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Sail Date: August 2019
This was the first time we have done a cruise and we really did not know what to expect. We traveled as a family with 2 older teenagers and chose the MSC Bellissima in the hope that it would offer enough to keep them entertained (the Aqua ... Read More
This was the first time we have done a cruise and we really did not know what to expect. We traveled as a family with 2 older teenagers and chose the MSC Bellissima in the hope that it would offer enough to keep them entertained (the Aqua Park was the key deciding factor and not the itinerary). Just to start - the Bellissima is a beautiful and elegant ship, yes we were very impressed by the Swarovski crystal staircase. It is also loud, lively and family friendly. So if you don't appreciate sharing your holiday with lots of children of all ages then this probably isn't the ship for you - particularly during the school holidays. There are plenty of activities on board. The children's clubs seemed to be very good although we did not use them.The sportsplex although almost always busy again was good. We all particularly enjoyed the F1 simulator, bowling, ice hockey and interactive cinema here. The fun pass came in very handy and I would highly recommend purchasing this in advance as it offered excellent value for money compared to on board prices. The swimming pools were lovely, although crowded. As with many holidays, you still have the unfortunate experience of people hogging sun beds with their towels but never really appearing in person! There is absolutely no need for this and this was probably the most irritating thing about the whole cruise. The Aqua Park was very nice but not nearly big enough to entertain my older thrill-seeking teenagers. It is, however, excellent for slightly younger children. The Himalayan walk was fun. The Cirque du Soleil shows were excellent. We saw one as a dinner show and the other as a cocktail show. I would highly recommend the dinner show. The shopping was good but expensive, primarily due to the poor exchange rate for the pound against the Euro. However, there are promotions on everyday with significant discounts. We bought the unlimited internet package in advance. This seemed very expensive at the time but proved essential for my teenagers using social media and keeping in touch with friends. They complained it was a slow internet connection - however it is satellite wifi and so not as fast as home wifi. We did one MSC organised excursion to Gozo by powerboat followed by a jeep safari around the island and time on the beach. The excursion was well organised. It seemed expensive at 115 Euro each, but we all really enjoyed the day so it was worth the cost. The service was excellent from all the staff we met. I appreciate this is contrary to some reviews I read prior to booking but we found that all passenger facing staff spoke very good English and,as a minimum, they were all polite and professional. Our cabin attendant, Jean, was particularly friendly and helpful and went out of his way to make our stay special. The restaurant service was almost always very rapid and always courteous and polite. In the seated restaurant the staff would try to offer something else if you did not like what was offered on that evening's menu. The buffet restaurant had a huge variety of dishes to suit all tastes. We had the premium drinks package included which was very good for us and again I would definitely have this again. The whole ship was spotlessly clean and you could see staff at all times of day cleaning public areas. There was a real focus on hand hygiene at meal times with excellent facilities for hand washing outside the main buffet restaurant - a welcome sight! We did use the Zoe voice activated information system as a bit of a novelty, however the MSC for me app was much more useful. Embarkation and disembarkation were busy but well organised and there were minimal waiting times. Overall, we all thoroughly enjoyed our first cruise experience and will definitely travel with MSC again. I am confused by some of the negative reviews I have read but I would highly recommend both the company and the ship. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
I read some reviews around and it was stated a number of times that there is constant hard selling of packages and photos. We did not experience any apart from embarkation day and just once. We opted for an angle balcony Aurea Suite ... Read More
I read some reviews around and it was stated a number of times that there is constant hard selling of packages and photos. We did not experience any apart from embarkation day and just once. We opted for an angle balcony Aurea Suite with jacuzzi on the balcony. Unfortunately out of the 7 days, we could not use the Jacuzzi on 3 days. 1. Cleaning balcony day. You are adviced to close balcony doors and curtains from a day before. They then open all balconies to form one long corridor. Our balcony was accessed but not cleaned at all. 2. for some odd reason we found our jacuzzi empty on the last evening (possibly for cleaning before the next guests). 3, On our second day, without being advised, the upper decks were being power washed resulting in almost 2 hours of constant water raining on our balcony. Also the water got very smelly from day 3. We informed cabin Stewart who came, saw the clean filter warning and just emptied part of it and refilled. Left same filter and we were left with the clean filter warning for the rest of the Cruise (though the smell was much less). We had a 14 year old with us and we only received a teen programme on the last full day of the Cruise (day at sea). We had no idea what was happening as the on-board daily programme only had one daily entry for teens so we thought it was weak like the rest of the daily programme. Probably the daily onboarding/Disembarkation/Security meetings have a toll on the crew who are unable to plan/organise other activities. Yes MSC on-boards and disembarks passengers daily so every day from 16:00 you start hearing very loud constant reminders in 7 languages asking passengers who just embarked to attend the compulsory security info meeting at 16:30. This lasts around 45 minutes. I had a massage booked at 16:30 and the experience was ruined with 30 mins of loud notices and security info with a speaker directly above my head in the small massage room. The masseuse offered me to change the time but the other available slots were non convenient to me. Casino is nice with some very good machines and bar service but I could not stay more than 15 minutes with all the smoking going on everywhere. There were some no smoking signs but no enforcement at all. Unlike NCL (as an example) there are no light snacks here so if you are up to a light night snack check the time as the buffet place closes at 10 and reopens for 2 hours midnight to 2am with some light snacks and pizza. WIFI was weak. None at all from our bedroom. The 'MSC for me' app is great but requires the free ship WIFI connection which only allows you access to the app unless you pay extra for actual internet data. Zoe, the cabin assistant to the likes of Google Home and Alexa is still a waste of desk space. It answers very few questions and mainly asks you to consult your daily programme, TV channels and the MSC for Me app. Plus if you are used to other voice home assistants, please be patient with this one as it is very slow to get back with an answer. However it has great potential and I can see this as a trend setter for other lines and even hotels. For food we mainly used the Market Place Buffet for the reasons below and