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8 MSC Cruises Spain Cruise Reviews

Just returned from our first cruise on this ship (18th August) . Unfortunately the weather was not great and so the ship was unable to port in Guernsey which we were really looking forward to. The additional sea days were not really ... Read More
Just returned from our first cruise on this ship (18th August) . Unfortunately the weather was not great and so the ship was unable to port in Guernsey which we were really looking forward to. The additional sea days were not really catered for by the ship. Most of the activities for adults were puerile and an insult to my intelligence and I found most of the shows I attended poor in quality. My 2 teens were so bored that it lead to tensions in our group-there is only so much wii and Xbox they could take and plus they could do this at home. The service charge policy is not explicit and the organisation needs to look at how they convey this information about this is openly conveyed to passengers We did meet some lovely people both passengers and staff. I could see that staff work really hard and it was interesting hearing their stories of their homelands. I was however, also concerned about the officious ness of some staff particularly in reception. Fundamental complaints were not really dealt with and , I experienced, the attitude about any issues raised seemed to be a shrug of the shoulders.i observed examples of managerial staff shouting at junior staff in front of guests and witnessed 2 incidents of staff mimicking passengers. Did try to draw attention to this to front desk staff and was told to write it on my questionnaire rather than being offered the opportunity to raise this with a manager. Interestingly the questionnaire only offers 3 lines for feedback I did request additional paper but when I asked for a paper clip or staple was told to just fold it together and put it in the box.I did express my concern about this as I could already see the box was already very stuffed, but she did not relent Overall MSC is not really for us although I understand that it suits others (possibly those with very small children) We did get some lovely reassuring advice from other more experienced cruisers who were emphatic that we shouldn't judge cruising by this experience and reassured us that there were better cruising options with other operators that would better suit our family's needs In a nutshell MSC never again.... Cruising would love to do it again Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
On reading previous reviews I have come to the conclusion that this ship can be classed as the Marmite of the Cruising World; it's either loved or hated. I have just returned from a 10 day cruise to Holland, Spain, Portugal and ... Read More
On reading previous reviews I have come to the conclusion that this ship can be classed as the Marmite of the Cruising World; it's either loved or hated. I have just returned from a 10 day cruise to Holland, Spain, Portugal and France. This is my second cruise on the Opera and my seventeenth cruise overall. Previous cruise experiences include P&O, Cunard, Princess and Holland America, as well as several other MSC ships. I therefore consider myself experienced enough to write a fair review and make reasonable comparisons. Embarkation: This has to be one of our best embarkation experiences to date. We used the free car parking facility at Southampton. On arrival at the car park our luggage was taken from us and we did not see it again till we were on board. The passengers were transferred by mini bus from the car park to the terminal. There were no queues, so once the formality of checking in was completed we were on board within minutes. Disembarkation worked equally as efficiently. Accommodation: We booked a balcony cabin on deck 9. I have to say that this was the smallest balcony cabin I have ever seen. The actual cabin area was no larger than an ordinary inside cabin! The balcony was also small. However, the cabin had all that we required, enough storage space, plenty of hangers and was perfectly adequate for our needs. The cabin was kept clean and tidy by our room steward, who provided us with a good service and clean towels twice a day. Dining Experience: There are two main restaurants, a buffet, pizza bar and grill. We chose to eat all our meals in the MDR as the buffet was too much of a bun fight for my liking. Service at breakfast and lunch varied as you were not sitting at your normal table. Service for dinner was extremely good and the waiters were friendly and helpful. The food was in my opinion excellent, with reasonable choice and quality. I have read so many poor reviews of the food and do not understand how with a menu that offers a seven course meal plus an ‘always available’ menu offering simpler fayre, people felt the need to go to the buffet afterwards, as they were still hungry!! There is no tea or coffee service offered after lunch and dinner; if you require a hot drink you have to either go to the buffet area, where you can obtain a tea or coffee without charge, or you can pay and have