were out and about in town. I returned to the ship and skipped the Tropical Latin Party to go to bed. I was exhausted and wanted to try and beat whatever this sinus thing was happening. Thankfully I had bought more tissues! DAY 10: ARUBA Today, mom and I walked around town which was scorching hot as the sun was out! It looked like it was threatening rain but it never materialized. We first went to the National Aruba Archaeological Museum. It was highlighted in a tour book of the island we had bought years earlier. When we arrived, the gentleman said we were in luck as the museum had just reopened during a ceremony the night prior with a new exhibit as well. The cost of admission was FREE. The museum was quite interactive and extensive on the island’s history and archaeological finds. I enjoyed it and would recommend it! The Aruba Historical Museum was also in Oranjestad and it was a five-dollar admission fee. What the gentleman at the ticket booth failed to state was this museum was also under renovations with the exhibits squished in the middle of the floor and largely unlabeled. They were in the process of moving things around. You could climb the fort tower and get a view in both directions. Overall, I would pass on this museum until they’re done their reorganization of exhibits. The island has a few other museums on offer as well and can be found by going to Visit Aruba’s website. We didn’t go to the model train museum as it was too far out of town. However, there was an antiquities museum in town as well. There was a free trolley running very infrequently from the port taking you on a loop around town. It was free as well. This was new since the last time I was in town. The entire port area had been done over nicely. When we returned to the ship, this was the first port where workers were outside squirting you with hand sanitizer besides the girl in the buffet. The gym was largely deserted so after a late lunch, I went there to do a workout and see if I could sweat out whatever this bug was coming on. I took a brief nap before getting ready for dinner. I didn’t write down what was on the menu tonight but it couldn’t have been too memorable as I didn’t take photos of it either. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Life is Magic Now here was a proper magic show with sleight of hand tricks, the sawing in half of the beautiful lady, putting her in a box and escaping and then switching it out for the magician. The show was definitely engaging and used some of the dancers as well to move things along between his wardrobe changes or setting up for the next act. I would recommend this show if it’s still around on the ship for the 7-day itineraries. For the second time, the production of SONOR from Cirque du Soleil was cancelled due to a technical issue. This time it wasn’t due to rough seas. When I went to go and change out the tickets, they were in the midst of a dress rehearsal or something and there were a bunch of technicians standing around. Since this was the second time I had to re-schedule this show, I wasn’t happy. If they had done this rehearsal earlier in the day instead of going ashore (which they did do because I saw them out), the cast would’ve discovered the technical problem and got it fixed in time. I was starting to regret booking any of the Cirque du Soleil shows on the ship. THEME NIGHT: 60s, 70s and 80s Party The cruise staff once again dressed up in their best 70s outfits, mostly bell-bottoms and glistening tops. The party was true to the time frames in questions featuring songs from the 60s, 70s and 80s which were heard at most of the other parties. I didn’t finish the party and went to bed. DAY 11: At Sea The morning consisted of a Welcome Back party for Diamond Card members only on the deck 6 promenade with more drinks and light snacks available. The LED screen did a performance of outer space landing on Earth and then the Captain and the senior officers appeared on the bridge. They seemed to be keeping their distance from the cruise guests as a good portion of the ship was now sick with whatever upper respiratory / sinus bug was going around. In the afternoon after a buffet lunch, I went out to the sun deck and relaxed. They had a King of the Sea show on at 4PM but it seemed like they picked up random people to do it. It wasn’t overly entertaining so I went back to the room to shower and take a nap. Tonight’s dinner was a formal night and the beef tournedos were on the menu again. I ordered a double of them as the meal was good the first time around. The first one was very tender but the second one on the plate was overcooked. I’m not sure how that occurred but the salt from the covering made me thirsty the rest of the night. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Paz This is a production showcasing the Flamenco dance with the art of Picasso on the LED screens behind the dancers and rotating through the audience projections. The lead dancers did an amazing job. The footwork of both of them was so fast and graceful, it was a good show. The artwork itself was enjoyable to see and how they worked it into the show. Definitely a must catch, especially if you like the flamenco dance. MOVIES UNDER THE STARS: Cars 3 The ship had run a few shows and music video type productions on the big screen at the pool but tonight was Cars 3. I hadn’t seen it in its entirety with my nephew and was waiting on the silent disco to open so I watched it for a bit until I got to a part I saw and then got a drink and came back. It’s nice they have a movie on the big screen because during the day, the screen is largely used for what’s on at the pool deck with no movies playing. There’s just tables and chairs setup but no food on offer like Princess Cruises does with popcorn and such. The bar is open there if you want to do a walk-up drink order. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Silent Disco The Carousel Lounge once again opened up with a silent disco. Housing three channels, one EDM, one Latin and one old school, there was plenty on offer. It seemed most people were on the first channel which the DJ was actually spinning in real time. The other two were pre-recorded it seemed. You had to check in for the headset and check out for it. The problem was, the bar in the Carousel Lounge didn’t have Grey Goose so I had to exit to get a drink at the bar straight ahead in the casino. You also had to hand over the headset when you had to use the bathroom which was just outside the Carousel Lounge. It seemed a little bit silly if they scanned your cruise card for taking one of the headsets. However, the Carousel Lounge was an amazing venue and it was a fun night. The music continued after the Silent Disco ended up at the Horizon Pool and Bar. I stayed up a bit later to dance to the music before finally crashing to bed around 1:30AM. DAY 12: JAMAICA Now if you’re wondering why we hit Jamaica, it was because on November 4, 2019 after sailing from Grenada it was announced due to operational issues on Ocean Cay, the island was not ready to accept ship visits. As a result, the compensation offered was a $100 onboard credit and a 20% of cruise fare paid to be applied to a future cruise. The compensation offered was astounding for missing a private island. I wasn’t sure they were going to make it there when I saw the photos on Cruise Critic prior to sailing but if we did it would’ve been nice to be one of the first. Turns out three sailings stops were cancelled and now it seems on hold for the next sailings as well. Since we would’ve had 3 sea days instead of 2, MSC decided to have the ship call in Ocho Rios, Jamaica since there was berth space available. When we arrived in Jamaica, we pulled in and looked like we were going to dock at the James Bond pier which was not close to anything but swung a hard left and came around to the other closer pier. We didn’t book anything on this island as we’ve seen what we wanted to see. Mom just wanted to go to the shopping center outside the port area with Margaritaville and to find another box of tissues. The tissue hunt brought us way outside the port with all the harassing taxi drivers trying to sell you tours every 2 feet and then other seedy characters trying to sell you marijuana. Both were out of luck, in MA marijuana is legal. I don’t smoke it but told them it was legal back home so didn’t need it. They didn’t like that response. Ha ha! Soon, those annoying folks are not going to find someone to buy it. One interesting thing to note, while the taxi drivers were all local, a predominant part of the stores we visited in search of tissues were not owned by original islanders. We had noticed this in the last few ports but this was really in your face here. No wonder the locals are not making any money if they can’t even sell their tourist wares. It seemed more desperate than my last visit. I truly was annoyed with the locals pushing stuff at me every couple of feet. I wanted to get back to the ship asap. I really wished MSC had gone somewhere, ANYWHERE but Jamaica like Cayman or Cozumel! Tonight, was Italian Night on the ship. In the main dining room, the menu was Italian themed with meatballs as an app, chicken parmigiana and Osso Bucco on order for mains and a lemoncello-type of dessert. The waiter also brought the second cake for my mom that was ordered by the travel agent. It was a nice touch and they did a whole big thing. The cake said Best Wishes and it was handled by William, the section lead. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Meraviglioso Amor The last of the production shows was the second best for mom (Born to Rock her first) and one of my favorites as well. The production featured hits like Gloria, foreign love songs with familiar lyrics so the person knew what it was no matter what language it was. The dancers and singers came together at the end along with the cruise staff and selected staff from different areas to say goodbye to Italian opera singers singing Time to Say Goodbye. It was a fitting close to a great show and a capstone to the production shows presented throughout the voyage. After the show ended, we hurried down the promenade to the logo shop for the Logo Shop Happy Hour where if you buy 3 things you would get 20% off. I bought a Lego version of the ship for my nephew for Christmas and two magnets to give him of the Doremi character for the refrigerator and trip souvenirs. I was also entered to win a ship figurine signed by the Captain. Since it was 9PM, I stuck around for the drawing. I didn’t win it but it was a good thing I hadn’t because my luggage was already overweight! THEME PARTY: MSC Little Italy The cruise staff were dressed in the colors of Italy but sadly I was exhausted so I went to bed after quickly stopping by. To be in theme, just wear red, white or green or all three! DAY 13: Sea Day The last day on the ship meant doing things I’d said I was going to do the whole cruise and never got around to. After walking a bit in the morning after eating breakfast, mom and I stopped by the Bamboo Pool for a smoothie. The Bamboo Pool had a bunch of delicious smoothies and the MSC for Me app tipped me off to them when they offered a special earlier in the cruise. I did stop by and look at the beverage menu and said I would return. I never did until today. I had the Strawberry concoction with yogurt and it was very nice. Mom sampled a different one without the yogurt in it and hers was a purple color so I’m not sure what was in it. The drinks cost $6.50 each but were pretty decent for the price paid. I spent the rest of the morning catching some sun and returned for lunch to the Marketplace to meet up with mom. After lunch we decided to head to the Photo Shop to pick up the complimentary Mediterranean night photo and find the others. I found the Halloween photos and decided to buy one of them. The embarkation photo didn’t look good so we chucked that. Vanessa who did the photo shoot with the Halloween photos rang us up. I asked her why they had printed all these photos when you can tap the cruise card in the kiosks and print them around the corner. It is so wasteful and you have to jack up the price of the photos to cover all the paper and chemical waste. MSC should have a selection pre-cruise where you choose if you want any photos printed or if you want them done digitally and you can request the print be made if you like it. This would be more environmentally friendly and perhaps the cost savings could mean they’d purchase tissues for the staterooms again! Win win, right?! After finishing up with the photos, I met up