food was average except for the day at sea were it was evidently better with more choice and the only time that the buffet had decent deserts of a decent size. We only used the Poseidon for breakfast once. Miserable portions and choice and we got 1 of 3 orders wrong. Also asked for fresh orange juice and the reply was "not included" in our "all inclusive" drink package which should include all drinks upto EUR 6. How expensive could a fresh orange juice be? We used our assigned Dinner restaurant twice (Light House). Again miserable portions. They got the food we ordered but managed to deliver all to the wrong person (just 3 of us). Mistakes were a constant. At least it was funny and we were betting on the next mistake :). Also too many waiters with different responsibilities. One for bread, one for water, one for wine, another for other drinks and one for food. So you ask the water waiter for a soft drink and says "my colleague" will be with you shortly but never comes :). Also Waiters get confused and you get asked your cabin room number over and over. Its a pity as these restaurants are very well staffed (probably too many) whilst the buffet (which gets overcrowded as many prefer it to the restaurants) is very much understaffed and to get a drink you have to wait too long. I usually preferred to go myself to the bar, but just 2 barman (at times 1) dealing with all the clients and the drinks waiters is too much to handle. Under staffing in bars is also very evident and at times it feels like this is on purpose to minimise consumption as many a times one gives up waiting. We loved the evening shows. Great life music, amazing dancers and singers. Great detail to costumes and scenography. There was a shadows performer on one night who is pretty good but so much full of himself :). His show starts with a 2 minute video of his performances around the world to show us long standing ovations, like trying to convince you before the show that he is good :). The Cirque du Soleil shows are good but too short and nothing amazing when compared to other Cirque du Soleil shows I've attended elsewhere. I was also very annoyed about the 'Free 24 hour Room Service' which we should have had with the Aurea experience. We soon discovered that the choice is a shame (One menu page of light snacks and another page for pizza) and to add insult to injury the only free aspect is the delivery but food must be paid for. Can someone explain what this means? So food is free at the restaurants and the only service which I would somehow accept to pay for is the delivery which is free for Aurea. Makes no sense. Clearly a sales gimmick in the wording used. So assume the only way to get it free would be to go to the buffet, fill your plates from the free food then ask a waiter to deliver to your room. Would that be free? ridiculous. Also reception people have no clue. The 'MSC for Me' is advertised to offer family members with a position tracking on the ship and a chat facility between people you share your ID with. The reception said that we need a special arm bend which needs to be purchased for the tracking and chat. We asked 3 people and they all had no clue. However we managed to make the chat work throughout the cruise with some trial and error. I told the reception about this at a next visit and they were surprised. Also I went to the reception 3 times to ask if we could have a late (12:00) disembarkation as we had a late flight. Why 3 times? Because it was evident that they were making up their own rules. We had an Aurea Suite so I was given the impression we had some choice in this. I got 3 Different answers from 3 different reception staff: 1. Sorry latest you can stay in room is 8am and latest on ship is 10am. Not any longer 2. You must vacate room at 8am but I will make a note to give you black tags on last day so you can disembark 11:30 (On the last night we got blue tags with disembarkation at 8:30am) 3. Do not take out your luggage on the last night so you bring them down to the "hand luggage" desk in the morning, by latest 8am. Then you can stay on the ship till latest 12:00 but we cannot help you with the luggage and you cannot reenter the room after 8am. We decided to follow the instruction of number 3 as it was the closest to our wishes. The only thing is that help with the luggage would have been appreciated but I guess its fine. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
first time cruisers and didnt know what to expect but we had a great time. Ship is immaculate, pool area is great to spend time around with waiters taking drinks orders from your lounger. Buffet is busy but food is excellent especially the ... Read More
first time cruisers and didnt know what to expect but we had a great time. Ship is immaculate, pool area is great to spend time around with waiters taking drinks orders from your lounger. Buffet is busy but food is excellent especially the pizza that is made frah infront of you. Restaurant was good tried something different every night. Shows were good we all enjoyed them and not too long which we prefered. Entertainment staff were great from the pool games, sail away parties, evening parties everybody enjoying themselves. The ports of call were good, we did our own thing at each port and got a taxi to Pompei just outside the port. We were a bit un sure after reading some negative reviews but shouldnt of worried we couldnt think of a single negative the kids didnt want to leave the ship and we are going to book msc grandiosa for next year! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
Chose to book our 1st family holiday abroad on a cruise after watching the cruise channels and seeing the MSC Bellissima, it was important to us that the ship we went on had activities for children as we have a 9 & 8 year old, it had ... Read More
Chose to book our 1st family holiday abroad on a cruise after watching the cruise channels and seeing the MSC Bellissima, it was important to us that the ship we went on had activities for children as we have a 9 & 8 year old, it had an aqua park , rope climb and small arcade. The ship itself is stunning, everything is well designed and the staff keep it well cleaned at all times, we had housekeeping visit our cabin twice a day. The pool is large and a great place to spend the day. The entertainment staff had daily activities such as dance lessons, aerobics and games to keep passengers occupied, often they would have ‘sail away parties’ when leaving ports and had everyone up dancing. All staff are really nice and helpful, never had a problem and service was excellent, with waiters even taking drinks orders from your sun lounger. The food in the buffet was nice and plentiful, the pizza especially! Food in the main restaurant varied each day and was delicious. We booked a show each night after dinner and enjoyed every one, and then afterwards went to the themed parties hosted in the main gallery or the pool. Our cabin was clean and not too cramped, with our premium plus drinks package we even had access to the mini bar. We didn’t book any excursions with MSC, as when we got off at the ports there were plenty of tourist information staff to help us book a cheaper tour. Enjoyed every moment, and have even booked our next cruise in 2020 with the same itinerary on the MSC Grandiosa - we cant wait!! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We were a group of 8, some seasoned cruisers some for the first time. We are long time cruisers with Celebrity Concierge Class. We booked a year before the ship went in the water. Unlike other cruise lines, we had no pre cruise ... Read More
