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10 Venice to Trans-Ocean Cruise Reviews

We cruised from Venice to Dubai via the Suez Canal for seventeen nights in an inside cabin, mid-ships, on a re-positioning cruise with MSC in November 2018. We have cruised before but this was our first experience of MSC. Facts The ... Read More
We cruised from Venice to Dubai via the Suez Canal for seventeen nights in an inside cabin, mid-ships, on a re-positioning cruise with MSC in November 2018. We have cruised before but this was our first experience of MSC. Facts The passengers were predominantly Italian, German, Spanish, French and Portuguese with a minority of British. There were two European and two US electrical sockets in the cabin. There were lots of drawers, shelves and hanging space for storage. It was easy to obtain extra coat hangers and extra pillows from our cabin steward. There was good storage space under the bed for empty cases. There was a stocked mini-bar in the cabin. There was a wall mounted bottle of body wash and shampoo in the shower which was refilled during the cruise and liquid soap at the basin. No conditioner, body lotion or bars of soap were provided. There was a wall-mounted, hose-type hair dryer in the bathroom. The small TV had a limited number of English speaking channels including BBC News, CNN and Sky news. Some films were played on a loop but most were not in English. The TV had an HDMI socket which you could use to connect your devices with your own cable. There was a large wet play area with padded floor for kids on deck 11, two swimming pools with ladder access, shallow sections for kids and two small Jacuzzi’s. Pools were initially cool but warmed up as we traveled south. There were lots of sun loungers and some high back reclining chairs around the pools and on the 12th deck but often, on a sea days, these were filled. Pros The cabin was compact but clean. The air conditioning was easy to adjust and was effective. The bed was firm and very comfortable. The sound-proofing in the cabins was generally good. Theatre entertainment was generally good with a wide variety of styles ranging from slapstick to high brow classical music. Disembarkation was fast and easy. Cons Embarkation slow and shambolic with unfriendly, unhelpful MSC staff. The shower in the en-suite was extremely compact and had a shower curtain rather than a solid door. This made showering in such a small space without flooding the floor quite challenging. The service in the main restaurant was slow, unfriendly and the food was cold until we complained. Thereafter the service improved and the food was served hot. The food was generally rather bland and uninteresting. Portion sizes were generally small. Our pre-arranged restaurant coffee package was refused on two evenings. Other guests sat in our allocated table one evening early in the cruise and we had to stand around for five minutes while the staff decided what to do. We were then asked to move table for the rest of the cruise. Breakfast food in the main restaurant was never hot and service was unfriendly and slow. The drinks call bells on the buffet restaurant tables were only answered 50% of time. Buffet tables were not wiped effectively. The buffet food choice was poor and food was not hot. Hand sanitizers throughout the ship often did not work and MSC staff did not encourage passengers to use them. Waiting staff and others did not give way to guests when passing in narrow corridors. It felt like some would have knocked you down if you hadn’t stepped aside to allow them to pass. TV reception was poor/non-existent for about seven days in and around the Red Sea. It took a week to resolve an intermittent faulty lock on our cabin door. There was no warning prior to theatre shows regarding the use of strobe lighting. Passports were retained by MSC on embarkation and only returned the night before disembarkation. Passport return arrangements were a shambles with too few MSC staff, leading to huge queues. Poolside entertainment was much too loud for customers not wishing to take part. The sun loungers had very low backs which did not allow for head support. Our MSC loyalty scheme status match to Black status was not initially honoured and it took multiple visits to the loyalty desk over two weeks to resolve. We therefore missed out on some Black benefits. Loyalty staff and reception staff did not seem interested in resolving this. MSC were very poor at communicating port of call arrangements. E.g. at Salalah in Oman, the literature said a shuttle bus would take us from the ship to the "main square". We were actually dropped off at a taxi rank at the exit of the port where there was absolutely nothing to see or do other than take a taxi. There was no signage or crew direction to where we were to collect our luggage after disembarkation. We enjoyed the itinerary and the weather was very good however having previously sailed with Royal Caribbean, Princess, P&O and TUI which all offered a far superior experience; this will be our first and last MSC cruise. Many of the other British passengers we spoke to agreed with this sentiment. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Routing of the ship seemed attractive : Departing Venice, Greece, Suez canal, Aqaba, Oman to Dubai. Travelled on Deck 12 (Rossini ) in a spacious cabin with balcony and private sundeck on deck 12. So far the good news. Trouble ... Read More