a good cup of coffee from the Aroma Coffee bar. Drinks Packages: There are various packages that you can purchase either before the cruise, or once you board the ship. It is worth pointing out that if you pre-purchase online you will not have to pay the 15% service charge. As we are not big drinkers we chose to stick with the basic package that was included by our travel agent. This package enabled us to have unlimited wine, beer and soft drinks with our meals. This was perfectly adequate for our needs, but the quality of the wine was a disappointment. Entertainment: There was plenty going on for those who wanted it: dance lessons, aerobics, arts and crafts and games and quizzes. Most of this was not my cup of tea, but was available. I cannot comment first hand on the kids and teens activities as we were not travelling with children. However by talking to two young people who dined with us, it appears that there was not much for teenagers. There were some excellent shows in the theatre featuring singers, dancers and acrobats. Many of the shows received standing ovations (something I have never experienced before on a cruise ship). The Cruise Director, Massimo, had the most amazing command of at least 6 languages - yes all announcements are in six languages, but you get used to it. There was music and dancing in various bars and lounges each evening and there were a few thieme nights, but we were not advised of these prior to the cruise, so did not take the relevant items of clothing to enable us to participate. Something which appeared to be new for MSC was a guest speaker (for the British passengers). The speaker, Ms Lina Mookerjee, was a charming and interesting lady, who provided a series of talks on a diverse range of subjects. Sadly, these talks were very poorly attended. On other cruise lines I have often had difficulty in finding a seat to listen to a guest speaker. Itinerary and Excursions: Amsterdam, Guernsey, Vigo, Lisbon, Bilbao & Le Havre. Guernsey, a tender port, was cancelled due to bad weather - this was unfortunate, as for many people this was the most highly anticipated call. But safety of passengers must come first. We pre-booked the ship’s excursions in Amsterdam, Vigo and Le Havre - they were each on a dual nationality coach. This was far from ideal, as a commentary in two languages made it very difficult to follow. However, the guides worked hard to try to keep everyone happy. We used the MSC shuttle bus in Bilbao. It was a public holiday, so many of the shops were shut. Our plan was to go to the Guggenheim which we ensured first was open. Bilbao is a pleasant city to walk around, especially the old city and the riverside, and there were plenty of bars and cafés open. In Lisbon we took a private tour by taxi from the port; negotiating a price first and we had a wonderful day visiting most of the major highlights of the city, as well as going to Sintra and Cascais. Service Charge: A few previous reviewers have expressed surprise at MSC’s policy of adding gratuities to the bill. I would just like to clarify here that this is nothing new - all the cruise ships that I have been on do this, and on some cruise lines the charge is twice the amount that MSC charge. However, it is also no secret that you can adjust or remove this charge at your discretion. Cruising is one of the best value types of holiday available and MSC are are among the most competitive lines. So personally, I think that the addition of 6 Euros (£4.80 / US$8.00) per person per day is not unreasonable to be shared among hundreds of crew that work so hard to give each one of us a fantastic experience. Conclusion: I really enjoyed this cruise. The ports of call were interesting and varied. I enjoyed meeting some lovely people and I think that the ship is still as nice as it was 10 years ago when I first set sail in her. I loved the food and the shows - all things considered I think that MSC represents excellent value for money and I would happily consider them again, but probably not in high season. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
We have just returned from the above cruise and was so glad that i didn't cancel my cruise based on the reviews I had read on various sites. We have had over 10 cruises with Celebrity, Royal Carribean and NCL, we had chosen the MSC ... Read More
We have just returned from the above cruise and was so glad that i didn't cancel my cruise based on the reviews I had read on various sites. We have had over 10 cruises with Celebrity, Royal Carribean and NCL, we had chosen the MSC cruise as we were going with 25 family members for a special anniversary and needed a cruise which didn't involve long flights and that was reasonably priced for everyone. After I had booked the cruise I started to read some reviews and was extremely worried prior to leaving. All I can say is I was pleasantly surprised! I found all the staff to be helpful and pleasant, the ship was lovely and very clean, the itineary was great with interesting stops. Yes NCL and RCL had more things to do onboard that would appeal to kids such as ice skating and wave rider etc but my kids