We were a group of 8, some seasoned cruisers some for the first time. We are long time cruisers with Celebrity Concierge Class. We booked a year before the ship went in the water. Unlike other cruise lines, we had no pre cruise communication via email from MSC. The MSC app only worked half the time. We all booked a balcony stateroom Aurea Class with Premium Plus drink package. MSC changed the drink package in October, however since we paid the upgrade prior to this date we were to be grandfathered into the maximum drink package available. Which we were not. MSC miscommunicated this info to our travel agent 6 times. We found this out during our first dining experience. Not a great start. Our room was 13119, and although the closet space is very limited, the balcony was huge. Zoe never worked for any of us. There was a smell from the shower drain that at times was unbearable. Our stateroom attendant was amazing however the smell remained. Unacceptable for a new ship. There is no account access on the TV, so if you need to confirm on board charges you must stand in line with everyone else at Guest Services, waste of time. The mini bar was convenient and well stocked daily. The walls seemed very thin, I could hear guest next to us often as well as the room above us. Unfortunately I had to complain, it was 3 am. We were never advised that the ship only holds 250EU on your account for on board expenses. This may be due to the card being in Canadian funds, but no explanation was ever given. This amount was spent quickly at the spa, so when it came time to buy a 7.00 gelato we were refused. Off to Guest Services once again to swipe our card. Food in the dining room was a 2 at best. We witnessed no dress code being enforced even on Gala Nights. We saw passengers with jean shorts, t shirts and ball caps allowed in the Lighthouse dining room. Our table attendants were fantastic, very attentive however the food came out at different times. Not the dining experience you would expect when you read the marketing statements on the MSC web page. We had one specialty dinner at the steakhouse and all but one entrée was perfect. Really enjoyed the food and service. We ate breakfast and lunch in the dining room, and service was hit or miss. Food was average. The Market Place Buffett, sub par with a small healthy food selection for such a large space. The Spa is beautiful and worth every penny. The staff were incredible and treatments are priced comparable to most spas at sea. The main pool...well if you like your deck chair to be packed in like sardines, a drink at the only pool bar next to the smoking section, enjoy very loud music and pool games, screaming kids in the pool as well as kids running on deck with no adult supervision, and not being allowed to sit on the pool deck with a drink in your hand and feet in the water then this is the cruise for you. Again reading the description of the pool deck for the Bellissima this is not what we expected. The second pool was the same and the aft pool was so small that again the kids took over, while the parents reserved empty pool chairs. Deck 19 reserved for Aurea Class does not have a pool, only a hot tub , no bar, but deck chair bar service. Great views but anyone can buy a day pass. The main pool is located two decks below. The gym is very small for the amount of passengers on board. We enjoyed the Champagne bar at night, and the staff were excellent. However they only serve Champagne so if you want a mixed cocktail you need to go to an other bar. We all enjoyed the F1 race car experience, 10.00eu p/p per ride well worth it. We did two excursions booked direct with MSC. Portofino and Capri. Both excellent once you get there. However we were sent back to Naples on a local ferry from Capri which was standing room only. Locals and tourists had suitcases that took up seats. I believe when you book a tour with the ship then the transfer back to port should be on a boat for that tour only. Yes the ship is beautiful but for the 5000.00usd price tag for 7 days, it did not meet our expectations based on the information provided on the MSC web. MSC does a great job marketing this ship with no execution. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this cruise because the ship was brand new with an amazing itinerary. We went to great ports, Barcelona, Marseilles, Genoa, Naples, Messina and Malta. Embarkation and disembarkation were super easy. Here are some of the positives ... Read More
We chose this cruise because the ship was brand new with an amazing itinerary. We went to great ports, Barcelona, Marseilles, Genoa, Naples, Messina and Malta. Embarkation and disembarkation were super easy. Here are some of the positives and negatives: Positive Nice clean new boat Buffet food very good quality Excellent pizza Great ports to visit Guest services - spoke English Many handwashing stations around buffet area NEGATIVE REVIEWS: No self service laundry - plan on handwashing or bring plenty of clothes Pool closes 8pm - no time to enjoy the pool after a day in port Complimentary restaurants - seafood and veal and lamb food was terrible Food is not labeled for seafood/nut allergies. I missed seeing Naples due to seafood allergy because MSC does not label their foods. Buffet is like a stampede - rude people; Buffet area not big enough for amount of passengers No communication or announcements about activities and such They keep you guessing about time off and on the boat Not enough public bathrooms Beds are hard as a rock No adult pool/hot tubs Zoe did not work at all They took my plates and cups while I’m eating Safety briefing was not an English Disembarkation meeting Not in English Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
A very beautiful and well designed ship. My fourteenth cruise, and first on MSC and would definitely do it again. The ship is gigantic, but handles the throng of people quite well. I have been on other mega ships and although the ... Read More
A very beautiful and well designed ship. My fourteenth cruise, and first on MSC and would definitely do it again. The ship is gigantic, but handles the throng of people quite well. I have been on other mega ships and although the difficulty getting near the pool at the end of the afternoon is typical, I could always find a chair somewhere, even if I had to do a lot of searching. Seven hot tubs I believe, and could usually find space in one - I wish they left at least one open later for a little tubbing under the stars. All the waterworks close quite early unfortunately. My cabin was typically sized, but you could tell a lot of thought went into the design with some nice modern amenities, like a USB charge port in the bed lamp, both 110 and 220 plugs so an adapter is not needed, lots of under bed space to hide those suitcases, and a reasonable large (for a cabin) shower. NIce to include a foot bar to assist in the tiny space. Water temp needed regular adjusting depending on time of shower, but I could always get to hot water - unlike some ships during prime time. Embark and disembark easy and uncrowded. Customer service regularly reachable. Very nice that all the bars have espresso machines, instead of a single cafe as some ships. Ya you gotta pay but I like that was included in my drink package - being a caffine-o-holic. I found the service exceptional everywhere, especially the bars, sometimes the cocktail servers are a little grumpy - its a thankless job - but a smile on my part would usually warm em up. I have always liked the free soft serve machine in the buffet on other ships, so paying for ice cream on this shp - spendy I might add - is a no no as far as I'm concerned. i rarely do the buffet, but few times was