Routing of the ship seemed attractive : Departing Venice, Greece, Suez canal, Aqaba, Oman to Dubai. Travelled on Deck 12 (Rossini ) in a spacious cabin with balcony and private sundeck on deck 12. So far the good news. Trouble started when I tried to find out details on my Aurea drink package, nobody was able to give me correct details on this package, even the bar manager changed his point of view on the matter nearly every day. The breakfast buffet was a disaster and every day it was a struggle to find a vacant seat, apparently Msc managed to add many extra cabins without extra facilities. Quality of the food was poor and most items from the hot buffet were cold. Our “My choice dining” was not exactly what was promissed and every evening we had to stand in line to have a vacant table. Communication with reception was very difficult and nearly all my questions remained unanswered. The mostly indonesian staff of the Aurea spa were not friendly , sometimes even rude. Thinking of cruising on Msc Lirica, please think twice Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We were delighted to find that the MSC Musica was relocating from the Med to South Africa, and booked Venice to Durban (24 days) as the conclusion of a long trip away from home in South Africa. By way of summary, our experience ran ... Read More
We were delighted to find that the MSC Musica was relocating from the Med to South Africa, and booked Venice to Durban (24 days) as the conclusion of a long trip away from home in South Africa. By way of summary, our experience ran along these lines: 1 - The web site is a monster and needs some serious attention from someone who understands UX ('User Experience' - the trending approach to web design today?). 2 - The four options (Bella, Fantastica, Aurea and Club) have preset options none of which really suited us. We chose Fantastica because it assured us we would get the best cabin in the category (see 4 below!). That did NOT work! 3 - Embarkation in Venice involved a LONG walk, in the blazing sun, from the Venice 'People Mover' (which links the city to the port) to the ship. Once we were in the shade it took about an hour (long queues) and it would have been smarter to arrive much closer to the deadline, when there were no queues. 4 - The cabin (11195) was a disappointment. We chose inside because we are happy not to have views or balconies, but we got one of the inside cabins with BUNKS. They are turned up to the wall, but there is inadequate space to get into bed standing upright; the solution was to get into bed by crawling up from the bottom. Further, there is NO SEATING - just a padded box that sits under the very small dressing table. I see on the deck plan some of the inside cabins have black blobs - because ours has four I guess that means it sleeps four people? Pity there is no legend to explain that! 5 - Hence, we found that MSC have a problem with information management. I had two reasons to request on board that Reception assist me: first, I was listed as 'Mr' (my correct title is 'Dr' or 'Prof', as indicated at booking time) and it ought to be SO easy to correct these small things; 'they' were simply not interested. The other issue was with the door to the Library, which made a dreadful screeching sound every time it was opened. The library should be a sanctuary of peace and quiet, but it was horrible for that one reason (actually, there were VERY few books, which caused people to come in and noisily discuss how shocking it was to find that there were no books to read - no reference books such as atlases and travel guides, only a selection of fiction, in several languages, that quickly reduced as more than 3000 'guests' helped themselves). 6 - Previously we have cruised with no internet, and as I had work to do I was delighted to see that continuous internet is offered, and although the log on was somewhat convoluted it worked most of the time. But forget the service that you might get at home, this was SLOW and in 24 days I used about 3Gbytes, that cost me 95 Euros. Some people had bought a cheaper package that, astonishingly, did NOT allow access to email services. 7 - There is a 'CyberCafe' but nobody in attendance to assist with problems. The young man sitting there - confusingly - was the Voyager Club representative. His response to any assistance with the cybercafe (that he was sitting right in the middle of) was abrupt almost to the point of rudeness. I guess we all have bad days ... I took my laptop to the cybercafe to try and get faster internet (I think that worked) but there are NO power outlets there, just standardised screens with a keyboard, a mouse and a small USB accessory for your memory stick or whatever you have. 8 - There were some glitches with the excursions. On the catamaran trip (Mauritious) two passengers were sent to the wrong coach, and so the whole remaining party of 23 had to sit or stand on the catamaran for more than an hour, with only partial shade. When the late-comers arrived, one of the sun-drenched (German) passengers asked - rudely and without any evidence - that the late-comers should apologise; well, they were from Australia and the anglo-saxon expletives and tears flowed freely. I mention this because it is