were never bored (there were 7 kids in our group aged 2-13). For the very reasonable price we paid we were delighted, we had a family cabin which was superb! The food in the dinning room was lovely and I never once had a cold meal that some reviews suggest. Yes it can be a bit annoying that everything is repeated in a few languages but when you choose a European cruise company you have to expect this! We found the shows great fun and the animation team went out of their way to ensure everyone had fun. On our last morning we had breakfast in the dinning room and were seated at a table with two other English couples and I can honestly say they complained constantly about the cruise - most of the complaints they had were unbelievable such immigration queues (hardly the fault of MSC) and one lady complained bitterly that she went ashore and when she came back she couldn't use her balcony straight away as the staff had washed it and it was still wet???? I would imagine she would be complaining if it hadn't been cleaned also! While onboard we had a "renewal of wedding vows" as a surprise for my parents who were celebrating their 50th anniversary, the wedding co-ordinator Sean was amazing and the attention to detail was fabulous. I would throughly recommend this. The staff made such a effort to ensure we had a fabulous day and my parents were delighted. We had a great cruise, and well worth the money we paid so don't pay too much attention to the poor reviews and give them a try! I will definitely be cruising again with MSC in the near future. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Like other reviewers we did consider cancelling after reading reviews. So glad we didn't, had a wonderful time. Had no problems with staff,entertainment or food. Many children on board but no problem all seemed to be having a great ... Read More
Like other reviewers we did consider cancelling after reading reviews. So glad we didn't, had a wonderful time. Had no problems with staff,entertainment or food. Many children on board but no problem all seemed to be having a great time, noisy but then children are. Enjoyed the shows the singers were really good and other acts eg acrobats etc although not to our taste were very good as well. Special mention to pianist and violinist in La Cabana and also our drinking companions from Bolton thank you for the laughs we had. Met a huge number of very nice people but only one couple who moaned about really trivial things. Thanks to Mel and Miranda our dining companions. Only problem was the trip to Rouen, not enough leisure time as the tour guide had to repeat in two languages plus the fact we were late setting off and then had to wait nearly an hour to return for the same people. Balcony cabin 9205 really comfortable, one tip if going for more than 7 days take a few extra coat hangers if like me you will need them. Able to store large case, holdall and small case comfortably under bed. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
I wanted to relate to you our experience on the MCS Opera. From the time we checked in we started experiencing problems. The young man at the check in counter could not run our credit card, he said he would have to enter it manually, this ... Read More
I wanted to relate to you our experience on the MCS Opera. From the time we checked in we started experiencing problems. The young man at the check in counter could not run our credit card, he said he would have to enter it manually, this would prove to be a problem later in the cruise. In addition, my picture for the room and charge card did not come out clearly. When I boarded the ship I was taken aside and asked to see my passport. I was then told I had to go to the reception desk and get a new picture. So that was the start of our cruise experience. Our problems continued with the food. This being our 9th cruise we are very familiar with the quality and quantity of cruise ship food. The food on this ship was mediocre at best and of poor quality most of the time. Portions in the main dining room were small. On numerous occasions we had to go to the buffet after our meal to feel we had a complete dinner. One of my main courses consisted of veal cutlets about the size of a silver dollar. There were a total of three on my plate and about 2 ounces of potatoes to go with it. Three of our meals were inedible due to the meat being over cooked and dried out. Most of the fish dishes were of poor quality. I could go to any Denny’s or Applebee’s restaurant and get far superior meals than anything served on this ship. The chicken cordon bleu was breaded and deep fried and tasted like a McDonald’s Happy Meal. In addition coffee or tea were not available with dinner in the main dining room. I will not even go into the buffet food as I would just because it was even worse than the dining room. My troubles continued with a member of the reception desk staff. Prior to leaving for the cruise we had contacted MSC regarding transportation to Amsterdam from the port, which is about 45 minutes away. We had been told that the bus ride was complimentary. Once on board we found this not