adequate and never too crowded. Like most ships, getting a table a prime time takes a little work. For a European ship, I would have expected decent brewed coffee, theirs sucked badly. I stuck to espresso. I liked going to the dining room for breakfast, heavily staffed and few people do it - so you get great service. Gotta put up with that coffee, but tons of croissants and baked goods, eggs always cooked correctly, and good juices. A very nice start to the day but you got to get up. So staying up late is nice on this ship, they have the typical and well done pool parties, then a DJ on the back deck till the very wee hours - 3am+ not atypical. Mixed crowd, with younger as it gets later of course but lots of dancing. You learn on this ship not to try to order at the bar, but find a server and place your order with them - much easier and faster then trying to pin down a busy bartender. Great selection of specalty restaurants - always room because they charge a substantial premium to go. Other lines seem to charge a bit more for restaurants (well you did already pay for dinner in the dining room), but these guys charge pretty much full price. Loved the steakhouse and french restaurant, didn't do others. If you want to get away from the masses and feel special come here, or feel like the old cruise days, come here during formal night. I suggest you find out when they do the specialty restaurant tasting night - where you go to each one and taste a bite of their wares. It was not heavily attended, and was fun and tasty. I also did the wine tasting with the sommelier David Campaniello and albeit more expensive than others I have done on other ships (80E) we had 7 great wines, a great education and good pairing appetizers (blueberries, strawberries, ham, foie grois). I learned a lot about great Italian wines, and regions, food pairing and we all had a great time (3 amerians, 5 belgians). That evening I was dining in the Steakhouse, and I saw the Sommelier and I asked if he chose the by the glass wines, because for a red meat location, the wines by the glass were embarrasing. He then made the effort to go the French restaurant where we did the tasting and bring me back a leftover glass of wine from the tasting to have with my steak, now that is exceptional service! and I will tell the story 100 times (I own 3 bars :) I will definitely do MSC again, they have two big new ships starting in 2020, and I will do one if not both depending on where they go. I fell in love with Malta -also first time. I was pleasantly surprised by these guys and the service and the ship - 5 stars. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
The ship is brandnew and it shows - on the positive and negative. Positive: Fantastic facilities, the LED screen in the Galleria is awesome, modern style, everything shiny and new. Negative: The Crew hasn´t been working together for ... Read More
The ship is brandnew and it shows - on the positive and negative. Positive: Fantastic facilities, the LED screen in the Galleria is awesome, modern style, everything shiny and new. Negative: The Crew hasn´t been working together for a long time, the processes need some time to be ironed out. Some of the crewmembers, especially in service, seem to be new. This translates into reduced service. We´ve been to the Preziosa a few years ago and it was completely different to can only relate it that the crew needs some time to get into the routine. The ship is HUGE! It takes some time to navigate it and but then works very well. I would advise to try it at least once to see if this is something you enjoy. For our tastes it was too big and in the future we´d be looking into the Fantastica Class again. Th shows that we visited were of high quality standards, we really liked them. However, we were underwhelmed by the Cirque du Soleil show. The were only 3 "real cirque" acts and the cocktail was watery and full of sugar. We had the Premium Drinks Package and total got our worth. Would do it anytime again. However, it is sad that the ice cream at the pool is not included in the Premium Package for adults, however it is included in the one for kids. Luckily we had kids with us so could use their cards. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Six of us were taking this cruise, two who had never cruised before and were very excited. I had read the bad reviews and was a little anxious. However! Everything was bob on and we had a great time! We took private transfers from ... Read More
Six of us were taking this cruise, two who had never cruised before and were very excited. I had read the bad reviews and was a little anxious. However! Everything was bob on and we had a great time! We took private transfers from the airport to port in Barcelona. Checking in was fairly quick and we were on the ship at 1pm. Rooms were not ready until 2.30pm to we explored and had some drinks at the bar and some lunch in the buffet, which was quite crowded. We liked the waiter call button on the tables for drinks! We had balcony cabins on the 9th deck, mid ship and near to the lifts. The cabin was fab, plenty of room, great bed and kept very clean by the steward. Zoe still does not work! We were allocated a table in the restaurant on 6th Deck and our waiter was Myra. She was happy and smiling and chatty and could not do enough for us. The food was amazing – how people can complain I don’t know. Wine glasses kept full all the time – it did help perhaps that we tipped her 10 euros each night…..We found the buffet to be bedlam all the time with especially the Italians having no concept of queueing, so chose to eat breakfast and lunch in the restaurant on deck 5. This was a much more civilised affair as you are waited on, recommended! We are early risers so had no problem finding sun loungers. We did have the big padded ones on a couple of occasions but be aware, the ones at the back of the ship get covered in soot from the funnels and it gets all over you too! The day at sea was very very crowded as you would expect, but we picked our spot early and we were fine. As we booked last year, we had the drinks package and paid £168 each. Seems a lot but we more than had our monies worth! The package included branded spirits, Smirnof and Absolute vodka and Baileys but the Easy package as it now is, doesn’t. If you like a drink it is well worth it as they add 15% to each drink. We did the cirque de soleil, the cocktail and show package at 15 euros. The show was fab but the cocktail not so. You have to add 15% to this so we paid 17.50 euros per person! We also saw a theatre show which the girls enjoyed, the boys not so much. The interactive boards throughout the ship make it easy to book any shows. It was my birthday whilst we were there, so we booked the Tapas restaurant at an extra charge. Don’t bother, the food wasn’t all that but the service was good and I got a free bottle of fizz and a birthday cake and the waiters all sung to me. We tried most of the bars. The English pub serves a selection of English draught beers too. These were included on our drinks package and better than the Heiniken the boys said. The highlight of our trip was meeting the TV personality and sports pundit Chris Kamara, he was so personable and the boys loved the banter with him. A lot of the passengers had no clue who he was! We left the ship at all the ports but did our own thing, mostly HOHO buses. Marsaiile, follow the green line to the free shuttle but into town. We couldn’t find the petit train to get on but saw it passing by. We got a taxi back at 15 euros as bus queue too long. Genoa – 12 euros city tour bus outside the terminal. We then walked around the waterfront. Saw a huge rat here calmly eating in the middle of the path, not scared of humans at all! Naples – we got the HOHO bus. Don’t bother with the red route, it is far too congested in the town and we hated it. Traffic terrible. Noisy dirty place, didn’t like it. Do the Blue coastal route instead. Messina – HOHO bus again but this is not open top, so disappointing but the route was coastal and scenic . Valetta – turn right out of the port and make for the Barakka lift – 1 euro for return trip – well worth it as it is so steep. We wandered round and enjoyed the views. Barcelona – disembarkation very slick. we chose to stay over and had a hotel just 10 minutes from La Ramblas. Again got the HOHO bus – we enjoyed this one the most – 30 euros for day pass. We had the gratuities removed from our bills and tipped as we went along. Guest services do not bat an eye lid at this. Just one thing, the steward helped herself to juice in our mini bar. we would not have known only she left the empty. we confronted her and she replaced it.....otherwise we would of had a charge - its the principal. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
