For context - I went on this cruise with my fiance (we are young professionals, in mid-20's, from America). We are both very low maintenance and easy to please. My fiance has been on 12-15 cruises in his lifetime, and we have been ... Read More
For context - I went on this cruise with my fiance (we are young professionals, in mid-20's, from America). We are both very low maintenance and easy to please. My fiance has been on 12-15 cruises in his lifetime, and we have been on 5 cruises in the last 2 years with lines like Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian. This is our first MSC, and will most certainly be our last MSC cruise.
We selected this cruise based on the amazing itinerary and decent price for a good room (we indulged in a balcony room for the first time as it was a reasonable cost). The ports - Hamburg, Paris (Le Havre), London (South Hampton), Bruges (Zebrugges), and Amsterdam - did not disappoint. Each one was unique and enjoyable.
Unfortunately, this is where my positive feedback on the cruise ends. We had one VERY unfortunate event on the trip (which I'll explain in the next paragraph), but before I delve into that let me explain our general MSC experience. We joked with other cruisers sharing the same negative experience that MSC stood for "Minimum Service Cruise". The service at formal dinner dining, the breakfast/lunch buffet, and nearly all the bars was slow, rude, and sometimes plain non-existent. Numerous times on the trip we would walk up to a bar with only 1-2 other customers present; 6-8 staff would be near or behind the bar and would completely ignore us (no "What can I get you" or "how can I help you" - they would completely avoid eye contact). The food at the dinners was not great and the menu selection was unimpressive (also, you have to pay for water at dinner and they didn't serve coffee at dinner - wtf), food at the buffet was really not very good at all. Pretty disappointing, as we're used to having great food and variety with Royal, Carnival, etc. Also, along the lines of poor service again, our housekeeper was nowhere to be found at most times (we would leave the "clean our room" sign out for 24+ hours before our room was touched....much slower than we're used to).
All these complaints, however, seem trivial compared to what happened with our toothbrushes on the second to last day of our cruise, however. One morning, my fiance was going to brush his teeth and noticed his toothbrush was COVERED in black grime. Hmm, gross, but we both decided it was a weird accident or something and just threw it away and he opened up a spare toothbrush. The next day, after our room had been cleaned, I found MY toothbrush covered in black grime. Keep in mind, we were housing our toothbrushes in different areas of the bathroom and were using different toothpaste. The water from our bathroom tap seemed clean, so it seemed like a logical (but gross) conclusion that someone (our housekeeper) had fooled around with our toothbrushes, possibly even scrubbed the floor/toilet with it or something.
So, upon finding my toothbrush we take it to the guest services desk. Initially, the woman who helped us was shocked and called the asst manager of housekeeping to the desk. After 10 min or so the asst manager comes out and rather abruptly asks us our cabin number and to explain (again) what happened, so we do. He then tells us "go to your room" (no apology, or explanation of what he'll do to resolve this) so we do, expecting he'll come up and meet us there. We wait in our room 30+ minutes and then finally my fiance went to guest services to see if he was coming up. While he was out, another asst. manager (different) came to my room and asked me to explain (again), which I did. The guy confirmed that it was not the water that would have done that to the brushes, and that it was "strange". He said the housekeeper did not do anything (because "he said he didn't do anything"....well, of course he's not going to admit to it!), and that the housekeeper was standing in the hall listening to everything we said...awkward. I said "I don't want to accuse anyone, but it sure seems like the housekeeper did something as it's only been me and my fiance in the room besides him and we sure didn't do anything". I also asked what they would do to resolve this, and would anyone ever apologize for this? The manager said no apologies and said I should leave the room and go enjoy the day. Ok....
Later in the night my fiance went to guest services to see if anything had been resolved. The person at the desk said that he needed to fill out a customer service complaint form (where we had to write out the incident, which we'd already explained to 3-4 people), which they would then mail to the customer serv. dept, who would then POSSIBLY mail us replacement toothbrushes when we arrive back home in the US. STILL no apologies from her or anyone else we had spoken to, and this idea of a form and getting replacement toothbrushes (which they should have immediately offered to us upon our first contact) was just freaking ridiculous. At this point we lost our cool a bit and decided just to email customer service when we got home to explain the situation and hope that they would respond with an apology (that's all we wanted - not a refund, not a toothbrush, just an apology).
I emailed customer service at MSC 5 days ago and told them I would require an apology within 5 days of sending the email or I would post a brutal (but accurate and honest) review of their cruiseline on Cruise Critic and other travel sites. So, here I am. Vindictive - maybe. But I feel it is only right for others to know what you're really getting when you go MSC. The ports and price may be great, but expect the most atrocious service of your life. Read Less