with some cruise friends at the Polar Aquapark in the aft part of Deck 19. I had not been up there the whole cruise but wanted to try the water slides. The water slides were a ton of fun. Two of them require an inflatable tube to ride, the other one which shoots you into a bowl doesn’t require a tube. The bowl slide was not as fun as you don’t shoot around it as much and then stop and have to climb out and go down the stairs. There are other water features largely geared towards kids but tons of adults were in the water park having fun too! After the water park, I needed some sun to dry off as I had to finish packing stuff including the bathing suit. The girls who I met were in the Aurea area up front on Deck 19. I wondered what this area was like as it faces the pool deck. It wasn’t relaxing because the music from the pool deck is blasting right at you. It was also a bit windy up there since it was so high up. I went back down to Deck 18 forward behind the screen and a nap. At the last dinner we had an amazing time chatting with our table mates and wishing each other well in our future travels. We also missed the Beer Prov Adult Comedy Show. I wasn’t too saddened by missing it and instead enjoyed the company of our fellow table mates a bit longer. We returned to the room to do the last of the packing and get the bags out of the room. They had to be out by 1AM but ours was out by 9:30PM. We went to bed early because we had to meet in the Carousel Lounge at 7:30AM. All Diamond US citizens had to meet at that time and were assigned Lilac 1 luggage tags. DAY 14 – MIAMI, FL, USA I was up at 5:15AM to get ready and the Marketplace Buffet was open at 6AM. When we got upstairs, the Norwegian Breakaway was still in the Miami turning basin. Goodness, what an early start this was! We were in the channel in the early hours of the morning and tied up. The siren they have on the inside of the ship by the bulkhead doors that opens out is so darn loud and ricochets off the buildings it was impossible to sleep with our starboard side facing the pier. This made a long day even longer. We reported to the Carousel Lounge as directed by the information left in our stateroom. You had to vacate your stateroom by 8AM anyway. We noticed none of the luggage tags had been called. This continued for over an hour as we noticed more and more cruisers disappearing from the Carousel Lounge with Lilac tags. We had a noon flight and needed to get off the ship. When 8:30AM came and they said disembarkation had been stopped, I made my move and asked where the actual gang ways were because we needed to get out. The lady told me where they were but disembark had stopped. When it resumed, we were in position and got off. Most of the lilac people had done so as well. There was huge gaps in luggage in the terminal for a luggage color that wasn’t called yet! No wonder the whole disembarkation process was messed up. The line for the non-US citizens inside the terminal was lengthy. All of them needed to be fingerprinted. For US citizens, all they did was snap a photo of the passport with a handheld device and send us on our way. The US citizen line moved faster and those were supposed to be the ones getting off the ship first anyway if people read the instructions! We made it to the airport by 10AM and checked in for our flight home. THOUGHTS ON SHIP DESIGN: The Meraviglia is a ship dubbed for all seasons. Her overall design supports her being a ship for cold weather cruising only. Her top deck is woefully inadequate for the passenger load she has and this will become a problem when the ship commences its Caribbean season. One side of the ship is always shaded from the smokestack back and deck chairs are crammed in every nook and cranny along the walking/jogging track. If you’re looking for a proper sun deck, stick with the MSC Seaside sailing year-round Miami. The ship’s interiors have some really beautiful spaces including the crystal staircases in the atrium. There’s a lot of wasted space on Deck 6 and 7 midship where the entry to the dining rooms and casino / Carousel Lounge are respectively. The gym is a postage stamp and is in dire need of better equipment and expansion. The promenade is great but with all sorts of sales going on and photography setups, it makes passing this area a pinch point every night on the way to the shows. The bathrooms on this ship were always distant from where you were, especially for the nightclub. If you wanted a bathroom that was large enough from the Attic Club, you had to walk down past the kid’s club to the ones by the elevators. The Horizon Pool had a one stall bathroom on Deck 16 but this wasn’t enough to support a mildly packed nightclub. You’d always have to walk a distance to use the bathroom. This didn’t make sense if the goal was alcohol sales! Likewise, for the sun deck, if you are on Deck 18 forward by the solarium roof, you have to come down one deck and go inside across the Bamboo Pool below where you were sunning and into the bathroom there. There didn’t seem like any convenient bathrooms to the Atmosphere pool deck either. You had to go into the Marketplace buffet to go bathroom. I never found it more cumbersome to need a bathroom on any cruise ship than this one! I found this truly odd. The Carousel Lounge is a far superior venue and fully equipped with a lot of audio-visual equipment. I’m surprised only a very small portion of what the equipment was in the lounge was used for Cirque du Soleil. It was evident either the shows were changed in some way to shorten them or to make it easier for the cast. There were projections and a large circular screen which were never deployed during either Viaggio or SONOR. I tend to notice production aspects more and love a good visual show. Sonor used some visuals on the LED wall but not nearly as much as the room was capable of handling. Lastly, the ship’s walking and running tracks are so crammed during warm weather days with sun bathers and people trying to run and walk and just figure out what they’re doing, it would make sense to have walkers use the Deck 7 semi-loop and leave the runners topside. My mom got clipped a few times by runners while staying in her lane. The runners didn’t seem to care or apologize for it either. This ship is not the best for fitness if you’re looking for that. STAFF SHOUT OUT: I always like to recognize staff who went above and beyond to make my holiday memorable. Ahmadi, my stateroom steward for accommodating most special requests (sans tissues) and always greeting me in the hallway no matter the time of day or night when he was working. He got used to our schedule and cleaned our room when we had our dinner. Our dining team of Lino, the main waiter and Frederick, the assistant waiter, were amazing and kept us hydrated and offered us more food if we wanted it. If we wanted more, there was rarely a wait. William who oversaw this team of amazing professionals was also quite attentive and handled a special request to find decaf tea for mom. When coming to the USA, the Meraviglia had to get rid of this nice tea display case which didn’t comply with USCG Vessel Sanitation program inspection criteria. As a result, it was a hunt for various versions of tea. He saw to it mom had her supply! He also oversaw the birthday cake situation and figured out a workable solution! Ryan De Leon in the Sky Lounge and in the nightclub was also amazing. He knew my name and my drink order by heart! Lastly, the Kaito Teppanyaki restaurant cook Dominique for a good show and the team who would greet me whenever they saw me in the Marketplace Buffet when they were up there selling the restaurant. Even the guest services staff on this ship were so kind and helpful (unlike Seaside’s guest service staff). I had a repeated issue with the ink on my stateroom keycard rubbing off in the intense heat topside and they replaced it without issue and with a smile. They have the toughest job on the ship constantly getting yelled at! SUMMARY: The Meraviglia is a nicely decorated ship. The LED panel is a great way to entertain. The night time cruise staff went out of their way to make the ship enjoyable and make sure everyone was dancing. The crew on the ship were the happiest and most efficient if I had to compare it to the Seaside last October. The crew made the trip. The chef could lay off the salt and I’m not a foodie but if I’m saying it was salty, the food was not as good as the Seaside’s preparation was. I didn’t encounter a rude staff member anywhere on the ship and only had slow service once, in the main dining room during lunch. I know the crew had a chance to get off the ship finally in each of the ports we visited. I think that plus a crew party helped to lift spirits among them. Would I recommend the Meraviglia? For top notch service, yes, I would! Would I sail on the Meraviglia again? I’m not so sure I would. If it were the Caribbean and the Seaside were on offer, I would probably sail Seaside instead. If it is a cold weather cruise, then I would consider Meraviglia again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
What we liked : - Beautiful ship - Cabin is fine and was kept very clean, the cabin steward did a great job. - Disembarkation was very smooth, we were allowed to stay on board till around 10 o'clock which is appreciated. ... Read More
What we liked : - Beautiful ship - Cabin is fine and was kept very clean, the cabin steward did a great job. - Disembarkation was very smooth, we were allowed to stay on board till around 10 o'clock which is appreciated. What we disliked : - embarkation was bad. We arrived around 13:00 and was not even allowed to get into the departure building and had to wait in the waiting area at the arrival hall (this is Southampton). They started to call for black card members to go to the departure building around 1400 and after that the rest of the passengers. So around 1415 all guests waiting at the waiting area went over to the departure building where a huge line formed. It took more than 45 minutes to go through this line which is totally not necessary if they would let you wait in the departure area when you arrive. -Food is bad, buffet food always only lukewarm and old (sitting there for too long )At first, we thought it was because we had late lunch, due to the bad embarkation process, we only got on the ship at around 1530 so quite late. Next day, we went at 1230 when the lunch started and the food was also cold or lukewarm. No matter what time you go there, food is just not warm. Breakfast is much better as sometimes you will get hot and fresh pastry items. Limited choices in the MDR and food quality is average at best. -We could not get our desired dining time(even we have booked the Fantastica experience). We went to see the restaurant manager on embarkation day but he would only get us on a waitlist and we never heard back from him. We prefer 1e sitting but was not able to get that and 2e sitting is just too late for us.(dining at 21:00 is just not our thing) -service is hit and miss. We did have an excellent server but we also encountered some very rude staff. (guest services, photo studio staff etc) We don’t expect service to the extreme but do expect to be treated friendly and courteous but it is not always the case. -Entertainment lacking. Shows were bad too, only 1 or 2 shows that was good, other than that just a singer or two singing a few songs. This is not what I expect to see in the theater every night. Lacking activities, there is not much to do on board. Just some dance lessons, stretch exercise and a trivia that is done in 5 languages. It's a pain to sit through that. Most people just sit in the different bars/lounges to listen to some music. Summary : I guess it is "you get what you pay for" but I do not feel we have paid a cheap price for this cruise so we do feel disappointed. If you have paid a bargain price then you may find things OK. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Dates fitted our holiday window, so we gave it a go. Lead up all went good, emails and info supplied. Boarding was swift and free from issues. Met by friendly staff and went to our cabin. Cabin was small but found it to be cosy ... Read More
