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6 Perth (Fremantle) to Italy Cruise Reviews

Embarkation at Fremantle was slower than any we have previously experienced with the last of the luggage being delivered around midnight. The first week at sea was very unpleasant for us and for many other passengers, standing around in ... Read More
Embarkation at Fremantle was slower than any we have previously experienced with the last of the luggage being delivered around midnight. The first week at sea was very unpleasant for us and for many other passengers, standing around in queues listening to the multitude of complaints from angry people trying to sort out the multitude of problems with pre ordered merchandise issues. This was not the fault of MSC – the ship was being charted by Travel Superstore who proved to be most inefficient in many areas, leading to much confusion between the two parties. My husband and I have done 23 cruises between us previously in all classes of ships and have a good idea what to expect for the money paid, $20,000 for an aft balcony cabin (not a suite). A similar time in a Queen Mary II balcony cabin costs around half that. Consequently we were entitled to 5 star accommodation and definitely 5 star service, particularly with Travel Superstore’s continuous pre-cruise advertising that this cruise would be the “Trip of a Lifetime!” However for our 6 star prices the eventual outcome was a 3 star ship with a 2 star experience. General feeling of many of the passengers we spoke to during this cruise was that we Australians and New Zealanders were taken considerable advantage of by Travel Superstore, because of our Anzac sentiments on this 100th anniversary. We were dismayed when we first saw our cabin. The room and ensuite were far smaller than any other we have experienced at close to a similar price. The quality of the soft furnishings was a disgraceful standard. For example our sheets were so thin they needed replacing twice because they tore, our threadbare blanket was unusable and was stored under the bed, pillows were appalling – lumpy, matted balls of synthetic substances, the plastic(!) curtains had holes in them, the lounge upholstery was torn and sagged right down in the middle caused by broken slats and should have been replaced long ago. Day 3 in Albany saw us and many passengers purchasing their own pillows, and we even saw one person with a new duvet! We also had to resort to purchasing our own shampoo, conditioner and soap as that supplied was anything but quality. The restaurants and public places were the most crowded we have ever experienced. The overcrowding was explained to us by MSC and Gallipoli staff who told us that the ship had recently been refurbished to increase capacity by 500 passengers. The restaurant staff did their best under the circumstances but were hopelessly understaffed. On this subject, we have never experienced a worse staff to passenger ratio previously. The original ship offered had a standard passenger to staff ratio of 2 to 1 but our ship ended up being less than 3 to 1! This refit, to squeeze in more paying passengers probably also explains the lack of alternative restaurants other than the Asian one. Imagine an Italian ship without an Italian restaurant! (Although the pasta in other venues was below standard so maybe MSC were doing us a favour!) The quality and the presentation of the food was generally anything but 5 star! MSC was most inventive at giving different descriptions and names to salads all consisting almost exclusively of limp Iceberg lettuce. The vegetables, in short supply, were tasteless and overcooked, meat generally tough, with most main courses arriving luke warm. Icecream and sorbets however usually arrived half melted. The many countries from which the menus were supposed to pertain tasted nothing like what they purported to be. Drinks Packages: Drinks were generally dispensed in a miserly fashion, although this can be partly explained by the shortage of staff, particularly in the restaurants. Bar Staff had no such excuse to explain their poor and rude behaviour that we witnessed. The quality of wine provided in our package (Unlimited wine and beer with our meals) was disgraceful. Most passengers on other packages complained about the ship running out of supplies, often early in the cruise. The most reprehensible aspect of the cruise however was the attitude taken to the health of the passengers. There had been an epidemic of flu like symptoms from the departing passengers in Fremantle, which many of us caught in the first few days. Subsequently almost everyone else eventually caught it. The ‘pharmacy’ ran out of supplies within a week and these were never replaced despite many requests and opportunities! The doctors, charging EU$80 per visit for dispensing disprin! and not much else, were often criticised for lack of expertise and dispensing half courses of antibiotics, an extremely dangerous practice, with the advice to get the other half at the next port! And although hand cleansing devices were available around the ship their use was unpoliced. Sadly, once we all departed in Rome, the next unsuspecting embarking passengers no doubt also suffered similarly in all of our germ ridden