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Sail Date: March 2014
My friend and I flew from New Zealand to board the MSC Orchestra on its repositioning cruise from Rio to Genoa. We had a wonderful experience and are keen to repeat. The cruise was amazing value for money and we think we got a five star ... Read More
My friend and I flew from New Zealand to board the MSC Orchestra on its repositioning cruise from Rio to Genoa. We had a wonderful experience and are keen to repeat. The cruise was amazing value for money and we think we got a five star experience for a two star price. Thanks MSC. Our balcony twin cabin, of a good size, was more than adequate for our needs and was kept clean and tidy at all times. We prepaid a drinks package and gratuities before we left New Zealand and felt that the drinks package was amazing value for money and service of bar and dining room staff was exceptional. We struggled to prepay all our excursions because we found the website difficult to navigate- improvements are needed in our opinion. We chose to use the buffet rarely, though when we did felt the variety and range was exceptional. Instead we took full advantage of the five star dining experience and exceptional menu. We thoroughly enjoyed experiencing menus that were extensive and of high quality. The waiters assigned to our table were outstanding with the right mix of friendliness and formality. We adored them. The Atlantic crossing was remarkably smooth and we were fortunate to have 17 days of brilliant weather. Being first time cruisers we lacked the confidence to arrange our own shore excursions with the exception of Tenerife. There were very few English speakers on the cruise and it meant we were required to have multi lingual guides who were having to provide a commentary in at least two languages. At most ports the guides were exceptional and managed this well. On board prior to leaving for excursions there needs to be improvements to stream line the organisation of the groups and I was concerned to observe the poor accessibility of the tour buses which without exception had very high steps which was challenging to people with mobility impairments. MSC should consider only utilising accessible transport for tours. Traffic on the tours in Brazil was particularly challenging and meant a level of frustration at time spent sitting in traffic on the bus.( How will they cope with the forthcoming World Cup?). We were disappointed that the entertainment on this cruise at the pool area was targetted for the enjoyment of the large Brazilian clientele, due to the volume of the music and entertainment it made the pool area uninviting to us in the mornings. We used some Beauty and Spa services and found them to be excellent and good value for money. We had a slight glitch when we disembarked as I had a small credit balance, which I had no desire to queue to collect and this caused a minor delay that fortunately was very quickly resolved. It was great to be able to order the daily newspaper from home and we found staff at reception, accounts and excursions desks at all times to be competent, polite and helpful. We chose to attend only two entertainment nights , which were exceptional, and fellow passengers reported them as all being of a very high standard. Overall this was a wonderful, memorable experience. MSC should be proud of its very hardworking talented staff. We were aware that some English speaking passengeers did not enjoy this cruise to the same extent we did, however we felt they were making unfair comparisions with cruise lines that target the American and Australian markets. We think that if you are prepared to immerse yourselves in a European experience and accept that you will need to adjust to a European way of doing things then you will have a wonderful time on MSC Orchestra.   Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
My wife and I have just finished the cruise from Rio to Genoa. Have cruised with MSC before so knew what to expect. If you expect English or Australian standards you will be disappointed as the passengers come from a wide mix of countries ... Read More
My wife and I have just finished the cruise from Rio to Genoa. Have cruised with MSC before so knew what to expect. If you expect English or Australian standards you will be disappointed as the passengers come from a wide mix of countries all with different cultures and standards. Be aware that in the dining rooms you have to pay for water and tea or coffee, even though they are free in the buffet area. The female staff directing passengers at the embarkation point in Rio were rude, arrogant and ignorant and definitely not a nice introduction to a cruise. They definitely need to attend a course in good manners and to learn the meaning of customer service. Whoever is in charge of them needs to be either retrained or sacked. Once on board the service greatly improved. Note that whilst a lot of staff speak English they actually do not understand English so you need to have patience and good humour. I ended up with some strange meals in the dining room but it was fun. Their is a lack of activities for English speaking people but this is understandable as you are a minority. Still some activity specific to nationality would have been nice. The activities crew spent nearly all of their time either in dancing lessons or activities around the pool. Eating in the dining room at breakfast or lunch is an adventure in itself. You ask to be seated at a table with other English speaking people and you end up sitting with diverse nationalities with no common language. It would be so easy to section of