Dates fitted our holiday window, so we gave it a go. Lead up all went good, emails and info supplied. Boarding was swift and free from issues. Met by friendly staff and went to our cabin. Cabin was small but found it to be cosy and well equipped. We had our first evening meal in the Lobster restaurant. We had different meals and found the food to be far from restaurant fair. Mostly tasteless with "Michelin style descriptions" which we did laugh at. We were led to a table for 6 first, and expected to join total strangers, after me asking for a table for two, this was arranged with little effort. I don't mind the odd night with strangers, but this would have been set in stone for each and every night after. Due to the disappointment from the Lobster, we used the buffet on night two. Food average and fairly well laid out with a fairly good choice. Pizzas were fantastic without fail. Night three back to try the Lobster, food just as bad, completely tasteless and made up to be something to blow your mind, and really far from the descriptions again. The British head chef came out to meet everyone in the restaurant. I did make a joke to my wife,"If I was him I wouldn't show my face, service up that rubbish" I don't know if the chef is to blame, or the budget he has to work with. The entertainment was not great and had a distinctly European based feel, not really for the UK pallet. We do like a good drink and a dance to a good band. MSC did lack this for us. We had a bit of a culture shock regarding the general rudeness of the mixed European passengers, during leaving the ship on tours, particularly completely ignoring ques and just barging in anywhere. The same behaviour on the ship, while in the buffet and waiting for lifts. We generally don't do drink packages and usually buy as we go. The first night we ordered two beers with our meal and ended up with a bill for 14.95 Euros. This frankly is daylight robbery for two 33cl beers. We then filled our back pack with cans of beers during city visits and had no problem bringing these aboard, on our return. A bucket of ice and two cold beers later, then repeat. We also like a nice coffee, and found that the special coffees on offer were tasty, but very tiny and around 8.00 Euros for two. There is a lot on board that you find to your peril, after ordering, ending up with a larger than average bill for. There is also a charge of 14.95 Euros added to your room bill every day for tips, this does anger me as I have always been of the opinion that a tip is for service over and above the normal. We did remove all tips in the end, as felt that we were being ripped off at every turn by MSC, and felt this was our only form of getting our own back. We do give cash tips directly to staff who do give exceptional service. The ship is a stunning well equipped ship with as good as the best out there offer, however, we did feel that overall the mixing of several nationalities does tend to back fire to a large degree, the general poor quality of the food on offer and the very high prices charged for beverages does mark this ship/company down considerably. As we only went on this trip as a fill in break during Easter time off, and a break away, we did enjoy it generally, we did mange to laugh at the poor and miss described food, the rows and squabbles amongst passengers. The rip off prices, that led us to used plan B. The endless 6 language announcements that can grind you down. If you treat most things like water off a ducks back, then MSC is a great, different experience of cruising. Give MSC a go. If however you look for value for money, first class dining, a great time being entertained during your evenings with the drink flowing, without busting your wallets, I would leave MSC well alone and stick with the UK/USA ships instead. Happy Cruising....... Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
I had earlier been on three cruises, two of them being to Europe (Mediterranean west and Southampton /Norway).This was our first experience with MSC Preziosa and we had a great time on the ship.I had booked a fantastica balcony cabin for ... Read More
I had earlier been on three cruises, two of them being to Europe (Mediterranean west and Southampton /Norway).This was our first experience with MSC Preziosa and we had a great time on the ship.I had booked a fantastica balcony cabin for me, my son and a close friend and our package included 36 drinks vouchers for our six day cruise. We had a very smooth Embarkation ,it took us just 20 minutes to get on the board and our luggage was already outside our cabin. Our cabin was quite spacious and had ample room for three of us. Bed was very comfortable and so was the sofa cum bed.Bathroom's size was okay and it had all the requisite toiletries .Balcony was also good though we didn't get much chance to sit and enjoy coffee as it was quite cold outside. The ship has beautiful interiors and one really relishes being on board such a lovely ship. The only thing which is below the mark is it's dining which was just average. There were very few options in the main dining room and the buffet was somewhat better. Entertainment was okay without being exceptional. We had no complaints regarding the service which was very good. We didn't go for pricey excursions offered by the cruise and had our own arrangements. Finally, the process of disembarkation had no hiccups and we had smooth sailing. Overall we had a wonderful time and would certainly sail again with MSC Preziosa. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We took our first MSC cruise, a 21 day TA from Martinique to Hamburg, many port stops in between which I initially thought might be a negative (we love the sea days, hence the TA's) but it was broken up nicely and we saw a few new ... Read More
We took our first MSC cruise, a 21 day TA from Martinique to Hamburg, many port stops in between which I initially thought might be a negative (we love the sea days, hence the TA's) but it was broken up nicely and we saw a few new ports by sheer number. It was like having three different cruises, the Caribbean followed by the TA followed by a European cruise, very nice. We arrived late with late flights, 7 pm-ish to check in but they had the whole YC experience going strong including drinks upon arrival, easy passport check, etc and then you're guided to the concierge floor to meet the concierge on duty and a few butlers hanging out, likely yours. We had awesome Roberto aided by two junior butlers and all was well. My only negative observation is the whole YC team tries too hard to provide service even when you decline it...an example would be getting a few items of food at the buffet and trying to carry it yourself, they always want to tray it up and take it to your room/table and it took at least two weeks to get them to back off. We are fit mid 50's folk and perfectly capable to carry our glass and a plate and it felt like a negative, the constant spotlight they want to shine on you. I enjoyed the experience but wished often and to their face that they would just back off a bit, we don't need a guide to our seats in the theater and I'm sure folks who DO will let it be known, if someone declines than back off and respect our choice and we found that happened too often, the push for service. Weird complaint, right? I know, it is weird but its how it felt, to always having someone rush to open a door or guide you to a seat or try to grab your food to take it to your table instead of letting us quietly enjoy this wonderful time without the fanfare attached to it. This leads into further service issues upstairs on deck 18, Topsail. AWESOME space with plenty of lounge chairs, oddly not padded chairs but plenty of towels available and when it got cold they brought out the blankets, nice touch. The pool guys were always smiling and nice! They have tables/umbrellas in the bar section where a buffet is set up for breakfast and lunch so probably about 10 tables available...also a smoking section that has three umbrella tables. Weird service in the beverage department up there, hot and cold with sometimes 30 min between a round of servers and then suddenly a barrage. Gelato guy would go by (awesome) but twice we waved to flag him and he just walked by or you'd have to flag a server and then they're quite nice but just not on it the way they want to be or should be, rarely did someone take multiple orders which led to a long time getting drinks brought to you so we embraced the exercise portion of this and just went to the bar...not a big deal but the substance is lacking and my first thought was they're new at this but apparently YC has been kicking for years now so not sure if any of these issues will be fixable. We did see the turnover of one manager to another and the guy that left was so burned out, you rarely saw him vs Allessandro the new guy who was seen multiple times a day, checking on your day, borderline bothersome but I got what he was going for so hello, hello and good luck on changing practices. Food was the major negative, it was truly tasteless and almost funny how every dish (sadly not kidding) was without taste. Upside we actually lost weight on this 21 day cruise and happy for that but wow, a whole of salt used and worse, steak sauce for a filet, that's almost criminal behavior. We only ate at the buffet for salad bar, sad sad salad bar, and some pizza slices and that was just average at best. Wild amount of people but heck, it IS a buffet, and we found seats the three times so thats my only input. Our YC restaurant was just average, there IS an alternate menu available including chicken, a large filet of beef, a large filet of salmon, and perhaps a few other things but its not advertised oddly enough. Our waiters actually brought us the best dish we had, chicken curry, after we laughingly asked if we could eat in the crew dining room, betting they had tasty Indian food available and the next night we were eating the best chicken curry. Why that isn't on the menu is mindblowing and I asked the maitre'd and the hotel director and anyone who inquired but the answer is oddly 'we cater to an international crowd' to which i reply so does every other cruiseline and they manage to have tasty food. Europeans don't like bland, do they? I'm going to assume no because the ongoing theme from the Germans, the Brits, the French and us, the minority Americans, during the cruise was the bad food but whatever, we ate just fine, remembering that upside of weight loss and knowing it was just the way it is. Gelato was good and free for YC, once we found that baby we imbibed often! The best advice I'd give is to reitterate what another post said regarding MSC and that is to not compare it to any other cruise and you'll love it. I reminded myself of that often and I loved it, truly. The quirks were funny including the five and six language announcements, that's just funny and even more fun when the Russians boarded in France, dropping Portuguese in exchange, and the crazy entertainment. Wow to this menage of acts, it was funny and fun and really a wild experience. One night started out with Van Halen 'Jump' and was followed by the ring dropping from the ceiling followed by a dance number, etc etc. Crazy fun and we had a blast! No production shows, good classical voice concerts (two in the afternoon) and also a nice piano concert in the afternoon, nice additions. Their classical voices were excellent, good acts and something you don't see often. Main night acts are short, 30-40 min long which is perfect for the acts and we saw them all minus Abba and a ventriloquist. I would rate them as matinee Vegas quality and again, they were all fun, esp the acrobatic guys. Dancers were good, singers were good, all around pleasing...but remember, don't compare because these aren't Broadway shows brought to the sea or Blue Man, its great for what it is. Ship design is lovely, crazy crystal inlays into the stairs, beautiful but somewhat blinding, pretty and nice layout of ship (a lot of mirrors!) minus the casino. Leaving the theater loads you right into it on deck 6 and its the smokiest casino I've ever seen, so much so that I didn't bother to do any gambling because the odor was so cloying, as if they lacked any smoke eating device at all and it resulted in the smoke drifting directly into the lounge directly above it, the jazz bar, so we also avoided that area. MSC should absolutely install state of the art smoke eaters, we absolutely would have frequented those areas, esp their money making casino so I guess I should thank them for that too, weight loss and more euros in my pocket. :) Would we do this again? Yes but only in the yacht club, it was sheer madness in the 'real' world and not worth my cruising dollars. I'd like to hope the food issue is a one off with the ship. We ate at Eataly once and it was probably a B experience, the food was mostly tasty but all around the worse tiramisu ever eaten, both in this restaurant and La Palmeraie...found that to be quite odd for an Italian ship but ultimately thanks, two lbs of weight gain would have come from all of that tiramisu! We loved the international blend, it was fun to chat world events with world travelers. This particular itinerary hit a lot of ports so we enjoyed all of this exposure to new lands. We would do another TA with MSC but again, only with yacht club, it just looked too crazy. Unfortunately prices have jacked up, we apparently paid 1/3 more than the Brits that asked us (but we are still quite happy with our choice!) so that factors in...food quality has to be considered and after traveling with Azamara (10 lbs gain, food was stupidly great) and Celebrity Blu its hard to spend extra $$ just for the 'experience' but good itinerary and we'd likely be there. Another addition, GREAT gym! They have a variety of machines, probably 25-30, and we found working out at lunch was the time! Worked around people with the machines, empty gym in port days (yay) and would highly recommend this gym to keep your body in shape. Its up there with NCL Epic gym. Oh yeah, one last addition...we didn't feel like MSC was nickeling and diming us at every turn. Minimal announcements, no big push of products despite a nice supply of stores on three levels, not the feeling like someone just had their hand in your pocket. Okay, ONE last also, the nautical information they provided on the daily planner was great, informative in a different way, and we learned stuff. Sadly the captain wasn't chatty (but with the language spread its probably good) so none of the good sea tales that others like to provide but we felt information was dispelled quite well. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We have pretty much been on all cruise lines and so we were keen to try MSC as they are now using the English ports and are keen to attract the British market. We were excited to try a new cruise line and had high hopes of a great ... Read More
We have pretty much been on all cruise lines and so we were keen to try MSC as they are now using the English ports and are keen to attract the British market. We were excited to try a new cruise line and had high hopes of a great experience. We were disappointed. The ship is very glitzy but has very little comfort. Sun beds were the worst on any ship and a lot of the chairs at the garden bar were not fit for purpose. The food was very poor and not hot in all the restaurants on board. You could not get a hot cup of tea on the ship unless you paid for it. The staff were the most unapproachable staff ever on a ship that we have had in 30 years and over 100 cruises. Cabin was ok but the balcony chairs were not very comfortable. Entertainment was not good. activities were ok but not for the English. service in the cabin was ok. service in the bars was poor. Service in the dining room was good but food was poor. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
The ship its self was modern clean with an impressive stairway and delivered what was expected from this class of ship . We purchased the Aurea package which gave you some extras like free drinks, package massage, my choice dining and ... Read More
The ship its self was modern clean with an impressive stairway and delivered what was expected from this class of ship . We purchased the Aurea package which gave you some extras like free drinks, package massage, my choice dining and free access to deck 18 Dining was the first problem, a high standard was expected from the team as the previous two cruises delivered this but , quality of service and food failed to meet the previous experience resulting in a complaint. The buffet area offered at times a better standard. The buffet area also was at times I felt of a disjointed set up the items did not flow i.e meats/ chesses to accompany a salad where miles apart when common sense would of had them close. Entertainment was of a low standard very repetitive and only started to improve last three days of the cruise The Drinks package wow what a mess , previously the Aurea had a generous drinks package but this has been devalued to €6 but and this was changed in November 2018. Their systems don't know who purchased the cruise prior to November so the system was honoring drinks to the value of € 9 but the staff advised you if you asked only €6. In the next action they would still process drinks to the value of €9 at no extra charge to yourself, what was the point of telling you €6 ? I found some of the front line staff wooden especially on the help desk , like the sketch from little Brittan the computer says no !!! If you used a brain cell you could make life so much easier without the customer having to point out some of the MSC policy's just don't make sense! In a nut shell MSC is growing and polices are changing of which I would hazard a guess non of the management who are implementing the changes have actually experienced the impact of such living on board as a guest. Having cruised with MSC twice before we had a level of service expected and unfortunately this cruise fell short of these. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We have traveled to Caribbean previously in 2017 on MSC Fantasia and had a wonderful time. It was a fly cruise. This time we flew out to Caribbean on Virgin Atlantic and this was a very pleasant experience. We decided to do a ... Read More
We have traveled to Caribbean previously in 2017 on MSC Fantasia and had a wonderful time. It was a fly cruise. This time we flew out to Caribbean on Virgin Atlantic and this was a very pleasant experience. We decided to do a different cruise in as much as we flew to Barbados and then after On our arrival in Bridgetown we had a very pleasant surprise. As we got off the aircraft we found coaches waiting for us at bottom of steps. We were taken directly to the ship and never touched our luggage until it arrived in our cabin. The cabin itself was a balcony cabin and was beautiful in every way. We chose a Fantastica cabin as it came with a drinks package. Our cabin steward, Erith could not have been more helpful and kept cabin spotless. We chose !st sitting dining in Golden Lobster Restaurant. The waiters were great and were very attentive including our waiter James ( name we used for him.) he left ship in Lisbon to fly home to Bali. His assistant waiter was called Abhishek Kumar from India and he went out of his way to make sure we had a fantastic holiday. He deserves the highest praise. The food was excellent although not to my taste all the time. The restaurant was spotless and well managed. The entertainment on the ship left a lot to be desired although the the trio with the pianist and 2 violinists we excellent and a pleasure to listen to. The service overall on the ship was first class and could not be faulted in any way. WE did not take any of the excursions and made our own arrangements. We found the islands very commercialized now and have got worse over the past few years. We took a taxi in Guadaloupe and the female taxi driver was the most dangerous taxi drive I have ever used. She was swerving all over road and reading phone texts and making nd taking phone calls. In Barbados was took a trip in a glass bottom boat which was most enjoyable and well worth the money. After leaving Barbados on 9th April we traveled 5 days across the Atlantic and it was a lovely smooth crossing to Tenerife which we enjoyed immensely. WE then visited Madeira which is a lovely island and I would recommend anyone visiting if you get the chance. The 3 visits to Lisbon, Vigo and Le Havre were not as good and as it was bank holiday most of town was closed. The appeared to be a lot of coughing on board which I hasten to add. I do not blame on ship. Our disembarkation in Southampton due to passengers who boarded in Le Havre did not attend the compulsory immigration procedures. This is the one complaint I have about MSC. It is used as a ferry service more that a cruise ship. Overall the ship and staff were perfect in every way and I would not hesitate to use MSC again although I would be more selective. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Wanted to find an itinerary that suited everyone. We were a group of 6 adults with 3 children and wanted to leave after xmas. We flew with Air Transat (cruise and flight package) embarked in Guadeloupe for a 7 day cruise which included ... Read More
Wanted to find an itinerary that suited everyone. We were a group of 6 adults with 3 children and wanted to leave after xmas. We flew with Air Transat (cruise and flight package) embarked in Guadeloupe for a 7 day cruise which included Tortola, St-Maarten, Dominica, St-Kitts, Antigua and Martinique. We had 3 balcony staterooms on deck 11. The ship is nice, many bars and lounges. Elevators were always slow. Our rooms were clean and our steward was efficient and pleasant. Wide variety of food at buffet, lots of fruit, veggies and salad .It can be hit or miss but it pays to circle the buffet as the dishes are not always replicated on both sides. Dining-room food wasn't too great, plate presentations need to be improved. You must purchase regular water to drink, no water pitchers available. Didn't like the wrapped hamburgers that were available. We didn't purchase any excursions with the ship. We managed visiting each island on our own. Fort de France has a beautiful botanical garden. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
From the first there were high hopes that this would be the ideal cruise. We carefully selected our cabin, paid for an upgrade from the Bella Class and were told we would have drink tickets available. Our luggage was tagged for our ... Read More
From the first there were high hopes that this would be the ideal cruise. We carefully selected our cabin, paid for an upgrade from the Bella Class and were told we would have drink tickets available. Our luggage was tagged for our room and we were at the ship early. Happy to be allowed boarding somewhat earlier than the listed time our passports were scanned and the luggage scanned and sent to our room. We went through the next phase of having our photo taken for the ID (again matching our passports and clearly assigned our cabin.) When we reached the registration area, amidst the chaos of what felt to be pushy sales for drinks packages and upgrades we already paid for we were soon told "we have no record of you." We pointed out the impossibility of this - having our luggage already aboard and heading to our selected room. This had to be mentioned twice to be clear: we had a room, and clearly the computers would have indicated a problem during the early phases of ship access. Fix It Note: Your computer systems should be integrated. This is a clear failure to enter consistent data or a failure in the database. The second case is quite rare. Imagine how we felt to be offered an "upgrade" to a different room for our troubles. That would be so helpful. Oddly the "upgrade" did not seem to consider the following items: A) Our carefully chosen room that was not directly under dance or performance deck. Our "upgrade" had us under an activity deck so that we would hear people running along the deck, amplified it sounded "like a heard of wildebeest." B) We checked our access cards - which were in the new suite - and as surprising as this was since we were "not in the system" we also found that our access status was "Bella" class. One might be shocked that this "sudden" upgrade seems to have been a shift of our cabin denying the upgrade we paid for. Obviously our expectations of having the 12 drink tickets evaporated. I am left to ponder if the offered tickets were placed in the original cabin. C) Assured our luggage was to be forwarded, and feeling the need for my medication (asthma inhalers) I went in search of our luggage after a few hours. There was no effort to reroute our luggage to the new location. If I were to guess why - "we weren't in the system" so they didn't know where to look for it. It didn't make it easier for me to manhandle our luggage to the elevator when I found it only to find two elevators on service and two elevators consistently packed with people. This effort made me unhappy. That failure was not welcome - but at least I could take my medication. The dinner service was scheduled for 9:30 in the evening. It seemed light fare and we were hungry, and I was disappointed to have the sales pitch for drink services and alternate food offerings during dinner. Due to a change in our plans, since I was already ill with a cold, we requested an earlier dinner seating