cabins. Surely it should be a requirement to fumigate or otherwise disinfect ships thoroughly under these circumstances, as should have happened in Fremantle before we embarked. The ship was spotlessly clean which was great, and the cleaning, painting, varnishing and general maintenance was constantly ongoing, very much ‘in your face’ but often to the inconvenience of passengers with stairs blocked off, strong paint smells, balconies constantly cleaned resulting in our cabin being used as the cleaners’ thoroughfare as our balcony door couldn’t lock. The Balinese staff in the dining rooms and cabins were very friendly and efficient. The Italian staff were often rude and surly and never friendly. The entertainment was generally very good, and almost the only thing we can be complimentary about. The entertainers brought from Australia were excellent and the ship board ones were usually more than adequate. The Gallipoli Peninsula and Anzac Day ‘pilgrimage’ aspect was handled very well although we were too ill at the time to appreciate it properly. Cozzi, Travel Superstore's ‘front man’ upset many people with erroneous, poorly timed and often poor taste announcements. Disembarkation: We arrived before the listed time in the listed location, only to find out that our group had already left. After rushing to the gangway, we were refused exit as our account hadn’t been paid, despite us giving you our credit card details. Of course this was another stuff up which nearly caused us to miss our hotel transfer. This may have been noted on our account’s hard copy however no time did we receive one but as we had seen it on the TV we had not been too concerned. The following are some of our observations of services that were either missing completely or were unsatisfactory to a level that we have never experienced previously in our 23 cruises. • Internet. We appreciate that ship internet services are restricted by their dependence on satellites, but this was the worst we have experienced in 10 years, despite being the most expensive. • Room TV service. The first time we have experienced a service lacking in news services such as BBC, CNN, Bloomberg etc. which were only included from the 3rd week of the cruise on. Also the first time we have been asked to pay for movies. Apart from a repeat of the previous day’s history lecture and one very dated movie each day, there was no free entertainment or other documentary channels, only MSC self-promoting recorded channels ad nauseum. • Port Information. The first cruise we have experienced that did not provide comprehensive information both via lectures and newsletter prior to each destination that we visited. This ship had no information available for any of the ports, other than the paid excursions. • Room service. The first cruise we have experienced that did not provide unlimited choices from all menus as part of complimentary room service. All was at an extra charge. • Laundry. The first cruise we have experienced that did not have a guest Laundry on board. • Reception. The first cruise we have experienced where the reception refused to change large currency notes– US & EU. Reception staff were generally unhelpful and often surly. • No deck chairs on the promenade deck, only around the pool, which were all occupied very early in the day, most inadequate for a ship with 3000 passengers. I strongly recommend that everyone steer very clear of both this ship and its chartering company, Travel Superstore. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Good: - The ship itself was lovely. - the staff were very helpful. - cleanliness was great. Poor: - ship has flu on it and they don't do much to contain this or get rid of before next cruise starts. 98% of ... Read More
Good: - The ship itself was lovely. - the staff were very helpful. - cleanliness was great. Poor: - ship has flu on it and they don't do much to contain this or get rid of before next cruise starts. 98% of passengers got sick. - the food was very poor...in buffet, everything was overcooked, bland...even pasta. - in restaurant food sometimes undercooked but mostly overcooked...steak very poor quality. Maitre D listened but chefs did nothing about the food. - food monotonous as well. - Soups were over salted. - internet was appalling...designed to make u use as much time as possible. System not big enough for a ship full...2500 passengers...too expensive since it took so long to get into sights and send anything. - Staff infexible...coffee package means ONLY coffee...no tea or hot choc even though we were told we could have other hot drinks. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Firstly the positives - the restaurant, bar and entertainment staff were fantastic, always smiling and wanting to help. We were a family of 4 with 2 teenage chlldren. We booked 2 years before cruising when the children were smaller (due ... Read More