parts of the dining room to various languages and seat people according to language preference. However you do become good at charades whilst trying to be polite to the other diners. Eating in the buffet is an exercise in pushing and shoving. Not because the people are rude but because that is their culture. With a smile and a bit of civility you overcome and become used to it. Food in the buffet is good but after a while becomes repetitious and monotonous. Public areas around the ship are good and there are some nice places where you can sit and have some peace and quiet. Thought that the tours were overpriced for what you got. Heard many complaints from other passengers about this. We only went on one tour at the first port and that was enough. My wife has mobility problems and they do not reserve the front seats of the buses for people with special needs, also the step from the ground to the bus is very high. There were other passengers who had special needs that complained bitterly about the lack of understanding amongst the cruise staff and the tour operators. It was more convenient, and not much dearer, to hire a taxi and do our own touring. Disembarking at Genoa was good and the MSC staff in the terminal were great. However, the return of passports to passengers on the morning of disembarkation was a fiasco. This definitely needs to be improved. On the bright side, we met a lot of nice people and had a good time. Would we sail with MSC again? Yes we would as sailing with MSC is an adventure in itself and I look forward to our cruise with them in January next year.   Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
My wife and I have just completed the 14 day cruise from Rio to Genoa. Having cruised with MSC before our expectations were reasonable and they were met. The staff on the ship range from speaking English but not understanding English ... Read More
My wife and I have just completed the 14 day cruise from Rio to Genoa. Having cruised with MSC before our expectations were reasonable and they were met. The staff on the ship range from speaking English but not understanding English through to a good comprehension of English. If you are expecting a cruise with normal English standards you will probably be disappointed. if you want a cruise that will enable you to mix with people from a range of nationalities, you are prepared to accept the quirks and behaviour of those nationalities, you accept the pushing and shoving that is normal for them and are prepared to accept what you consider rudeness and bad manners but to them is normal behaviour then you will have a good time. If you are not prepared to accept the above then do not cruise with MSC as you will be disappointed. If you have not travelled with MSC before then research them well so that you will not be disillusioned. Their meaning of customer service is different to ours. Our interactive TV did not work in our cabin for the first 10 days. Finally after 3 requests and a written notice it worked. However at no time were we informed what was happening or advised that it was fixed. You need to persevere and keep checking every day until something happens. Their tours are are usually overpriced by our standards and what is written in English is not exactly what happens on occasion. You need to understand that to us what appears to be organised chaos to them is normal. They make very few if any allowances for people with disabilities. One very big negative is the embarkation procedures in Rio. My wife requires assistance and despite 3 hours of waiting and several requests no assistance was forthcoming. My wife finally had to hobble through and literally be carried by myself to the ship. The girls in their white uniforms were pathetic as well as being rude, arrogant and ignorant. Believing that corporate behaviour stems from the top I can only say that the girls in Rio need to be reprimanded and then retrained. Their superior needs to be either reprimanded and retrained or sacked and replaced by a person who understands what customer service actually means. In all, if you wish to experience a very interesting experience with lots of diversity you will enjoy MSC. My wife and I certainly did. One big note to MSC. MSC Orchestra is cruising to Australia next year. I tell you now that you need to vastly improve your definition of customer standards, initiate feedback procedures to your passengers and revise your handling procedures of clients with special needs. If you do not then your foray into the Australian market will be disappointing.   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2014
We were extremely disappointed with the experience on this voyage. While our expectations were not high, based on others' reviews, we still hoped that would be somewhat enjoyable. It turned out to be a great disappointment with a few ... Read More