the next evening. Summary: at the end of Day 1 things felt like this was a shakedown cruise and people didn't really know how things were scheduled. It may be possible that the drink tickets were not delivered by the agency we booked with but the "not in the system" and room upgrade that wasn't an upgrade were not hopeful. My thoughts - "It can only get better." For the cruise: The cabin and the ship were clean, though I felt perhaps the ships stabilizers could be better. Aside from the pitter-patter of small feet in combat boots overhead some of the ceiling tiles creaked and any loose hangers in the closet would rattle. The buffet was not up to my expectations. Perhaps I expect too much but the offerings of pizza and burgers were not to my taste or to my body's acceptance. This persisted with other offerings I sampled over the cruise. I like food, and having to resort to salads (the salad bar was good) for my lunch left my wife bemused. Over the course of the week we also sampled the breakfast buffet. The comments as follows: Bell Pepper Omlette - "where is the Bell Pepper?" This was the same for the cheese omlette to the point that I went to another region of the buffet to find cheese to put on my cheese omlette. The "custom omlette" station had too long a line to sample the custom made omlettes but my experience with the others was not leaving me inspired. Some of the fresh plates from the rack were not clean. I know that is a difficult element to master when people grab ten plates at a time. We did get an earlier seating for dinner by the next day. (Yay!) We also had excellent company at the table and Jayland was eager to please. We learned then that we could order more than one appetiser, entree and dessert. That information would have been useful the first night and I don't understand why we were not told. The portions were still a small so we took to multiple orders. There were some disappointments and the meals were hit and miss. This included a shrimp bisque a couple of days in where my wife found one shrimp that would fit on my baby finger-nail. While I liked the onion soup the cheese on some form of plaster-hardened bread was hard to cut through. The other couple at our table agreed. We were again offered to buy steak and lobster. It felt like this was being used to leverage sales of the T-Bone steak and lobster. We were offered to purchase a wine for the New Years Eve dinner. Oddly, even though this was the first time we were offered we were told all but two sparkling wines were sold out. We noticed those wines were readily available at the bar on other evenings. This is at odds with logic - why were we not offered the new years selections earlier, and how can you be sold out of something you still had a supply of? Inquiring minds want to know. The room service was good, the shower clean, the water hot, with enough storage for our goods. In St. Kitts the room program did mention in the fine print that photo ID would be needed. After a number of stops where it was not needed this change caught me by surprise since I was not reading the fine print in detail. While there may have been an announcement it did not come across the speaker in our cabin and by the time I opened the door to hear what was being said in the hallway the message was in German. My German is way too rusty. We got off without photo-ID and had trouble getting back on. What would have been good? Having a SIGN by the exits saying "for this port you need photo-ID to get back" and maybe a person to check before they get off the ship. What else left me disappointed? Oh, one or two more things: I went to Medical - and staff were trying to stop me from going there. All I wanted was a blood pressure check (give me the cuff/stethyscope and I would do it myself) and the nurse practitioner didn't inspire confidence in that she didn't know how to find "blood pressure" in the menus and had to be shown. My wife went to the spa for a full package (massage, manicure, pedicure, facial) and she came back with a wound on her nose. The facial should not take off the face. "You can cover that up with makeup" doesn't cut it - the charge was for a first class service, there is no room for error on that. Yes, it healed by the end of the trip but it never should have happened or the charge should have been withdrawn. I was not impressed by the entertainment, either. Perhaps we were picky but we had been on another cruiseline and found there that the instruments were played on key, the singers had a greater dynamic range for vocals in pitch and rhythm and the dancers could dance in sync. I feel the decor of the Safari Lounge needs a revamp on top of that. Smoke - open casino smoke would bleed into other areas of the ship, making it hard to move to the other end of the ship without changing floors. The open smoking on the upper deck did on occasion waft to our balcony, and I did see someone toss a cigarette butt overboard - regardless of the rules it was disconcerting to witness. The Final Costs, on the last day I was surprised by the automatic tipping built in (10e/day/person) and thought this was included in the package price. Maybe I was wrong, but I felt I needed a drink. Waiting fifteen minutes to not have anyone take an order we changed bars. At the next bar I ordered a 6e gin and tonic from a menu and was presented with wonderful gin and tonic with a bill for a 7.50e ... and while this was corrected I could only ponder through the trip how many times this had been done to me, recalling that we were supposed to have drink tickets. Have I missed any details? Probably a few. Little things, like the MSC special access ramp that I couldn't use one morning at 9am scooting back to the ship with some cough medicine for my wife. There was nobody on the ramp coming off or going on, but it was for the yacht club members... so I got to wander the distance to the next ramp in the morning shower that happened overhead. A crisis it was not, but the ramp was idle. All in all, no single thing is worth crying about. Even all the things summed up are not a crying shame. However, it all adds up to an experience that does not match the effort to deliver a prime service. The restaurant food should be five star, room assignments should not be lost, the buffet should have a higher quality of food, the entertainment needs a boost, the Safari Lounge needs a makeover and the Nurse Practitioner needs better human relations training as well as practice record keeping on the computer Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
This cruise was chosen purely because of the itinerary. POSITIVES: - The ship was lovely. - The cabin was lovely. - Food was great. - Drinks package was great value. - ALL of the wait staff and bar staff were soooooo ... Read More
This cruise was chosen purely because of the itinerary. POSITIVES: - The ship was lovely. - The cabin was lovely. - Food was great. - Drinks package was great value. - ALL of the wait staff and bar staff were soooooo lovely and friendly. They were also very attentive and professional. NEGATIVES: - Do not get a photo package unless you like fully staged studio shots (with fake Greek columns in the background) - Do not go on a shore tour. It is so easy to arrange your own little trips with the many people selling their services when you get of the boat. - The music on the ship is all very beige....like elevator music. There is good music available, but you have to look for it. - Communication with staff from the photo place, the Customer service and the Shore tours were incompetent and could not answer questions in a logical way. You have to be prepared to argue about EVERYTHING because the customer service motto is to blame the customer for anything that is wrong,rather than try to help them. - If you get injured on a shore tour (as my husband did) and have to get rushed to hospital, do not expect ANY support from MSC. They are useless....all of them. - The "desk" staff are rude. They do not know how to ask if you are ok after having a head injury. Of course all the lovely waiters and bar staff had perfect skills at doing this. If everything goes ok, MSC are fine. But the minute you have a problem, like being hit in the head by a mast off a boat, their complete lack of procedures, consistent stories about payment of hospital bills and just a simple check-in process after returning to the boat from hospital are inadequate. MSC "desk" staff seem to have a policy....it is not my department, it is not my responsibility, I do not know how to do that, my supervisor can help with that. We had several problems on the cruise with photos, shore tours and head injury and we did not come into contact with ANY staff that seemed to have a clue how to deal with people. LOVED all the destinations. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We booked this cruise for our honeymoon which wasn't even acknowledged. We were very disappointed. I got food poisoning on my third day on the ship. I only ate on board so it was definitely from the ship and I had also seen people ... Read More
We booked this cruise for our honeymoon which wasn't even acknowledged. We were very disappointed. I got food poisoning on my third day on the ship. I only ate on board so it was definitely from the ship and I had also seen people prior to me getting sick walking around with bandages covering where drips had to be inserted for people who had food poisoning. The ship did not enforce the use of the hand santizers. People just walked past the staff spraying them. I had to remain in my room for 24 hours and was given 45€ credit as I was cabin bound. I therefore missed a hole day of my honeymoon and wasn't right for a good few days after. When we approached reception at the end of our stay we produced the letter stating we has 45€ credit due to me being sick which we received from the doctors surgery on board. We had so much hassle to get it honoured with the reception staff stating they had never seen it before. This wasn't our first time dealing with reception staff we had to deal with them on our second day on board as our card had ran out of money. We had a total of €80 gratitudes by day two which can be paid at your own discretion ...we dread to think what our bill would of been by the end of the week. We also had to deal with them as our Wi-Fi package wasn't working. The female staff at reception were so rude and so unhelpful. Our cabin attendant on floor nine was an absolute pain. He thought nothing of knocking on our door at 10-11 pm at night. The entertainment was awful. The acrobats were good but that was about it. The excursions on board were very expensive too. We would not recommend this ship. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
This was our 3rd MSC cruise. 1st was on Divina in March 2017 for 1 week, 2nd was a back-to-back (2 week) cruise on the Seaside in June 2018. So we clearly enjoy MSC. We appreciate all the Christmas touches onboard that made it an extra ... Read More
This was our 3rd MSC cruise. 1st was on Divina in March 2017 for 1 week, 2nd was a back-to-back (2 week) cruise on the Seaside in June 2018. So we clearly enjoy MSC. We appreciate all the Christmas touches onboard that made it an extra special Christmas for our 2 young sons. Pros included the service from Edison and Inca in the Villa Rosa Dining Room each night; the delicious food in the MDR for dinner; the cleanliness and spaciousness of our interior cabin; the pasta, pizza, and other variety in the buffet for lunch. Cons included a very long check-in process due to a careless error of the lady checking us in; a delayed boarding process (boarding did not begin until 1:00pm); being bombarded by staff members as soon as we stepped on board trying to sell us drink packages; very slow (10-15 minute wait for a drink) daily at the Divina Bar and the Aqua Park/Pool Bar; extremely horrible service and slow service 2 mornings in the Black Crab Restaurant for breakfast; such bad and slow service that we ended up just doing the buffet for breakfast; the extreme discomfort of and condition of the pillows and matress; the pillows and matrewss were terrible and caused me a bad backache each night that kept me awake in pain much of the night every single night. The pillows at least need to be replaced immediately. We have our 4th MSC cruise already booked--we'll be back on the Seaside in June 2019. I do not foresee us booking anything back on the Divina anytime soon. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We chose this 2 week cruise at Christmas because of the amazing itinerary. It visited some islands we hadn't visited before, including Guadeloupe, where we wanted to do the "Death in Paradise" tour, going to the locations ... Read More