the sort of incident that should be managed by the cruise staff, and I would have expected some apology from them. As it was, it took half of the day for the tempers to cool down and it was the fellow-passengers who did more to manage the situation than the 'staff'. Having said all that, what was good? The entertainment was excellent, although it was inevitable that over 24 days the song and dance crew, the acrobats and the classical musicians had to include some repetition. Not really a problem. We enjoyed the Queen (Freddie Mercury) entertainment so much we watched it twice (there are early and late shows, for the later and earlier sittings in the restaurants. The food in the restaurants was a little variable - we had just one main dish that was inedible and had to go back to the kitchen, but the starters and deserts were excellent. Portions were modest, and that suited us perfectly! The cafeteria was, well, rather like a cafeteria. The cabin and restaurant staff were excellent. The deal is that MSC add 10 euros per person every day for service (and that is in addition to the 15% surcharge on drinks from the bar), and so we were wondering how much of our 480 Euros (about one third of our 'ticket' price!!) would go to the front-of-house workers, and how much gets put into the slush fund. At the desk they admitted that the 'standard' 10 euros per day per passenger was actually optional, and I 'renegotiated' it. One of our fellow passengers told us that he went to reception on the FIRST day to tell them that he did not agree, and did not want to pay, and they agreed that it was at his discretion. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We chose it for the trip to Egypt instead of private tour because MSCUSA call center promised the same sites for less. Instead, MSC Cruise, Musica. 10/4-11/7/18 became the worst cruise ever. 1. Call Center associates stated Egypt ... Read More
We chose it for the trip to Egypt instead of private tour because MSCUSA call center promised the same sites for less. Instead, MSC Cruise, Musica. 10/4-11/7/18 became the worst cruise ever. 1. Call Center associates stated Egypt excursions were available even after change to Suez only 2. Smoking permitted in cabin although several disclosures prohibited smoking; crew unresponsive 3. At sea, engineers release dirty, sludge water in the cabin bathrooms Call center assured us that Egyptian pyramid excursions were available and had emails from 2017-2018 to back up their messages. While the call center admitted the excursions were not available online in 2018, we could make reservations on the ship. We booked in November 2017 when Egypt was part of the itinerary. MSC admitted that it changed; however, we received no notice of change. Cruise line blamed us for accepting cruise that changed after booking. (While on board, MSC cancelled another excursion in Italy for “safety” reasons.) Cabin next to ours had a smoker, and crew may have asked him to quit, but never made him quit nor moved him. Attendant never turned him in. We were sick from the second-hand smoke. In fact, the whole ship reeked of smoke from the casino and cigar room on the seventh floor at atrium where the smell wafted upwards and down. MSC offered no solution. Engineers released sludge in bathrooms while we were at sea both morning and evening. It lasted for an hour or so and was random. Disgusting! The only redemption was the evening meal. Staff were not tidy, and rooms had inches of dust on chairs and curtains. Staff were unresponsive to problems. Excursions did not adhere to schedule, such as four hours more than posted for Jerusalem, which was already 8.5 and 9 hours. Excursions were marked as moderate but more than half of the travelers could not complete the walk (Petra). Travelers were “lost” in bazaars and delayed departures from Jerusalem, which MSC denied but our tour guide remarked as we were the first and only tour out of Jerusalem for a while. Medical help was nonexistent and travelers were released to medical facilities at ports. The beverage package said it was all inclusive, but there were exclusions. While the staff reimbursed for charges on the first day, if not careful, the charges added up quickly as many areas of the ship charged first without considering the beverage package deal. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We choose this cruise, due to the many interesting ports, we'd not visited. Viking Oceans is trying to do, too much, too fast, and losing sight of the small details, involved in "Luxury Cruising". We'd sailed on ... Read More
We choose this cruise, due to the many interesting ports, we'd not visited. Viking Oceans is trying to do, too much, too fast, and losing sight of the small details, involved in "Luxury Cruising". We'd sailed on Viking River Cruises numerous times and on Viking Star, loving everyday. Not so with this cruise, Bay of Bangle, involved a different 'hurdle' daily. Embarkation in Mumbai was a total NIGHTMARE! No-one at the 'Guest Service' desk knew the definition of 'guest services'. We arrived late into ports, and therefore had the planned excursions rush. There wasn't any entertainment, as had been present of other Viking cruises. The food was, good. The service was delayed by staffing problems and a general lack of experience. We were given two days in Gao, India and one day in Singapore. Go figure! We had a three hour bus excursion in Georgetown. We drove around the same circle five times, without any potty breaks. There was a fort and a Palace, we couldn't get out and explore. Saving on port fees, we were two hours out of the city of Bangkok. This meant five hours on a bus, day one and 2 1/2 hours back the next day to the airport. Not a happy finish! We're going to give Viking Ocean more time to pull their act together, before any additional travel, on them. The ship is beautiful. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