Firstly the positives - the restaurant, bar and entertainment staff were fantastic, always smiling and wanting to help. We were a family of 4 with 2 teenage chlldren. We booked 2 years before cruising when the children were smaller (due to special nature of the Gallipoli Cruise that we went on). In that 2 years my 2 boys grew into adult sized pubescent smelly 'little adults'. Despite several emails to the organiser of the cruise mentioning the cabin suitability for what is essentially 4 adults - I was reassured that all would be fine. So in the end we paid A LOT of money to have 4 adult sized people crammed into a tiny cabin (with no doors or windows or ventilation) that stank of smelly teenage boys after the second day, so the next 34 days were very uncomfortable. I went to speak to the organisers after 2 days to request to upgrade to a cabin that would actually accommodate us in more humane conditions - to be told they were very busy and would get back to me within 24hours. Despite offering to pay the difference in price to a larger cabin, I never heard from them again. We had 2 other lots of friends who complained on the ship about their cabins (noise from decks above and and odour) and they were upgraded (at no cost), but they didn't even bother to answer our plea for a more humane trip. Needless to say only 10 days into a 36 day trip I got sick with flu like symptoms, fever and cough, and then for the rest of our cabin - all 4 of us were infected and at varying stages of illness and recovery for the rest of the cruise. The medical facilities were seriously inadequate with English language issues (medical staff were Croatian???), the "pharmacy" ran out of Paracetamol in the first week and never restocked??? The medical centre charged a fee of $90 just to see the Doctor to get paracetamol (without even an examination). I am a nurse and my husband is a doctor and we were stunned at the lack of English and poor medical treatment. Combine this with the total lack of supervision of passengers at crucial places like the buffet - where we witnessed sniffling children with their hands in parmesan cheese, adults putting their hands all over the spouts of water dispensers etc etc. with no supervision or guidance by staff. It is NO WONDER over half the ship was sick by halfway through the cruise. So disappointed with the performance of this company and this cruise. The kids activities for children aged 12-14 were much younger than was appropriate for their age, and mine were (understandably) not interested in attending after a couple of sessions. Nothing like previous cruise experiences we have had. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
We joined the MSC Orchestra cruise, a 35 day voyage from Fremantle to Rome via Gallipoli for the 100th Gallipoli anniversary. A number of things with the ship and service were good but all up leaves plenty of room for improvement. Three ... Read More
We joined the MSC Orchestra cruise, a 35 day voyage from Fremantle to Rome via Gallipoli for the 100th Gallipoli anniversary. A number of things with the ship and service were good but all up leaves plenty of room for improvement. Three key issues, 1 massive flu on board, which was on board from the prior cruise, 2 very very crowded public spaces, 3 extremely poor bar service Even though the ship was aware of the flu on the cruise from Dubai to Perth, they carried very limited (none after several days) of basic medicines in the pharmacy, ie no cold and flu tablets, no strepsils, no cough mixture, they knew of the problem and did not stock up. Yes you could see the doc on board at Euro 90 a time, but there was always along line. The public areas were crowded, could not get a seat near the pool, unless you were on deck prior to 7 am on warm days, the chairs in the dining room from adjacent tables kept hitting each others, waiters bumped into chairs as they passed as the area was over crowded. The bars were far too crowded, associated with the appalling bar service, it made getting a drink an unpleasant experience. The bar service was appalling, especially was we had paid $150 a day for the two of us to have the premium drinks package. Very early on I learnt not to go to certain bars as you could not get service, ie the pool bar or the Savannah Bar, we were regulars at the wine bar, that was the best of the bad service. On the 4th day, I spoke with the guest relations manager about the shocking service ie 22 and 25 minutes to get two consecutive rounds of drinks. The following few days the service was far better, as they had an officer in the bar as well. The bar service often was embarrassing, it would make you cringe with the incompetence. You would order a drink, which was an endless task, then they would put the drink slip down and the barman would pick up the slips in any order to serve, so a person who ordered 5 or 8 minutes after you may get their drinks first. It was a disaster. The ship ran out of a large number of drinks for a majority of the trip, ie quite a few wines (ie no Sauvignon blank), no baileys, no drambuie, no Tanqueray, no Jack Daniels, even no beer (particular brands) at some times, which made farce of buying a $150/day drink package when you could not get drinks. Generally the bar service in the casino was good. The table service in the dining rooms was very good and quite good in the buffet. The cabin room service was excellent. The ships entertainment was very good, each concert/show was well worth seeing. But they did not allow drinks in the theatre, which I guess is a way of controlling drinks consumption when folks are on a pre-paid ($150/day) drinks package. The part of the cruise that was organised by Gallipoli Cruises was excellent, great organisation, great entertainment, great speakers a real 10/10. We have been on 9 cruises in the past 4 years, including Princess Cruises, Holland America, Star Lines, Uniworld, so I believe that I have a good basis to judge from. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