We were extremely disappointed with the experience on this voyage. While our expectations were not high, based on others' reviews, we still hoped that would be somewhat enjoyable. It turned out to be a great disappointment with a few notable exceptions. Since the exceptions were few, I decided to give credit first. The ship entertainment throughout was of very high value, with nightly shows being of high quality, especially acrobatic and dancing members. The singers at the show were average but still all went well except for the MC who never spoke a word of English, only speaking Portuguese or Spanish to a primarily Brazilian clientele, though knowing very well that others were on board. Not a word in English the entire 8 days. Same can be said of ship announcements. Not a single announcement in English entire 8 days. Food was terrible except for the Asia restaurant where it was OK., but great by comparison to the rest of the meals on board. Health club equipment was in working order but set to another language so had to make due by guessing the meanings. Port and tender disembarkation was well organized except that we had to stay by the reception to find out when our number would be called. The ship is clean and is worked on continuously, but they don't put warning signs or block sections while cleaning so you can get your hands on clothes dirty with paint or chemicals if not careful. Notably terrible was the dining service. It was so bad it became a running joke. Complaining to the floor managers did nothing. We were being ignored. No was always the answer, hardly any friendly faces and it was as if we had done something to make them mad, which was odd since we tried to tip everyone the first chance we had. It did absolutely no good. While the Stewart for our cabin did make up the room consistently well, he never tried to bring us a clean blanket that we asked for nor had the light bulbs fixed in the bathroom leaving a windowless bathroom with a single light. BTW, there are no Hair Conditioners provided on the ship so we had to buy a bottle on the ship for $80 (least expensive one available). Of notably bad items some stand way out, like the chaotic 3 hour initial embarkation in Rio that was just awful and completely disorganized. Quality of Food was just awful in all locations of the ship. Small, overcrowded pools on a single deck were of no use. Whirlpools were always jam-packed with with overweight Brazilians who seemed to treat them as their permanent place on ship. Both dinner restaurants resembled cheap cafeterias rather than fine dining facilities. This ship provides you with almost nothing for free so you get nickel and dimed the entire time. Despite that very few waiters were actually visible on the ship working the minimum amount of space just make it look like they are busy. Go up one deck from the pool and you may not see a waiter for days. Sun beds were ok that there wasn't a single side table on entire ship. Towels were given one per individual who brought their card to the towel desk. We traveled during "Summer" break for Brazil thus lots of people were traveling with small kids who were completely unsupervised and seed to do anything they wanted without as much as a peep from their parents or personnel. Even at 1am you could see a bunch of small kids running wild in the adult areas. If you are hoping to catch up on news forget it. The daily handouts contain nothing outside of the ship. there are no English speaking channels on TV. Entrance to the SPA is not Free, so you do not get to use a steam room or indoor whirlpool unless you pay or scheduled a massage. Overall, I would stay away from this cruise line and avoid south america cruises where the crowd is mostly Brazilian. You will regret it from first day on. The only people I feel for are the entertainers on the ship as they are stuck with this bunch for 4 months of the year. so many of them mentioned how they can not wait to get back to Europe, it was stunning. Special thank you to the Piano Man Melo for giving us something to look forward to nightly. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2012
I read many reviews before boarding the MSC Orchestra for an 18 day Transatlantic cruise, many comments were negative but I boarded the ship with an open mind. My First impression on boarding the ship she was beautiful and clean, however ... Read More
I read many reviews before boarding the MSC Orchestra for an 18 day Transatlantic cruise, many comments were negative but I boarded the ship with an open mind. My First impression on boarding the ship she was beautiful and clean, however I felt the reception and shop area's very claustrophobic, The ship left from Santos but our group boarded in Rio,the cocktail of the day was a Mohito...by 6pm the ship had run out of MINT, this was not replenished for the rest of the cruise so no Mohito's, I have cruised many times and never have I experienced a ship running out of supplies, not only mint but Tonic water (so no Gin and tonics),milk (went to the powdered stuff), red wine (Chianti for heavens sake, on an Italian ship) nearer the end of the cruise. I felt sorry for the bar and wait staff as they had to field the angst of passengers. Breakfasts were always the same no variety, The dinners always cold except for the soup at the buffet. The buffet area was always crowded and people pushed and shoved to get to the food,I had a pair of tongs litterally snatched from my hand as I reached for the bread rolls. The ship was excessively crowded and you could not get near the pool or find a table on the pool deck as the Brazilian and Italians had scooped up everything by 7am. This line is not geared to English speaking passengers and frankly I feel they don't want us. As for double dipping on the gratuities well it has all been said before.On the positive side the cabin and bar staff were fantastic and very friendly, I enjoyed the ports of call and the shore excursions. I have done many cruises before and this was by far my least enjoyable. Disembarkation was a nightmare. Read Less
MSC Orchestra Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.0
Dining 4.0 3.0
Entertainment 3.0 3.4
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.3
Family 3.0 3.3
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.1
Enrichment 2.0 2.8
Service 3.0 3.4
Value For Money 4.0 3.3
Rates 4.0 3.9

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