This was our first cruise ever, so we chose Viking because of our great experience on the Viking river cruise. The ambiance of the ship was classic and elegant; our room was luxurious; and the staff was so attentive that we felt like ... Read More
This was our first cruise ever, so we chose Viking because of our great experience on the Viking river cruise. The ambiance of the ship was classic and elegant; our room was luxurious; and the staff was so attentive that we felt like royalty! Every day we had excellent food in wonderful surroundings. There were plenty of private nooks and crannies so that we never felt that there were many others on board. The 24/7 room service was a really big hit with our group. No matter what time we returned to the ship, we knew we could always have a fabulous meal. Even the buffet had many "made to order" items that made us feel special. The excursions were excellently organized and we always felt that we knew where we were to go and how to get back. This was our first extended family vacation that included married spouses, but will definitely not be our last. We are already planning our next Viking cruise. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
After staying 3 months in S. Africa, we chose this 24-day repositioning cruise from Durban to Venice in order to go home to Europe in a relaxed way. This was a first for my wife and me (both seniors) and we enjoyed it tremendously. The ... Read More
After staying 3 months in S. Africa, we chose this 24-day repositioning cruise from Durban to Venice in order to go home to Europe in a relaxed way. This was a first for my wife and me (both seniors) and we enjoyed it tremendously. The service on the whole was very good, cabin and restaurant service outstanding. By and large the food was OK, however several times it was quite disappointing, almost inedible. The layout of the suite on the 10th deck was perfect for our needs, but a small nuisance every morning when the staff (or passengers) would re-install the deckchairs on the pool deck above us in a rather noisy way. Also the service in the Aurea area was very good. We enjoyed the evening entertainment (except the Swiss ventriloquist) and found the performers (especially Ian von Memerty) all of a high level: dancers, singers and musiciens alike. And we loved the staff show: there is some hidden talent there. Some of the cruise staff brought a smile on your face, especially Natasha van Heerden. On the whole, time in the ports was too short. Disembarkation for the excursions was badly handled initially, with long delays. The visit to the Seychelles had to be cut short unfortunately. The absolute highlight was the visit to the spectacular scenery of Petra in Jordan. Also the passage through the Suez Canal was highly interesting. The next highlight was the beauty of the Bay of Kotor in Montenegro. It would have been helpful to receive more factual information on these sights, as the talks by Allison were not always reliable for facts. The daily newsletter could be used for this information, rather than filling it up with advertising for all the special deals in the shops. We concluded that we had a very pleasant 3½ weeks on the ship and were happy to have met interesting people, some of whom we shall be seeing again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
The only problem was the embarkation in Venice. Waited in a very long queue. No annoucements only heard different rumours. (computers offline, bomb scare etc) Stood in the queue which felt like hours. No seats outside for one to sit on. ... Read More
The only problem was the embarkation in Venice. Waited in a very long queue. No annoucements only heard different rumours. (computers offline, bomb scare etc) Stood in the queue which felt like hours. No seats outside for one to sit on. Eventually, on entering the building there were chairs. Worse chaos inside. One does not know where to proceed. Not enough staff at disembarkation. (discovered broken suitcase wheel and noone to help us.) The immigration took a very long time. Once through the immigration there are no MSC staff only South Africans. Food good. Cabin cleanliness, good. Msc Singers & Entertainment fantastic. The bar entertainment the same as last year. Boring. They have a playlist which is repeated every night. It would be nice if arriving at the ports that MSC could tell us if there was free transport etc. Msc promotes their own transport. The ships one engine broke and no parts were available which caused the port times to be shortened. (Got free champagne for an hour) We got free champagne from 6 to 7pm on the last night as well. Yay! Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
