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4 Rome (Civitavecchia) MSC Cruises MSC Orchestra Cruise Reviews

My wife booked MSC in the blink way before the sail date, no research, the price was great and all the ports seemed good. As we get close the sail date, we started to read reviews, a lot of bad reviews, about food, restaurants, ... Read More
My wife booked MSC in the blink way before the sail date, no research, the price was great and all the ports seemed good. As we get close the sail date, we started to read reviews, a lot of bad reviews, about food, restaurants, service, rude fellow passengers, extra charges. We did not pay much, might just well do a diet cruise. Embarkation was a breeze, we got to port by train than bus before 3pm after a morning in Rome. There were only a few people on the bus, and we got on in no time, spending less than 30 second at each staff station, the moment we were done the next staff were smiling and waving at us. The moment we got the ship, a sales girl approached us and explained coffee package, beer package, and other packages. We took her advice only took coffee and beer since my wife can't drink much. Both was reasonably priced, came as ticket book, order one use one fare enough. During the cruise, we ordered wine and Scotch by the glass when we felt like it, not much extra. The girl by the door also advise us to go to the buffet and grab some food since we were on late dinner seating. We went to get some fruit and the buffet looked really good, not as the review said. We had pastry on the train and not hungry at all. The cabin was amazingly big and comfortable, bigger than our hotel room in Rome. Detail see cabin review. The ship was very smooth and stable, our cabin was mid-front, did not feel much rocking. One night we went out on our balcony, the wave were rough and water broke up by the bow of ship got to our face on deck 11, but inside the cabin it felt like smooth water sailing. We thought we might lose some weight after reading all the reviews about the the dining experience. The dinning was fine, it was very good for a cruise ship. Maybe we read all the foodie reviewers. To be reasonable, if you are a foodie, why you choose to board a 3000 guest ship in the first place.The dining room portion was not small, my wife could not finish. Every time I helped her, I was over stuffed. The first night we sat with another American couple from St. Louis that just came off another cruise and doing 2 cruises back to back. They read the same reviews we did, and were planning to lose some weight from their previous cruise. After our meal, the husband said he's a big eater and he was fine, the rest of us couldn't finish even it tasted really good. Our package all include bottled water at dinner room, maybe an American thing. All four of us wanted to swap to early sitting since we all used to eat early and sleep early. We switched to early on the 3rd night, the St. Louis couple met some other people and decided to stay with 2nd seating. My wife ate a bit too much pineapple and all kind of prosciutto at the buffet after got back from shore trip and getting an upset stomach and decided to skip dinner. I went to our first night at the early seating alone, and met a nice and quiet American couple and 2 cheerful ladies from Washington and Oregon. The nice and quiet couple caught a cold next day and still came down to tell us that they would not be eating with us since the husband could calm his cough, what a gentlemen. We sat with the 2 cheerful ladies for the remaining trip, they were a lot of fun. They even gave me advice to get some papaya for my wife to cure her stomach problem, it worked like magic. And our waiter was great and fun, and I liked his recommendations for dinner and dessert choices. We only went saw one show at the theater, it was great. The rest of nights we went to different bars for live music and watch guests dancing with the music, there were some great amazing dancers. We did not experience problem with service, did not need to go to reception. The ports and excursions were great, we choose guided trips if port time is relatively short, otherwise we used Uber/Taxi/cruise transportation, then touring around on our own. Our friend gave us an Europe tour book sometimes ago, it really helped. We were able plan the night before and hit site/museum/landmark from the book, it especially helped in the museums since it listed which room which famous piece was in, so we were able to get to them with limited time. Some pieces did move, but museum staffs were very helpful. Lesson learned, call Uber once outside port gate, since some port won't let them in. Guided tours were fun too, all the local guides we experience were very fun. We choose mostly touring on our own since we were not disciplined, wife would browse Sunday market, eat wherever we felt pleasing, But we did do our homework the night before and planned out must-sees. Honestly everything was pretty good comparing all the cruises we took. Good thing we did buy the alcohol package since it required both of us. I don't like cocktails and wife can't drink much. No IPA on board, but there were a few beer ok to drink and can't complain for the price of the beer tickets. Coffee is good, we used the coffee tickets for cappuccino and double cappuccino, 1 ticket double or regular. Don't wasted on Americano, the buffett free coffee is better. I tried Turkish coffee, not good from the coffee bar. I think it is very reasonable, you buy whatever package you need, pay for Scotch alike whenever you feel like. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Fantastic itenery. Ship was very nice, pretty, and clean. Some of the best entertainment I’ve ever see, except for the opera that is, which was about every third day. Our waiter Stephano, from Macedonia, was the best waiter ever. ... Read More
Fantastic itenery. Ship was very nice, pretty, and clean. Some of the best entertainment I’ve ever see, except for the opera that is, which was about every third day. Our waiter Stephano, from Macedonia, was the best waiter ever. However, this was our 20th Cruise, the first time with MSC, and never, ever, before have we been charged for water. That’s right, if you eat at the buffet, water is free, but if you eat in the dining room you are charges 2.75 euro, which is about $3.50 U.S. While in port we went to a grocery store. I priced bottled water. It was .33 euro. A litre. What a rip off. Here’s the worst part.....at most of the ports the ship provides shuttles from the ship to the city center but only one was free. In marseille, France they charged 15.90 euro per person. We paid this price then noticed that another msc ship was docked next to us and their passengers were provided with a free shuttle. Several of our passengers walked on their buses and didn’t have to pay. We were much smarter at the remaining ports. In Barcelona the ship charged 8.90 euro for a shuttle but a few feet beyond their bus was a city bus that we used for 4 euro. In Malta the ship offered a “hop on, hop off” bus for 20 euro. A few steps beyond were people selling tickets for the same busses at 7.50 euro. In Corfu the ship was selling shuttle tickets for 9.90 euro. We walked a block and hopped on a city bus for 1.75 euro. I thinks it’s disgusting the way msc orchestra gouges their passengers. In the Caribbean, the ships quite often have to drop anchor out away from the dock, lower boats, and shuttle passengers via tender boats. They don’t charge for this. This is PART of your cruise. I hope more people will find other means of transportation so msc will be forced to drop these rediculous charges. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Time and date right for our 3 week Italian holiday. We have been cruising for years on Princess(platinum), H.A., and Celebrity. Ship was extremely clean, food best we have ever had, service very good, balcony cabin spacious with good ... Read More