We chose this 2 week cruise at Christmas because of the amazing itinerary. It visited some islands we hadn't visited before, including Guadeloupe, where we wanted to do the "Death in Paradise" tour, going to the locations used in the TV series. The ship didn't offer this but we booked an excellent tour through Viator. The ship looked clean and the decor was stylish, but our inside cabins 12135 and 12139 smelt strongly of cigarette smoke at some times of the day for the whole cruise. When we complained, reception staff were sympathetic and polite but ultimately ineffectual. They told us to call whenever it smelt bad and they would send someone up. We called but no-one turned up after the first occasion. On this occasion it was implied that the problem was due to the air intake for the air conditioning being on a smoking deck. As a previous reviewer has mentioned there are so many smoking areas, that cigarette smoke has infiltrated the whole air conditioning system, although all of the ship did not smell as bad as our cabins. We may have been unlucky with the air conditioning in these cabins as damp swimsuits took 3 times longer to dry than on other cruise ships. Also we did one previous MSC cruise on a different ship and I don't remember having the same problem. The other problem with this ship was no provision for gluten-free food in the buffet. The celiac in our party was told by a buffet manager he must eat only in the main dining room. This is disappointing as gluten-free pizzas and fries are available on other cruise lines. However the dining room staff were very good and friendly, as were the majority of staff on board. Finally, the embarkation in Pointe a Pitre was appalling. We were made to wait on the street until 14.00, one hour after the time we had been given, before the the port gates were opened, and then there was a stampede! Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Started the cruise in Genoa Italy. This was in cruise crossing the Atlantic to the Caribbean, the first few days were spent at different Mediterranean ports then onto the island of Tenerife, now there was five days at sea,this is when the ... Read More
Started the cruise in Genoa Italy. This was in cruise crossing the Atlantic to the Caribbean, the first few days were spent at different Mediterranean ports then onto the island of Tenerife, now there was five days at sea,this is when the problems started, the largest populations on the ship were German,French,Italian with smaller groups of Spanish and British, all sunbeds on the top deck were taken by 6 o'clock in the morning,towels were placed on sunbeds all day with many not being used at all. Complaints were made to the ships staff but nothing was done, then some Italian families actually had fist fights around the pool area because they had taken"there sun lounger area by the pool" staff were called but refused to get involved. Many complained again but nothing done. The theatre shows were Italian in origin rather than international and became monotonous after a few days. We were on an all inclusive drinks package 25 Euros a day, but many of the drinks were not included! Although it says beer is included its not, only Heineken lager is included, all other beers are chargeable, when you order you have always to ask if it's included which is embarrassing as people think you cannot afford it. The bar and cabin staff go out of there way to make your stay enjoyable and always pleasant, on the other hand the security staff on the exit and entrance onto the ship were anything but. They would grunt at you take your hats and glasses off, stand still while we check your card,no smiles no talking to you, just as thought you were entering a country, inside the ship they would walk into you as though you shouldn't be in the way, had no respect for any passengers ( but they would not attend to the fighting by the pool , cowards). Yes people join the ship in most ports but that dosnt cause a problem, although you get a little tired of the safety drill at every port. Be aware that there is no self service laundry facilities on-board, although the ship will do your laundry for a price. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
This was my second MSC cruise and my seventh overall cruise.  However this was the 1st time that we had booked a 14-day cruise!  Yes, FOURTEEN DAYS!  My mom, my husband, my 7-year-old son, my 3-year-old son, and I sailed together on the ... Read More
This was my second MSC cruise and my seventh overall cruise.  However this was the 1st time that we had booked a 14-day cruise!  Yes, FOURTEEN DAYS!  My mom, my husband, my 7-year-old son, my 3-year-old son, and I sailed together on the MSC Fantasia, from March 18, 2018 to April 1, 2018, roundtrip from Guadeloupe to Antigua & Barbuda, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, the Dominican Republic, St. Kitts & Nevis, Martinique, St. Lucia, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago, and Grenada, with multiple stops in Guadeloupe, Martinique, and St. Kitts & Nevis.  We had two Fantastica balcony staterooms on Deck 10, right next to each other: 10208 and 10210.  We loved our clean and spacious staterooms!  We booked this cruise for the amazing itinerary!  I was a bit disappointed when a portion of the itinerary changed – the initial itinerary included Tortola, British Virgin Islands; Dominica; and St. Maarten/St. Martin.  After the damage caused by the 2017 hurricane season, those three ports were removed from the itinerary, and, instead, an extra stop in St. Kitts was added, as well as a stop in La Romana, Dominican Republic.  We made the best of it!  Truly, the itinerary was still FABULOUS!  We had a wonderful time!  The crew and staff that we dealt with the most, which were our room steward, wait staff and other dining room staff, and the photo team were consistently pleasant and really made this voyage GREAT!  Our stateroom steward, Augustin, was excellent in keeping our rooms clean and in order, and promptly replaced used beach towels with new ones, which was a big deal for us because we made many trips to the beach during this vacation.  Being our second MSC cruise, but my seventh overall cruise, I can honestly say that we looked forward to the spacious, well-kept rooms, and we were not disappointed.  I honestly think that MSC has the best standard rooms in the industry.  I have yet to stay in a suite on any cruise ship, but for the standard rooms that guests can book, MSC’s are top of the line.  The top of the line staterooms are no surprise when you look at the entire ship, which is exquisite!  As with MSC Divina, the MSC Fantasia has lots of glass and sparkle!  My favorite part of both ships are the magnificent Swarovski Crystal staircases!  While the décor on MSC Divina had lots of silver, the MSC Fantasia has more golds and reds.  The crew does an excellent job keeping the ship clean.  The MSC Fantasia is STUNNING!  Astawa and Michael were more than just our waiters at Il Cerchio D’Oro.  Astawa and Michael were warm, kind, attentive, pleasant, efficient, and fun whether we saw them at Il Cerchio D’Oro at night or at the Zanzibar buffet!  They’re wonderful, and we miss them!  Astawa and Michael got to know our children’s favorite menu items really quickly, and although our sons can be difficult to please when it comes to food, they liked the food on the MSC Fantasia.  My mom, my husband, and I also enjoyed our dining experiences on this cruise.  We especially enjoyed the lobster and sparkling wine meal that we ordered for my husband’s birthday which we celebrated onboard!  Thanks to the dining room staff for the “Happy Birthday” serenade, birthday cake delivery, and the fresh fruit platters for us to enjoy!  Also consistently warm and friendly are the dining crew members Mateen and Amira who we saw at various locations throughout our cruise.  We usually saw Mateen in the mornings at the Zanzibar buffet, as he would walk around with the cart with coffee, tea, and hot chocolate.  His friendly conversation helped to form a quick friendship with our two sons!  About half-way through our cruise, Amira started to spark conversation with our 3-year-old, and he would smile each time he’d see her… it was really cute!  My 7-year-old son attended the children’s club during the only sea day of the cruise, and he said he enjoyed it.  However, while the staff and crew can communicate clearly in English, he could not understand and communicate clearly with many of the children there because the overwhelming majority of the children onboard spoke French, which is reflective of the majority of the guests onboard this particular itinerary, and is to be expected given that the ports of embarkation are Guadeloupe and Martinique.  The children's club had a performance in the theater onboard, so of course, we went to see the performance.  We enjoyed a fun show, performed by the MSC Entertainment Team, and then, the children's club performed as well. The performance included a children's club talent show!  My 7-year-old’s favorite parts of the ship are the waterslide, the arcades, and the 4D theatre – we bought the family pass for $60 and went multiple times thereafter to watch the 4D movie clips, which he enjoyed.  That family pass allows guests in the same stateroom to see the movie clips as many times as they would like, and also, to “drive” the F1 Simulator.  One difference to note here between the MSC Divina and the MSC Fantasia is that there is no miniature bowling alley on the Fantasia, while there is one on the Divina.  We would have loved to have the bowling alley onboard Fantasia, as we enjoyed a couple trips to the Sports Bar during our cruise, and we think that the bowling alley would have been a nice addition.  The Sports Bar is located on Deck 7, and is nice to dine in a few times, especially if you want to have lunch somewhere that’s not as busy as the Zanzibar buffet on Deck 14.  The food and drinks at the Sports Bar are pretty good!  Also located on Deck 7 is the MSC Photo Gallery, which was one area that we frequently visited during our cruise.  Yes, we take many photographs on our own cameras, but we are fans of professional cruise photos, particularly those taken by the MSC Photo Teams.  After having experienced the MSC Divina and Fantasia, I can say that I think MSC’s photographers take the best photographs at sea!  I don’t know what’s better: (1) The spectacular quality of our MSC Fantasia photographs, or (2) The MSC Fantasia Photo Team’s consistent, warm, friendly, and professional service with a smile!  We are especially thankful for the staff mentioned here, and for all the wonderful crew and staff members of the MSC Fantasia!  The only recurring complaint we had was that there were quite a few guests onboard who seemed rude, as they seemed to have no regard for personal space and thought nothing of cutting ahead of others in line. However, that's a reflection on those people, not on MSC. Embarkation in Guadeloupe went smoothly, as we dropped our bags at the designated location with the designated staff members, and we proceeded to check-in and board the MSC Fantasia.  One thing that could have been improved on embarkation day was the sign-up for the children’s club at embarkation.  There was a crowd in the atrium area where the children’s club sign-up was taking place, and it was very difficult to navigate through there.  Disembarkation in the ports-of-call and at the end of the cruise were excellent.  Our disembarkation from MSC Fantasia was the BEST cruise disembarkation experience we have had thus far.  On disembarkation day, we had to be out of our staterooms before 9 AM, and after having breakfast, we disembarked a bit after 10 AM, and we easily found our bags in the terminal.  Our MSC Fantasia cruise was a great experience!  Being from the Caribbean myself, residing in New York City, and having received my undergraduate degree in International Studies, I consider myself very much aware of diverse cultures throughout the Caribbean and the rest of the world.  That being said, I was in awe of the amazing mix of people onboard the MSC Fantasia.  In all honesty, I think I saw more people of color onboard this ship than any ship that I have sailed on from the United States, yet most of the people of color onboard this cruise primarily spoke French.  