This was our first cruise and we weren't sure if it was going to be something that would suit our family. We also worried a little about some of the negative reviews on this site. The outcome was that we loved the experience and will ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we weren't sure if it was going to be something that would suit our family. We also worried a little about some of the negative reviews on this site. The outcome was that we loved the experience and will certainly cruise again, probably with MSC. We have two girls aged 8 and 10 and they really had a ball. The "kids cruise for free" policy of MSC is the reason that we could afford the cruise in the first place. Yes, four in a cabin can be a crowd at times, but when you consider that the girls' cruise cost us only $59 each in government taxes it is a minor factor. Embarkation and disembarkation were very quick and straightforward. The food in the buffet was plentiful and excellent quality. We used the lighthouse restaurant every evening and it was from very good to excellent. Our waiter was charming and very nice to our girls. The bed in our cabin was super comfortable and the couch had been converted into two generous sized bunk beds. Zoe is useless but the on-board app is really impressive. The kids club took great care of the girls and we purchased two tracker bracelets for €15 each which allowed us to see where they were on the ship at all times. This was very accurate and gave us the confidence to allow them a lot more independence that we would have been comfortable with otherwise. Our favourite bar was the Sky lounge which is adults only. The ambiance was very nice and they serve gorgeous free snacks with your drinks. Tip : The snacks are displayed in a fridge which is built into the bar counter. You just go up and point out what you want. The ship is beautiful and the crew are friendly and polite. We took one excursion to Pompeii with MSC and it was fine. We did a private street food tour in Genoa which was excellent. We used the free shuttle bus into Marseille which you find by following the green line on the pavement from the cruise terminal for about 800m. This walk will save you the price of the MSC transfer into town. We walked around Messina which has surprisingly good shopping if you walk all the way in to the commercial streets. We visited friends in the Three Cities in Malta after walking around Valletta for a while first. Malta was definitely the highlight of the cruise and we intend to return for a longer visit. We really enjoyed relaxing by the pool on the sea day as it had been quite hectic up to that point. The weather was perfect although breezy but we had a nice sheltered spot. Our oldest girl loved the water slides. I liked the casino and found the croupiers very friendly and helpful. I left some money behind me but that's how it goes. My wife, who had never played table games before, showed me how it was done by managing to win a little playing roulette. The cirque show was excellent but the Rock and Roll show was every bit as good. Really excellent performance when you consider there is no charge. Overall a wonderful family holiday. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Having read the reviews for this ship we were worried, a lot of negativity, fortunately most of the critics tended to focus on things that went wrong for them and generalised, some of the criticisms we found very harsh. The food was ... Read More
Having read the reviews for this ship we were worried, a lot of negativity, fortunately most of the critics tended to focus on things that went wrong for them and generalised, some of the criticisms we found very harsh. The food was excellent, the performers at times better than you will see at any west end production, the staff always pleasant and willing to help, they all understood English. Fortunately we had purchased the drinks package last year so we were fortunate to have most drinks included,plus ice cream, water, tea and coffee, if you don't have this package then yes the new ones are expensive. The ship is ultra modern, very big so has lots of people on it, so it can get crowded and noisy, so if you don't like that sort of thing this ship is not for you. I would probably call it a party ship. We have been on the Fantasia before and it was better suited to us with more quiet places to retire too if things got a bit hectic. Ports of call: Marseille: We took the ship shuttle, the walk to the free one was a bit long especially in the heat, this shuttle is not too regular so some people ended up getting a taxi back to ship. Geneo: Nice city within walking distance from the ship. Naples: A big city were the traffic was horrendous , take a trip to Pompeii or sorrento and avoid the city Messina: A disappointment , except for main square nothing much else to see, probably would have been better taking a tour to Etna Valletta: A wonderful city and the highlight of the cruise, easy walk from port then lift up to centre, we took the little train tour from front of cathedral. Friends we met took the island tour which misses Valletta and they were disappointed Barcelona : we were supposed to spend the day here before our flight home, but unfortunately our flight was changed and we missed out, but having been ther before,Minos what a beautiful city it is. The day at sea was a waste for us and the next time we cruise we will make sure it has no days at sea. In summary, there is nothing wrong with this ship or MSC, it up to the individual what they want from a cruise, if crowds, noise and partying are not your thing this probably wouldn't be for you. Would I cruise on it again, no I would go for a smaller ship and a better itinerary , with no days at sea. A final point, the excursions are too expensive, there are many companies which will sort these out for you at a more reasonable cost. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Background: I’m in my 50s. I live in California and work for a major Wall Street firm. I’ve been cruising for roughly 25 years and have previously cruised MSC, Carnival, Celebrity, Croisieres de France/Pullmantur, Royal Caribbean, ... Read More