to be the case. We had to buy a bus excursion into Amsterdam for 32 euros each. The next day, I received a note in my room to come to the reception desk to talk about these charges. As mentioned, before the problem with my credit card at check in was raising its ugly head. Upon my arrival at the reception desk and showing the young lady the note, her first words to me were,”You can’t make any more charges to your room”. When I asked why she said, “You didn’t run a credit card when you came on board”. When I related to her what had happened when we checked in she then told me, “That’s not how we do it, the people on shore don’t know what they are doing and you didn’t run your credit card”. After several more exchanges like this, and her telling me not to be rude, I asked to see her supervisor. Other than an apology from the supervisor nothing else was said or done about the incident. I have attached a picture of the shower floor in our state room. Most of the edge of the shower is coated with mold. This was indicative of the cleanliness of the rest of the ship. Windows and mirrors smudged and dirty, tables in the buffet wiped with only a wet cloth that just spread the mess around instead of removing it. On one occasion I observed a bus boy drop his cleaning cloth on the floor, step on it, pick it up and continue to “clean” tables with it. I did not even contemplate going in the pools or Jacuzzis. At one time I saw an infant of about 12 months in one of the Jacuzzis, with a diaper on, and none of the staff asked it to be removed. I have many more examples of problems with this ship including tendering issues, lack of amenities, and certain crew attitudes that would take too long to relate to you here. Overall, we were very disappointed with this ship and would never take another MSC cruise. We did not have any issues with the multiple languages on board and this was one of the bright spots of the ship as was the nightly entertainment. This ship was advertised as a 4 star ship and I would not even rate it a 2. This was not just our opinion but that of many other passengers we talked to while on board. One experienced traveler we met called this a Dollar Store cruise, which fits it very well. I would not recommend this cruise line to anyone in the future.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
We have just returned from our 1st ever cruise onboard the MSC Opera. Travelling with 3 children aged 12, 10, & 7. Although the food, staff and accommodation were very good, I found the entertainment for adults to be very boring. and ... Read More
We have just returned from our 1st ever cruise onboard the MSC Opera. Travelling with 3 children aged 12, 10, & 7. Although the food, staff and accommodation were very good, I found the entertainment for adults to be very boring. and the activities for children extremely poor. For this reason I do not think I would go with MSC again. There was literally nothing for the kids to do and they spent most of the holiday playing on their PSP's, iPads and Nintendo's. There was pool games and activities throughout the day at he poolside and in certain bars but they were all adult games and children were turned away and directed towards the kids club. the kids club was a great place if your children were aged 4 and under but for the older children, they felt as if the they were at nursery. there was also xbox's and wii's on board but under 12's were not allowed on these either making it a very long 10 days for the children on board between the ages of 4 and 12 years. The evening entertainment was also pretty pathetic. so there was not much to look forward to in the evenings. I also felt that we had very little time in each of the ports. I do not know if this is the same for all cruise ships but the majority of ports we had to be back on onboard by 1:30 or 2:30 meaning our day at the ports was very rushed. The port of Guernsey could only be described as an utter shambles. Guest had to be transported off the boat by the lifeboats and were given a ticket (letter of the alphabet) and could only go at their allotted ticket. All guests had to be back on board for 4pm yet we were still waiting in the lounges to get off at 3:15. I was desperate for British food for my youngest son or else I wouldn't have bothered but it was an extremely poor service for the people who wanted to see Guernsey. MSC used their own lifeboats for this process and I think they should have used at least triple the amount to ensure all passengers got off and not just people who paid premiums for excursions. Lastly the port of Le Havre must be the most depressing place on the face of the earth. This port we stopped at for 12 hours and there was nothing to do here. The little shops that they had were all closed and most of the bars did not open until 6pm. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Just took my 7th cruise and decided to try MSC (we have previously cruise Celebrity, RCI, NCL). After reading some reviews I was dreading the cruise and we actually considered cancelling at one stage! However, I was pleasantly surprised ... Read More