Given that MSC is an Italian cruise company and the clientele on this particular itinerary were primarily French, I certainly feel as though I need to brush up on the two languages that I studied years ago: French and Italian.  When stepping on and off the elevators or otherwise encountering other guests, I found myself saying “Hello” and “Bonjour,” or “Good Evening” and “Bonsoir.”  I just love it!  I also love that my children can experience more than just waterslides and food on our cruises, but can and do experience different cultures.  So what did we do in each port?  Antigua & Barbuda: We had visited Antigua in 2016, so we had planned an excursion to Montserrat this time, but that didn’t work out due to a misunderstanding and timing.  At that point, we decided to stroll in the port area, and then we went back onto the ship to explore the ship.  St. Vincent & the Grenadines: We booked the Bequia By Sailing Catamaran excursion through MSC, and it was great!  The catamaran ride to Bequia was tranquil and so was the beach.  We appreciated the stop in town to shop a bit.  Lunch on the catamaran ride back to mainland St. Vincent was delicious.  The afternoon catamaran ride was bumpier than in the morning, but thank God, we were kept safe and sound.  Overall, this was a really relaxing excursion.  The Dominican Republic: We booked the Relax on Bayahibe Beach excursion through MSC, and had a great time at Be Live Canoa Resort in Bayahibe!  We lounged on the beach, played in the ocean, danced, and played games led by the resort’s entertainment team.  This was a fun beach day! St. Kitts & Nevis: We booked the Discover Nevis & Beach excursion through MSC, and it was informative and fun!  This was our second visit to St. Kitts, as the 5 of us had visited in 2016, but this March 2018 cruise was our first visit to the actual island of Nevis, which was great!  In Nevis, we visited the birthplace of Alexander Hamilton, a lookout area that had stunning views of the country and the ocean, a shopping village, and the beach.  Martinique:  We booked the Authentic Tour of Southern Martinique, through Viator, and the tour was conducted by Beyond the Beach.  This tour was excellent: We explored Southern Martinique, visiting a shopping village, a beach, Le Diamant, a famous slave memorial, a playground, and the Trois Rivieres rum distillery, with lots of beautiful scenery along the way, including driving through the town in which Empress Josephine de Beauharnais, the first wife of Napoleon Bonaparte, was born.  Yes, all that within a day, and we got back to the ship well before it would set sail.  St. Lucia:  We had visited St. Lucia in 2016, and had experienced an excellent island tour with Serenity Vacations and Tours, so this time, we decided on a laid back day onboard the ship, and strolling in the port area.  Barbados: My husband’s homeland!  Here, we took the Harrison’s Cave Tram Tour, which we booked through Viator, and the tour company was Glory Tours.  The Glory Tours driver and guide throughout the drive in Barbados was very friendly and professional.  Harrison’s Cave is spectacular!  We also met up with my sister-in-law who lives in Barbados, and we all had lunch at Chefette, then took a taxi back to the cruise port.  Trinidad & Tobago: We booked the Maracas Beach Trip through MSC, and I think that Maracas Beach may be my favorite beach of this trip.  I’m not 100% sure because that’s a difficult decision to make, as we visited a number of amazing beaches throughout this cruise, but Maracas Beach is, at least, one of our favorites! Grenada:  We booked the Creole Bus Sensation through MSC, and this tour was really informative and gave us a nice feel for Grenada.  We visited two forts and the beach, all via a Creole Bus.  Grenada is hot hot hot, so the breeze that freely flowed through the Creole Bus was glorious!  We had a great time!  Guadeloupe: Guadeloupe Explor provided our airport-hotel-cruise transfers while in Guadeloupe, and also provided our day tour when the ship had returned to Guadeloupe in the middle of our 14-day Caribbean cruise.  For the day tour, we enjoyed visits to Crayfish Waterfalls, Guadeloupe Zoo, and a beautiful, tranquil beach.  Our tour guide and driver, Tommy, was very attentive, as he provided refreshments which were well received during our tour of the Guadeloupe Zoo and our time at the beach, provided a beach tent for our children, is an all-around efficient driver, and provided interesting details about Guadeloupe as we toured.  We highly recommend Guadeloupe Explor for getting around Guadeloupe.  Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
It was a very unfriendly ship for my kids.I have 2 boys ,one of them 10 months and the other 34 months old.The first problem is they do not let you with your child whenever you want.They have a schedule with parent and without parents.But ... Read More
It was a very unfriendly ship for my kids.I have 2 boys ,one of them 10 months and the other 34 months old.The first problem is they do not let you with your child whenever you want.They have a schedule with parent and without parents.But children do no not live according to their schedule.So when my 10 months old boy is awake and I want to play with him,if it is baby care time then they do not allow you to play.Plus you can not leave if your child is younger than 12 months.So it means you can not play with your child.My other 34 months old boy is not playing with babies but when you want to go to the other club which is for 3 years and up ,they do not allow you.I told them after 2 months my boy will be 3 ,what is the difference?.The only thing they know is NO.Staff is behaving you like you do something illegal if you want to play with your child.So from this point of view I regret that I chose this cruise.And I would never chose MSC because of behaving my kids like illegal immigrants. The second thing is hot water problem in the room.4 days of our 7 days cruise there was no hot water in the bathroom.Sometimes in the morning ,sometimes in the evening.They can say that it is a new ship so it can have problems but people must know and decide according to this.I went to a cruise which I could not make shower.And even though I called them many times the problem was not solved. The third thing is food.The food in the buffet and restaurant was like canteen food.I did not eat anything delicious.No Nutella at breakfast in an Italian ship was a surprise.So I think MSC made free food bad so that people will pay extra at the other restaurants.You can not even drink coke without paying.You do not have even water in the rooms or when you eat.They just give you crappy tap water which of course you will not drink and pay for bottled water. The fourth thing is the internet.I paid 80$ for 4.5GB internet which was enough for me for 3 days. So in summary MSC is trying to get as much as money they can get from everything possible.And this was my last cruise with MSC. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
We choose this 'cruise because it was good value. We flew to Barcelona and everything was very organised on board - from the first day to the final day we laughed, had fun, made friends and both my friends and I would love to go on ... Read More
We choose this 'cruise because it was good value. We flew to Barcelona and everything was very organised on board - from the first day to the final day we laughed, had fun, made friends and both my friends and I would love to go on another cruise. Our room on board was lovely - especially our balcony. The offshore places we visited were interesting and we had plenty of time to visit places of interest. We visited Majorca, Marseille, Genoa.. Dining is a problem as I definitely put on half a stone as the food was excellent. If you did not want to eat formally there was a huge buffet upstairs where you could pick and choose what you liked. We lovely the entertainment. I visited the casino which was great fun.so long as you are reasonably sensible. We eventually got back to Barcelona and all three of us said we would go on a Cruise again. It was really enjoyable. The staff were fantastic - I just wish I could remember all the names to say a special thank you to them. Our head waiter was from Bali - he was super.= The ship we sailed on was the PREZIOSA. AND not the Fantasia as indicated above. That name went in by mistake. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
I have traveled extensively around the world and spent almost 2 years in Europe in the past. Having always cruised on American ships (Holland America, Princess, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Carnival), this was definitely different, ... Read More
I have traveled extensively around the world and spent almost 2 years in Europe in the past. Having always cruised on American ships (Holland America, Princess, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Carnival), this was definitely different, definitely European. Amazingly, I met only one other family who were Americans-everyone else was from Europe or elsewhere, even though we were in the Caribbean! The ship was decorated luxuriously and the design, materials, wall/floor coverings, and furniture were definitely Italian design and a step above other ships that I have sailed on. The size of the cabin was average and any extra storage space was lacking. Of note is that the 13th floor cabins were the same size as the 10th floor cabins. However, the televisions were shockingly small at 18" and you needed binoculars from the bed to read any of the captions. They also lacked free English speaking movies which are standard on other cruise lines and had only 3 English-speaking channels including ESPN. The website to book the cruise was woefully lacking user friendly links and was confusing and ambiguous-this unfortunately put a strain on the toll-free MSC agency, who were quite helpful. They need to revamp their website up to American standards. The food was definitely European. The pasta and bread was excellent. The portions on the menu were small and the meat in the entrees ranged from "ok" to just plain bad. Ordering steak/sirloin resulted in about 3 to 4 ounces of tough meat. In general, the selection of menu entrees was extremely limited. TIP: order 2, or even a sampling of 3 of the main entrees on the menu with your partner if you are not sure about them. Other's reviews that you have read are spot-on: they do not serve plain water in the dining room and you are obligated to order bottled water. MSC has received so much flak for this, it is unbelievable that they would downgrade their reputation based on the few euros they make on this one item! On the other hand, the desserts are generally excellent. Or, forget about the dining room experience altogether and hit the Lido deck for the buffet where the choices are wider and at least as good as the dining room, and there is free tap water. Criticism about receiving misinformation from the staff is understandable-in general, in the US there is much more accountability for giving out wrong information (you will get fired) which is not as prevalent in Europe where people tend to, in there zeal to be helpful or knowledgeable, often answer you with "guesses" which are clearly wrong. Often, you will be receiving different answers to the same question. Strong suggestion: if you need a correct answer to a critical question, ask another employee or two, or ask their boss. But verify, verify, and verify. The excursions were surprisingly organized. We exited the ship quickly, much quicker than on other ships. They were inexpensive and good. However, be prepared and alert for unannounced schedule changes in just about anything-entertainment, port arrivals, open/closing hours of food venues which occur with surprising regularity. The entertainment was on par with other cruises we have been on. We found that almost every staff member at the information desk spoke English acceptably well. The conclusion: If you understand the cultural differences, prepare for the food, and are alert to unannounced/inadequately communicated changes in schedules, you will enjoy this beautifully designed ship and friendly staff. Also understand that MSC is still on the learning curve to be up with the "big boys" but can be a less expensive and attractive alternative to other cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Last minute Christmas booking. Wanted Caribbean Christmas cruise. Never again and the worst cruise we have had. Chose a suite and only suite 9003 available. This was located facing forward and had no balcony, which we knew, what we did ... Read More