This is our 4th Regent cruise. The fact that the Regent Seven Seas Explorer was a new ship was nice but we chose this cruise for the itinerary - Istanbul to Israel via the Greek Isles and Egypt but mostly for the Egypt portion which was 2 ... Read More
This is our 4th Regent cruise. The fact that the Regent Seven Seas Explorer was a new ship was nice but we chose this cruise for the itinerary - Istanbul to Israel via the Greek Isles and Egypt but mostly for the Egypt portion which was 2 ports. Istanbul was cancelled well in advance and the ship was rerouted out of Venice. The Egypt portion was then cancelled AFTER the refund policy period. Very suspiciously timed. Embarkation was a long walk from the port entrance with no shuttle service offered which I would have expected given it was Regent. Average age is higher - luxury cruise plus timing. 3 children on board, all very well behaved. This is not a kid cruise. Public areas - Beautiful decorative details with marble and glass. There is lots of room between seats. Lots of space. Pool area deck lounges were padded and plentiful with double lounges and covered lounges. There was lots of room between chairs and tables in lounges, dining, public areas. Cabin - Our cabin was category G2, suite 881 located on the aft end of the ship. The miscellaneous details and decor were very nice - glass front cabinetry, marble floors and the best cruise ship bed we've ever been in. The floor space of the balcony was larger on the back end of the ship but due to the slope of the solid railing the usable portion was similar to others of the same category. The railing on the back is solid vs the suites on port and starboard which you can see through. The cabin was not as large as expected but the bathroom is quite a nice size with a large shower. The TV was oddly placed in front of the bed vs the couch so you had to be in bed to watch TV which makes it impossible for one person to stay up and watch a movie while the other one sleeps. The movie selection was very good. No CNN or ESPN but there was BBC, CNBC and MSNBC Food/Dining - the quality was good and plentiful with an incredible selection. Compass Rose was the main dining and very noisy which I would have expected to be muffled given the pickiness of some of the other details put into the ship. You could ask for a table in the back where the ceilings were lower making it quieter for a better dining experience. The menu was very good in Compass Rose and once we found the quiet place, we preferred it. Seti Mari was our first choice due to their appetizer buffet and dinner being off the menu and served. But Seti Mari became busier as the cruise went on and there was quite a wait to get in. Hint - go early or you may have to wait. Breakfasts and lunches at la Veranda had good selections and the produce was good quality. The pool buffet was a smaller selection but you could order off a menu for a better selection. The specialty dining venues were nice and very popular but other than one visit each, we opted for the non-reservation venues. Service - They boast a higher crew per passenger but we found that too many people reduced the service. Sometimes the staff was tripping over each other and sometimes they ignored thinking someone else had already taken care of it. Overall the staff was very nice and helpful but efficiency was not their strong suit. Entertainment - The main show room is poorly designed with many obstructed seats not only from support poles but from balcony overhangs and security railings. We attended one lecture and one show. We walked out of the show due to quality. They did have a strings group and a piano entertainer which we enjoyed at other venues. Excursions - they had a nice selection of excursions and the staff was very accommodating to changes. Spa Facilities - While we are not typically spa people, this spa was fabulous. Overall we enjoyed the cruise. It was still a Regent luxury quality cruise which is premium to mass market cruise lines which we also take as we are itinerary driven. Given the right itinerary, we will take Regent again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Had a magnificent time for the 16 night Suez Canal Cruise. All of the ports were amazing! From Venice (breathtaking), Athens (Historic and Educational) to Israel (Spiritual, Riveting and inspiring), Suez Canal (Man made beauty), Oman ... Read More
Had a magnificent time for the 16 night Suez Canal Cruise. All of the ports were amazing! From Venice (breathtaking), Athens (Historic and Educational) to Israel (Spiritual, Riveting and inspiring), Suez Canal (Man made beauty), Oman (Pleasant Surprise) and Dubai (The Capital of Excess), I LOVED THEM ALL!!! Met some great people aboard Splendour and my cabin Steward (Joseph) and many of the wait staff that I met were amazing. Felt like old friends. Just a really great cruise. Although I must note... the activities on Splendour were below par. There just wasn't nearly enough to do. It was catered to all old people. Ship days were quite boring sometimes. Thankfully I love to read and had a few books. My cabin (junior suite) was perfect. I wouldn't have wanted to do such a long cruise especially with the lack of activities in a small room. My floor (8th) was always quiet as well. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015

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