OK, 35 nights cruising for one's first cruise could be problematic! NOT loved the cruising, despised the European cruise staff. Best bits: Our dinner table companions (overwhelmingly the best thing about the cruise) ... Read More
OK, 35 nights cruising for one's first cruise could be problematic! NOT loved the cruising, despised the European cruise staff. Best bits: Our dinner table companions (overwhelmingly the best thing about the cruise) Visiting Gallipoli Nice cabin (balcony on deck 12) - clean, adequate storage, comfy bed, good maid. Tour out of Naples to Sorrento & Amalfi Coast Dinner waiters Days at sea (lots) - peaceful etc. History lecture series - unparalleled I'm told by many (I didn't attend) OK bits: Entertainment. Good variety of Australian artists. Impressive cruise staff performances. Theatre was usually full. Coffee (paid for) once you sorted out how you liked your coffee (inevitable differences between countries). Visiting the various countries/sights. Although, be warned - one day stops make it a brief & stressful race to get off, get somewhere & get back on the ship. NOT leisurely, you don't get to see much or experience the ambience. The rest of it: Food was appalling - not even one-star. All tasted pretty much the same & was out of bain-maries - warm & re-heated tasting. Apart from ordering poached eggs etc or smoked salmon in the dining room at breakfast. Of course you could live off the adequate muesli & fruit selection. But that was not the way the ship was advertised. However I did lose weight (7kg) - not a bad thing but unexpected. Italian staff would smile but were inanimate, disinterested & only helpful if really really pushed (politely). Drinks packages were a joke. They saw us coming - premium allegrissimo alcoholic & non-alcoholic. No way we could come close to getting value for money ($4500). Other reviewers have said it all. Running out of drinks, no service etc etc. We even had the bar staff refuse to serve us an icecream in a cone (at the icecream bar with cones in sight). The wretched respiratory bug - nightmare. Duty of care non-existent. One wonders, was the ship working to a budget? The food was so so bad. Where did all our money go? About $50,000. Yes. Plus the pre-paid gratuities. We worked out every staff member could have received approx. 600 Euro - bet they didn't. I don't regret the cruise - Gallipoli etc - but feel a bit foolish & cheated - captive for 5 weeks with crap food on a beautiful looking, clean & glamorous floating hotel. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Background We were certainly looking forward to a wonderful adventure. We have previously cruised in Pacific and Inside passage with other cruise lines. Our first time with MSC. Cabin We went for top level 15. Cabin was OK but ... Read More
Background We were certainly looking forward to a wonderful adventure. We have previously cruised in Pacific and Inside passage with other cruise lines. Our first time with MSC. Cabin We went for top level 15. Cabin was OK but smaller than premium cabins on other lines that provide a suite. This cabin was one room with couch and separate toilet. Overall ok. Dining on Board A bit disappointing all round with bland food. Service in restaurants was very good. Casino A highlight. Great staff, great ambience, good selection of games. Gym and Spa A highlight. Great instructors and daily pilates prior to catching the flu was excellent. Staff very friendly. Excursions Logistics were amazing and smooth. Lot of waiting but that's what happens when there are 2500 others to join you. Egypt was particularly well handled given the state the country tourism is in. Sri Lanka golf excursion was overpriced and poorly handled. Entertainment The aussie entertainment were great and a real treat. The European entertainment was ho hum. Illness I caught a flu like respiratory virus causing a rasping cough in the first few days of this cruise. The medical treatment on board medical centre was ineffectual and expensive. After I returned I spent nearly three weeks in bed, and after two more lots of double antibiotics I had tests indicating I had an antibiotic resistant infection known as pseudo mons aeruginosa. Many others had a similar rasping cough and were ill. In reading reviews of passengers on the prior leg from Dubai many of the passengers were ill, so it seems the infection was on the boat prior to our embarkation. I reported my concern to MSC who simply maintain there was no outbreak and they maintain the highest standards. Very frustrating as many other critiques also estimate 80% to 90% of passengers caught the cough. Disembarkation Bit of a long wait but understand there was a medical emergency. Overall was handled OK. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015

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