Last minute Christmas booking. Wanted Caribbean Christmas cruise. Never again and the worst cruise we have had. Chose a suite and only suite 9003 available. This was located facing forward and had no balcony, which we knew, what we did not know was that around 1 hour before we docked, the rattle and bangs and awful noise would start. Also one night we had to call the reception at around 11.30pm because although we were at sea the noise was terrible, including floor vibration and this lasted for over an hour. We were given a bottle of wine and a note apologizing the next day. The itinerary included stops at Martinique and Guadeloupe both were JUST for new passengers boarding and this was repeated on the return journey. During the evening meal we were subjected to "where the life boat station was" and "how to put on a life jacket" in 6 languages. Even though our newly boarded table companions were told not to worry as this would all take place next day. This exercise was repeated 5 times throughout the ship, to the annoyance of all. The meals were terrible, Christmas eve main meal was 3 thin strips of beef put on a bed of lettuce with half a tomato cut in half either side. We paid to eat in Tex Mex. The buffet restaurant was chaos and is best avoided, pushing and shoving was normal. The cabin passage ways were blocked by cleaning trucks and the carpet looked worn and stained. Our cabin steward was excellent and most of the staff were great, the entertainment was varied and OK. New years eve was spoiled by too many people trying to get tables or drinks. "formal dress" was a joke and even "elegant" was optional,.some in short sleeves and some in dinner jackets. NEVER again Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We booked this cruise 11 months in advance and we were so excited to spend Christmas in the Caribbean, however from day 1 we were so disappointed. Embarkation We queued for hours in customs in Barbados where we embark the ship. Had ... Read More
We booked this cruise 11 months in advance and we were so excited to spend Christmas in the Caribbean, however from day 1 we were so disappointed. Embarkation We queued for hours in customs in Barbados where we embark the ship. Had to claim our luggage and take it to a truck to be transported to the ship which came as a surprise to us. In Dec-16 we sailed with P&O Britannia and once we checked in our suitcases at London Gatwick, next time we saw these was in our cabin. So overall very poor service from MSC. What I found very annoying was that every 2-3 days there was a safety drill for new passengers. The locals used the ship as "hop in hop off" boat between the islands. Complete disaster! Ship Overall the ship is ok. It need a good refurbishment though as it's quite rusty and squeaky. Cabin We had balcony cabin 10224 (aft) - good size cabin with a sofa but again it needs a refub. The carpet is quite old, some visible signs of tear and wear in the bathroom. The cabin stewart was really nice guy and the service was excellent. Dining The most awful experience we had on a cruise. Nobody has been sanitising their hands upon entering the restaurants. The buffet was always so crowded, full with running kids spilling food and drinks everywhere. The food choices were not that good Dirty mugs/glasses and raw food (pictures enclosed). We went only once to Il Cerchio d'Oro. I was not impressed by the food swerved - cold, small portions and not seasoned at all. So most of the time we ate in the buffet. Entertainment Went once to a show but left after 15 mins as we got bored. Service As I mentioned above, our cabin stewart was great. I cannot say the same for the buffet and restaurant service. The staff in the pool bars were really good but not fast. Sometimes it took ages to get drinks. Ports and shore excursions We didn't book any shore excursions as they were too pricey. 50 euros per person for a beach break isn't worth it - basically to be put in a shared mini bus and taken to the beach and back. Desembarkation Bad experience again! When we were transported to Barbados airport for our return flight to the UK, we found our suitcases "dumped" outside the terminal, left without any security what's so ever. Anyone could walk in and walk out with one of these suitcases. I was not happy at all. We will NEVER sail again with MSC! Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We have been on between 25 and 30 cruises but this was the first with MSC. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly and quickly and our luggage arrived quickly at the cabins. The ship's decor and public areas were ... Read More
We have been on between 25 and 30 cruises but this was the first with MSC. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly and quickly and our luggage arrived quickly at the cabins. The ship's decor and public areas were impressive and kept immaculate with seemingly never ending use of vacuums! The smaller pool area at the back was popular but the pool itself never seemed to be particularly busy. There were plenty of sun loungers or tables and chairs everywhere. We favoured this smaller area to the large and noisy pool. This was also a good bar and meeting area in the evenings. Most of the staff were very nice and helpful - however the ship's officers seemed to think they were not allowed to look at passengers, let alone speak to them - perhaps they should be reminded no passengers, no jobs. This was a Christmas and New Year back to back cruise which meant at times, when the same islands were visited, passengers were continually changing. No problem there - however this did necessitate yet another fire drill mid-evening for the new passengers with announcements in about six different languages and the noise of suitcases being collected from cabin corridors in the early hours. We were with our son and daughter in law and had arranged to be on second sitting but this was at 9 pm and desserts were being served after 11 pm with no coffee or tea offered as this was available in the buffet. We changed to early sitting which suited us better but in fact we started using the buffet more, except for 'suggested' formal nights, as there was more choice although the standard was still average but it was much quicker than the restaurant. The restaurant left a lot to be desired. Choices were limited and portions were small although some people ordered more than one dish for each course. Certainly not the gourmet standard offered on other cruise lines and Christmas Day was the same as any other. Nothing special food wise and no crackers or poppers and the only hats were worn by some of the waiters who kept them on until the New Year! Formal nights were a joke. There were many people who wanted to participate with these but also many who were in the restaurants in casual clothes. Such a shame, but the people who did dress up showed up those who hadn't bothered! The four of us visited the T-Rex Steak Speciality restaurant twice. We all agreed the meals were great and couldn't be faulted although the service was slow, but the staff was very friendly - and busy. It was certainly worth the extra cost. The Atrium was about the only place for Christmas decorations and looked very pretty with garlands and a ginger bread house but that was it! One real negative was the hygiene, particularly in the buffet . There were very few hand sanitizer machines anywhere and one I did find was empty. There was certainly no one checking they were full or offering a hand held alternative as on other ships. This meant all the buffet serving utensils, drink dispensers for hot and cold water, ice, juices, coffee and milk touched by so many passengers were an obvious magnet for germs. Towards the end of the two week cruise, some people were complaining of chest infections and had harsh dry coughs, initially thought to be from the air conditioning which couldn't be altered or turned off in the cabin, except by leaving the balcony door open at night!. Although I had been extremely careful, I contracted this cough - luckily right at the end of the holiday - and spent three weeks in bed from my first day home with a virus and pneumonia. We were disappointed with the theatre,( which on other ships we go to most nights) as the entertainment seemed to be the same cast alternating shows. The standard was good and the costumes amazing but it would have been nice to see visiting entertainers. Singers and pianists dotted around the ship were very good and most enjoyable. Gratuities were automatically added to bills but a word with the 'front desk' had these removed, with us deciding who and what to pay. We had chosen the itinerary carefully and one place we had not visited before was the Dominican Republic. We took a taxi with other people to a recommended tourist spot but friends who liked to hike miles each day were escorted back to the ship by two police motor cyclists who happened to see them. This was for their safety and it would have been an idea for Fantasia to warn passengers about the area. However it was certainly worth visiting. We rarely book excursions so cannot comment, but there are always plenty of taxis and minibuses at the ports offering a wide range of varied tours. If carefully chosen, we have always found these to be excellent and good value - certainly compared to the ships' excursions - and usually take a minibus with other passengers. We had a great cruise and did enjoy it although any criticism above may make it sound otherwise, but a review needs to be fair and that is what I trust this has been. I suppose we got what we paid for, but in future it is going to have to be back to Princess, Celebrity, Oceania and so on! Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
On arrival in Barbados we were rushed to the ship for embarkation no pictures etc as no sooner onboard we sailed. I has preordered 2 Bon voyage packages as we were travelling with another family member for a memorable birthday this went in ... Read More
On arrival in Barbados we were rushed to the ship for embarkation no pictures etc as no sooner onboard we sailed. I has preordered 2 Bon voyage packages as we were travelling with another family member for a memorable birthday this went in the caving on arrival. Requested said packages and we both should have had fresh fruit everyday we didn't get any until I complained then we both received the previous 5 days at once that we missed and I couldn't make anybody understand what was required. Sometimes the restaurant service could be very slow but I think this may have been due to understaffing as pour waiter was very good and always tried his best. The food was lovely and I found if you wanted ends you only had to ask. We had booked numerous excursion online at home before we left as this was the cheaper way of doing it but there always seemed to be a problem and both sets of families spent quite a lot of man hours trying to do it and when we finally had managed one trip on xmas day was sold out leaving us with nowhere to go on xmas day with a 12 year old! The night before we again tried to book our excursion and were told there had been a cancellation and we could go (but as we couldn't book at home we had to pay and extra 15%). On arrival home I complain to MSC about the above points and they were very apologetic and gave me a 10% discount voucher for a future cruise within 15 months! Great you might think but to cruise to the caribbean for 3 is quite expensive and was at xmas so we wouldn't have been able to afford another cruise within this time, nor were we able to take this cruise in peak periods (we only ever cruise in peak periods as we have a child in school!!!) this they can check as we have cruised with MSC before and was also peak. As for the Bon voyage package they apologised and said steps would be taken to rectify this in future (what good is that to me I ask)? I replied to MSC with my feelings on their apology and discount and was told it was all they could do so basically I could like or lump! Well I don't really like so as I have cruised before and will do in the future I will think very carefully about booking with MSC solely for their attitude about my complaints I was never even offered half the money back for 1 package! The actual cruise with the staff as usual couldn't have been better apart form the shows which I have found to be pretty rubbish (I have to put this down to European expectations not being as high as my own). Overall it was a fantastic cruise and we had a great xmas and new year onboard. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
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