Background: I’m in my 50s. I live in California and work for a major Wall Street firm. I’ve been cruising for roughly 25 years and have previously cruised MSC, Carnival, Celebrity, Croisieres de France/Pullmantur, Royal Caribbean, Princess, and Norwegian. Prior MSC Experience: We did an 11 night on Divina in late 2015 and loved it. I then booked a 4 night out of Barcelona, but MSC changed it to a 20 day out of Brazil. No phone call from MSC, no e-mail, no letter, no notification in any way. They even changed the date of the sailing. Then, they took away my Voyagers Club points because I hadn’t sailed in 3 years, after promising they wouldn’t and even though the reason for this was their fault. I’ve written a post detailing some of my frustrations that can be found by Googling MSC Comedy of Errors. There are things to like a lot about MSC, but some service-related problems that should be improved upon. Pre-Cruise: We embarked out of Barcelona. We booked a lovely and centrally located apartment near Passeig de Gracia which worked out perfectly. Barcelona is a great city, so don’t miss out on spending some time there. It’s now the 3rd most visited city in Europe, after Paris and Rome. We were surprised that MSC did not offer tours in Barcelona, so we booked 2 privately. I think they may have missed some opportunity there. Savvy Tip: If you stay in Barcelona, use taxis rather than the Metro (subway) to get around. We had dinner with a group of 11 and 2 of them were pickpocketed on the Metro. Cabs are cheap, usually quick, and less confusing. Embarkation: In Rome, our prior Embarkation on Divina was so fast and smooth. So we wondered if the experience would be the same on Bellissima out of Barcelona. And it was extremely fast and well-organized. This is an area where MSC seems to excel. The Ship: Beautiful! Obviously, it’s almost new, but there is lot of thought and technology put into this ship. The ultra-high definition screen over the promenade is stunning and MSC integrates it well into their entertainment. We did much prefer the Grand Atrium layout of Divina, however. Divina’s atrium features soaring elevators that gracefully glide up and down and a much more open and dramatic feel to that area. Bellissima has mirrored ceilings to create the illusion of height, but is not as dramatic or engaging. I’d recommend that MSC go back to more of a soaring, dramatic atrium, like Divina. But otherwise, certainly it was nice. Tip: There is a somewhat hidden glass elevator which some might not be aware of. You can access it from the port (left) side of customer service. It rides on the outside of the ship and features nice views during the day. Our Room: We stayed in balcony cabin 13021, which is technically Aurea class. But we didn’t get the extras since we only purchased the Fantastica experience. The room was an upgrade due to a technical problem on their website, which was nice. The room was on the small side, but was always very clean. The bedding, a partnership between MSC and Dorelan, was super comfortable. Our stateroom attendant was extremely friendly, introduced himself and called my girlfriend and me by name during the cruise. He commented that we were always smiling and friendly and never complained when others were grouchy and did little but complain. Well, he didn’t hear me gripe pre-cruise to MSC Customer Service, but it is a good reminder that a smile and a kind word can go a long ways. These folks work hard for little money by our standards. Always do your best to treat them with kindness and respect. We did experience a partial electrical failure that took out our TV, Zoe, some lighting, and the electrical outlets. Maintenance could not repair the issue that day, but they did fix it the following day while we were off the ship. Another Tip: If you press the Do Not Disturb button, the cabin steward’s key will be inactive. So if you forget to turn it off, he/she won’t be able to make up your room. Zoe: Unfortunately, Zoe was nearly useless. I did a YouTube video on this, but I’d say she didn’t understand the request 75%-80% of the time. Nice concept, but needs a lot of work. Food: Generally average to very good. Never great or bad. The food in the buffet during breakfast/lunch/dinner was better than expected, especially after reading some really bad reviews. Everything was very fresh, so our experience was certainly different than others. In the main dining room, meals were acceptable to very good. The best food was on the 2 Gala Nights. One Gala Night was on the last night before disembarkation, which I thought was odd, as most were packing up their clothing. Yes, I know not everyone embarks or disembarks at the same ports, but most seemed to get on and off at Barcelona. Drink Package: We purchased the now discontinued "431" drink package, which covers “house wine” (2 reds, 2 whites, a blush, prosecco dry and prosecco sweet), as well as most “non-premium” specialty drinks. The house wines were mediocre except for the proseccos, which were both pretty good. Their bartenders are uniformly lousy and don’t know how to make a drink. The quality and even character and taste of drinks would vary wildly from one bartender to another. One time, a drink would be terribly sweet, the next time not, but taste like something totally different. They really need to train their bartenders better. We left a number of drinks on the table almost untouched because they were so bad. Entertainment/Animation Crew: Fantastic! Some have complained about the entertainment, but we both thought it was the best we’ve seen on any ship. The entertainers were really good and the crew really got the audience engaged. These folks worked really hard, and it paid off. The lighting and sound system on Bellissima is excellent with one exception. For some reason, the sound system in the Bellissima Bar and Lounge sounded muted and flat. Cirque at Sea: Enjoyable and generally worth the price. However, there was a bit of false advertising involved. The show included a cocktail and the description read, “Choose from our selection of creative cocktails made with or without alcohol to your liking and enjoy it’s surprising freshness…”. However, they had only pre-made and presumably watered down (from melting ice) Gimlets. I told them that I was a type 2 diabetic and that drinking such a sugary drink was not the best option for me. I asked if they could make me something else and was told “no”. The only other option was fruit juice, which is also too sugary for me. Cirque Tip: Reserve the shows online before you board. They were all sold out and if you wait, you might not get to see a Cirque at Sea show. I do feel that they were worthwhile, although not thrilled about the aforementioned drink issue. Tours: We booked 3 MSC tours. We loved the Amfali Coast tour out of Naples and felt it was a good value. It seemed to sell out and disappeared from the onboard list of offerings, so probably a good idea to book online in advance like we did. We also enjoyed the Aix en Provence and Marseille 2 Cities tour. Well worth the money. The Portofino tour was really disappointing. It’s not that Portofino isn’t pretty, quaint and worth visiting. It’s just that you’re only there for roughly 1 hour. And the tour could easily stay there another 2 hours, so I have no idea why they rush you out so quickly. And further, you have to get on the boat to leave Portofino at noon, for no obvious reason. Guess when most restaurants and business in Portofino open? Yes, at noon. It was perplexing and this needs to be improved upon. Give the guests 3 hours in Portofino instead of 1 hour. They’ll easily make it back to the ship well before it departs. The Crew: Room for improvement, but mostly pretty good. Not as friendly as on some cruise lines, but not as grouchy as the funky Eastern European crew that we had on Divina who seemed to hate their jobs and the passengers. Most were very helpful. Not everyone spoke great English, but usually communication was not a major issue. Let me single out one man who had an attitude that I did not enjoy, and that is the restaurant manager. In short, I had booked the later dinner, but our booking got fouled up in several ways. They never did correct my prior efforts to fix my late seating request, so I figured I’d straighten it out onboard. They sent me to the restaurant manager, who looked very, very irritated. And in an irritated voice, he said, “Do you have any idea how many passengers I have to accommodate? 