Just took my 7th cruise and decided to try MSC (we have previously cruise Celebrity, RCI, NCL). After reading some reviews I was dreading the cruise and we actually considered cancelling at one stage! However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was one of the best cruises we have had and fantastic value for money. The staff were all very pleasant, our cabin steward was superb and very attentive. We found the shows great and of a high standard. The entertainment staff went out of their way to ensure that everyone had a great time. Most of the people we met on the cruise were all having a great time, there was a few people we met (older people who always cruised with Fred Olsen Cruise Line) and they were not happy - one of the comments was the price they had paid - £1300 for two people for their 10night cruise! As a frequent traveller I would struggle to find a holiday for that price with the standard of food, entertainment and cleanliness for £65 per night! If you are thinking of cruising with MSC please focus on the positive comments because I found the negative comments totally unjustified - one of the reasons I have decided to review for the first time ever! This was definitely one of the best cruises we had and superb value for money - I have now booked again for next year on the Fantasia and can't wait! Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
We were a family of 9 cruising with MSC for the first time , we have previously cruised on p&o and my parents with the royal Caribbean, we like many were a little put off by the few bad reviews we had read and did wonder what the ... Read More
We were a family of 9 cruising with MSC for the first time , we have previously cruised on p&o and my parents with the royal Caribbean, we like many were a little put off by the few bad reviews we had read and did wonder what the holiday would be like.. well all i can say is there are moaners out there, that even if all was absolutely 100% perfect they would have to find something to moan about! we had a fantastic cruise the staff were so friendly(more so than p&o) the food was lovely & plenty of it , a good range of choices to suit everyone.The Algrissimo drinks package is a must as the average drink is 5/6 euro each after 3 days we added up the receipts we had and we would have already spent 450 euro! we were on a 10nt cruise. included is a great choice of alcoholic drinks, most of the cocktails which were delicious, cappuccinos, latte, ice creams etc. We had chosen the last sitting for our evening meal at 9pm, our table waiters were Simon and Hassan who were excellent at their job, so friendly and always willing to please . The cabin 8053 was clean and welcoming and plenty of storage areas one tip if on a 10nt cruise is to take a few more clothes hangers with you.The cleaning staff kept the rooms and corridors constantly clean , we had clean towels twice a day i never saw any litter or crumbs or any dust on any floor in the whole 10 nts and with the volume of people up and down and food open 24 hrs i feel that was excellent. The evening entertainment was superb from singers to acrobats very talented and kept you watching. There is an automatic service fee added to your bill at the end of the cruise but if you speak to the receptionist at the start this will be cancelled and if you choose you can tip the staff yourself for the amount you choose.My children are age 8,15 and 19 my youngest chose not to use the kids club although i had heard people saying how good it was, he was happy to play in the pool and the jacuzzi with the friends he had made, my two eldest enjoyed the pool and evening disco on top deck. The pool is not heated so unfortunately very cold, once in though your body gets used to it and the children don't seem to feel it! When arriving at all the ports we found it easy to get off and on with no hiccups. our last port was Le havre France and i strongly recommend either excursion or arrange to travel else where as they is nothing to see at the port ,we had planned to get the bus to honfleur as on a previous review they had said it is very nice and a 20 minute bus ride unfortunately they failed to mention the bus time table once we arrived at the bus station and payed for our ticket we had a 2 hour wait for the next bus a lady had already stood at the bus stop waiting an hour and the return bus wasn't until 19.37 we had to be back on board the ship by 19.30! luckily we explained and had a full refund. then spent a few hours walking around before deciding to get back on the ship. Throughout the cruise yes the photographers take many photo's and no they are not cheap but very nice and of good quality, it is your choice whether to purchase or not. MSC opera is apparently 10 years old but is constantly maintained, throughout our stay staff members were painting, glossing and cleaning and when in port cleaning and painting the outside of the ship . Overall MSC opera is a lovely ship with very friendly helpful staff we would most definitely cruise with them again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
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