Time and date right for our 3 week Italian holiday. We have been cruising for years on Princess(platinum), H.A., and Celebrity. Ship was extremely clean, food best we have ever had, service very good, balcony cabin spacious with good service. I would rate this cruise as one of the better ones. Ports and organized tours, excellent. We visited La Spezia (Cinque Terre), Genoa (Portofino), Cannes, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Ajaccio (Corsica. Now the issues, smoking on balconies not regulated butts thrown overboard, no one seemed concerned when reported, passengers rude, could be both a culture and language issue being the ship was full of German, Dutch, Finish, Norwegian, American, Canadian, Italian, and Asian with the majority not bilingual. Being an Italian ship be prepared for a lot of misbehaving children and baby strollers, the ship has a children's program from baby to senior teen which seems to work except for under 3 yrs which go with parents by their choice to the dining room and have meltdowns. Would we go with this line again, maybe if they expanded to North America. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Initially we chose this cruise to fit in with holiday availability of family members - and certainly had some trepidation given some of the reviews. We need not have worried. Simply put this was a great cruise - if you are looking for a ... Read More
Initially we chose this cruise to fit in with holiday availability of family members - and certainly had some trepidation given some of the reviews. We need not have worried. Simply put this was a great cruise - if you are looking for a Mediterranean style cruise in the Med. If you are looking for a British cruise experience in the Med, then you will no doubt be critical, but this is not P&O nor Cunard....it is MSC, and it suited us perfectly. We wanted Mediterranean food on board - and that is what we got - pasta, risotto, pizza and plenty of other choice. We had a Suite Cabin, on Deck 15, top accommodation level, with Aurea experience, providing reserved sun deck area over two decks outside and above the cabin. The Aurea experience meant we ate in the Ibiscus restaurant on anytime dining, where the staff were excellent - Maria and Pante ensuring we were warmly welcomed and looked after. The evening meals might appear to some as being somewhat small in quantity, but it was good and tasty, though not always as hot as we might normally expect (but I always reflect that in Masterchef the food is always served and tasted cold:)) Breakfast was fun.... a bit of a bun fight in terms of finding somewhere to sit in the buffet, but the food was good, varied plentiful. The main sundeck was a family oriented affair, with plenty of loungers, small pools, and Jacuzzis, with entertainment almost non-stop - with music always on... very Mediterranean, it was bustling and noisy - may not be to everyone's taste - but we had the refuge of the Aurea reserved areas so did not avail ourselves of this, seemingly madhouse. Service was always attentive, and polite, more so than I perhaps expected. Good drinks, with our package giving us free non-premium drinks, which were quite plentiful, and varied. Prices for premium was ok. If you are expecting P&O style entertainment then you will be disappointed - but what we say was good - an abridged song & dance version based on Grease. Good fun. All announcements are made in a multitude of languages - and the obligatory safety drill was well done, as was the disembarkation briefing. There were no Captain's updates that we heard, but there were almost daily crew exercises that could be quite noisy in terms of tannoy volume. TV - didn't use it other than checking the bill - but understand it has limited choice if you are expecting British entertainment - but hey we were on holiday and not wanting to watch TV. Food was available in the buffet 20 hours a day - and good it was too - particularly a late night Pizza slice... great pizza with good choice. Evening meals don't start until 7pm in the formal restaurants - reflecting the Mediterranean style of not eating until later than we are used to in the UK. For cabin review see below. Itinerary was great - we board at Rome, and enjoyed all our ports of call - where we had plenty of time. Tender was done well at Cannes. We enjoyed a complimentary Balinese massage as part of the Aurea experience, which was fine, and we also enjoyed the Sauna/Steam Rooms - though the inside Jacuzzi was a bit cool for indoors.... 37C. Note that smoking is permitted in more places than you might normally expect on P&O cruise - part of the Casino, a Cigar Room, and also part of the sun deck - one half of one side. There were plenty of bars, some quite gaudy, which we enjoyed rather than dull greys. If anything I would say that the restaurant choice was somewhat limited compared to other cruise experiences, particularly given the number of passengers - there was one speciality Asian restaurant - which we did not try. Other than that you are in your main restaurant, and the buffet. Formal nights - there were two - were remarkably informal - I think I saw one dinner suit. Certainly most people dressed smarter, but not DJs and tuxes... that suited us.. (excuse the pun...) There was very little hard selling - sure they took your photo, but no hassle. Overall the ship was a very happy ship - with a much broader mix of people - plenty of childen, younger couples, and actually fewer older people than say compared to a P&O cruise. In summary - we would definitely cruise with MSC again - we saw their new ship Megaviglia moored next to us at Genoa - wow it looked fantastic. A happy cruise line, unpretentious, and easy to like, particularly if you are want to relax and not worry about formality. We would look to the Aurea experience as a minimum, just so we could have some quiet/privacy outside of the cabin on the sun decks. We were a family of four - including our two adult children who had an identical cabin three doors away. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
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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