5,600! And you want your seating changed, right?”. I thought he was pretty uncool and unfriendly, but I just bit my tongue and thanked him for his efforts. Shops: Not bad, but can use improvement. Divina had a more interesting and eclectic selection of items that I was actually interested in. The Passengers: Mostly European. Maybe 10% American like me. Nice people. Not as fat as most Americans. Sorry if that’s crass, but it’s true. They seem to stay out late and be kind of fun, party people most of the time. I did not witness any bad behavior during our cruise. Smoking was not an issue either, which was a good thing. Medical Emergency: On the final full day, we had a medical emergency, which required that the Italian Military airlift by helicopter a 55-year old American woman. The airlift was carried out swiftly and with precision. The captain explained very clearly what was occurring and told us that there would be no delay due to this onboard emergency. It was well-executed and communications about the incident was very good. Disembarkation: NO LINE WHATSOEVER! Can you imagine? Not a whiff of a line getting off the ship. I had an early flight and customer service was very accommodating and changed my time to an earlier departure. Again, this seems to be a strong area for MSC. Final Thoughts: While things are never perfect, I think MSC gets a bad rap, often unfairly. They do need to improve their customer service, but I believe that some issues are overblown and overstated. Their new ships are beautiful and can represent a very good value. MSC just needs some tweaks to really step up their game. We have enjoyed our cruises on MSC and we have 2 more booked. If you are patient and focus on the positives and not every little nitpicking thing, I believe you will enjoy cruising on MSC in general and the beautiful new Bellissima in particular. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
We (13 people) just come back from the new MSC ship Bellissima, 5/17-5/24, 2019. This was the first and will be the last with MSC cruise line. We are a mix bag of families and friends from Hong Kong and USA, age 20 to about 75. Love ... Read More
We (13 people) just come back from the new MSC ship Bellissima, 5/17-5/24, 2019. This was the first and will be the last with MSC cruise line. We are a mix bag of families and friends from Hong Kong and USA, age 20 to about 75. Love travel, love cruising. Enjoy good food and have good amount of experience with other cruise lines. There are many reasons we do not like this cruise line (see below). We bought the 'Fantastica experience' because the luxury 'yacht club' cabins were sold out. There are so many levels of 'experience'. We choose the middle one. That became the major reason we will not choose this cruise line again: Detail: One of the cabin ran out of facial tissue. Asked the steward and he said only one box of facial tissue was allowed for the whole 7 days trip. There was no wash cloth provided neither. How can we clean and dry our face? Toilet paper? Asked customer service, who asked us back: 'Are you in yacht club cabin?' 'No.' 'Then for environmental reason, we only offer one box of facial tissue for your cabin.' WHAT???? That means the yacht club (people who paid more) did not have to care about the environment and can have more than one box of facial tissue? Is it hypocrite or discrimination? Or both? The rest of the bad experience were: - Pre-trip, we tried to buy restaurant package online, which offered to choose the date and time of dining. We did, but the system gave us different date and time after check out. We wanted to eat together. Called but no help because we bought the cruise via third party. We cancel the purchase and bought again, and again, and again. No luck. Never gave us the date and time we wanted. No help even after many calls. Different agents gave us different answers. Some even lied. At the end we had to rush to check in early onto the ship in order to rush to the restaurants to make sure we got the same date and time. So much anxiety! Really unhappy even before the cruise. - bought premium drink package. Did not worth it. Individual drinks (both alcohol and non alcohol) were reasonable price onboard anyway. If you will be out everyday day for excursion like us, you would not drink that much. Besides, you have to buy the same package for all people in the same cabin even only one person drink. We lost big money out of this policy. - Quality of drink (even the same drink) were different from bar to bar. Some were really awful. Coffee was all bad. Premium coffee even worse. - bought 4 restaurants package. The package menu choices in all 4 restaurants were very limited. (You would not know it until you sit down at the restaurants.) All the really good food were not in the package menu in all 4 restaurants. So we choose to pay more on top of the (already paid) package each time. Still very disappointed with the quality and taste of food. We rated them from B- to C. So disappointed! - The virtual reality race car was terribly designed. You must be physically fit to get in and out of the car. The experience was not 'real' at all anyway. Waste of money. (The rest of the games at the game room are good though, if you are willing to pay the US $12 to US$18 per game plus 15% service charge.) - The free rope walking activity (the one that surround the water park) was fun for some people but not enough warning: there was no 'going back', nor option to come down if you feel incapable after entering. Some of us did that. Some had fun, some was horrified. But it did not looked scary until you got up, when there was no coming down. You had to finish the whole course once you were up. This activity was poorly designed. - Dining room designed was the worst we ever seen, in compare with other cruise line. No grand decoration, no character. Unpleasant. - Cabin theme color was dark and depressing. Color of carpet was horrible and cheap, did not match anything in the room. And makes the small cabin look even smaller. The only good thing about the cabin was the smart utilize of tiny space. - No game room, which was our usual gathering and social place at all our many previous cruising. No. Not in MSC. - Zoe was useless, as noted by many travelers. - Many billing mistakes. Meaning many trips to customer service. Well, we had time to spare, not much to do on the ship anyway. We advice you to watch your bill closely by using the MSC app. The good: - Crews overall were polite and helpful. Some stewards even noted our needs (Jars of hot water, wash cloth etc.) And had them ready in the cabin everyday. - Beautiful LCD dome. - Chocolate shop sold good quality chocolate. (not include in cruise package) - Shows every night were good quality (except the magic show.) We can use the MSC apps to reserve, which was great. They were not Broadway shows but very well done. - Food at complimentary buffet and dining room are overall B+ to A. Hit and miss, which is common in many mid-price cruise. We regret we bought the 4 restaurants package. We should have op to go to dining room and buffet instead. - Check in and check out were smooth, despite the rain. - Live music all day. Like them all. It made the run to customer service a little more bearable. Neutral: - The two Cirque de Soleil shows were $18 each with drink. Yes we watched both. (There was not much to do since we did not dance nor sing) Short and sweet. The same company at Macau and Las Vegas use real water (characters jump in and out of water) and in much larger scale. For people who have already watch them in Macau and Las Vegas, disappointed. But for people who never have the experience, it is good chance to get a taste of it, and with a very good price. Just one thing: there was a night that they only served grapefruit juice as non-alcoholic drink. Big risk. Grapefruit interact with many medications which double or triple the medication effectiveness. In short it causes overdose. Please serve other juice instead. - gym is smaller than average. OK for short cruise. At the end, MSC lost 13 customers by refusing to offer one more box of facial tissue. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We had not sailed with MSC before but 14 cruises with other company’s Excellent service and we had a coeliac in our group could not of been more helpful even packing lunch bag for shore lunch The shows were exceptional with great ... Read More
We had not sailed with MSC before but 14 cruises with other company’s Excellent service and we had a coeliac in our group could not of been more helpful even packing lunch bag for shore lunch The shows were exceptional with great variety and talented entertainers We could not of asked for more from this cruise very enjoyable ports The spa bath often had young children in them This I wonder if hygienic Loved deck 18 adults only bar Overlooking the pool area great spot for a quite moment The internet package was quite expensive didn’t purchase for this reason The ship never felt crowded only place I noticed noisy was the buffet are quite busy after shore excersion because the dining room shut at 1.30 they could possibly extend this until 2 pm to take the pressure if the buffet Over all the cruise was value for money with excellent food and entertainment we will return to MSC cruises again Thankyou Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Mediterranean Itinerary. Was it perfect, no. Did we have a nice time, yes ! First time on MSC and it's definitely different than Celebrity or Royal. Easy check in and disembark. You won't see the cruise director much and the ... Read More
Mediterranean Itinerary. Was it perfect, no. Did we have a nice time, yes ! First time on MSC and it's definitely different than Celebrity or Royal. Easy check in and disembark. You won't see the cruise director much and the engagement activities are very limited. The entertainment for most of the week were the on board singers/dancers. There were "ok". The rock show was very good. The others; not so much. We had superior service and attention in the dining room - the best of any cruise I have been on. The waiter struggled a bit with english and seemed a little less experienced than on other cruises, but his willingness to serve and satifsy was 150%. We had regular visits from managment staff to ensure we were enjoying everything. Food was very good. Desserts were excellent ! The ship was clean and spacious. The chocolate/coffee bar was a bit of a miss for me. The coffee isn't included in any package(disappointing) but coffee is at almost every bar. No take away cups/lids. If you enjoy walking around with a coffee (i think it's an american thing) you could bring an insulated reusable cup with you. We didn't bring kids, but the kids club did look amazing and you could tell the kids loved it. Our balcony cabin was spacious and very comfortable. Lots of elevators and we didn't wait long even on busy times during the day. Americans were only about 10% of the passengers. Overall it was a very good experience. The ports were beautiful and the price with MSC was so reasonable. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
This is the first time my husband and I cruised.so we have little to compare with but these are our thoughts.+embarking and disembraking was easy and smooth.Trips off the boat were ok.we cruised the med but in fairness when you see one ... Read More
This is the first time my husband and I cruised.so we have little to compare with but these are our thoughts.+embarking and disembraking was easy and smooth.Trips off the boat were ok.we cruised the med but in fairness when you see one place you seen them all,none were out of the ordinary and we got off at all ports (except Malta which looked gorg but hubby had vomiting and diahorrea which I took two days later and every other person we spoke to had as well !!! This just confirmed for me that people always get sick on cruise ships).anyway ,the boat itself is huge but full of accommodation and little else.restaurants with special dinning packages that if you already paid for food in the restaurant why would you pay for again! There were few people in them ,I think of you were lucky about 6 at anyone time and they constantly keep pushing the sale of them.well I think if I wanted them you would have booked them before you left.if not then you should feel free to try without pressure.But in all honesty we had the restaurant each evening and the food it it was wonderful.The entertainment was good,and shows excellent.shops if you had plenty of money to spend as they were all designer .plenty of entertainment for kids but at a cost.Everything was extra ,the aquapark,the ropes the amusement arcade and it wasn't cheap,so parents bring plenty of money with you.The buffet always busy ,breakfast choice good.went once when hubby ill for dinner ,not up to much then!a lot of wasted space with unnecessary things ,more seating would have be more appropriate.When you didn't get get off the ship at port ,everything was closed til 6pm when everyone was back on board.slightly boring!! Especially when weather poor.all in all cruising is not for us too regimented. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
I have never been on MSC but thought we would try the newest ship MSC Bellissima, what a big mistake, money wasted, thrown into the deep sea. I will NEVER EVER CRUISE with MSC again in my life. The staff does not know how to treat the ... Read More
I have never been on MSC but thought we would try the newest ship MSC Bellissima, what a big mistake, money wasted, thrown into the deep sea. I will NEVER EVER CRUISE with MSC again in my life. The staff does not know how to treat the guests, secondly most of them could not understand English (thought it is an International cruise ship but obviously not!) VERY OFTEN there was no sanitizer in the containers at the entrances of the restaurants which is not acceptable. The entertainment is poor except the Cirque du Soleil. We used our swimming towels the 2nd day and it was never replaced. We did not stop in Marseille because of bad weather they say, but did dock to pick passengers up and was not refunded in ANY WAY because of this. I bought an excursion before the cruise and when I went to the Reception desk to ask what refund I will be getting because they did not let us go off the ship in Marseille, they told me in their broken English that it is not possible as I did not book it through MSC. We met up with a young couple that was on their honeymoon, which also had the same feeling as us because he got food poisoning, ended up in the first aid centre and also said NEVER EVER WILL THEY CRUISE ON ANY MSC ship. MSC is not GUEST ORIENTATED BUT MONEY ORIENTATED. You must even buy water if you want water with your evening dinner if it is not in the Market Place. VERY VERY EXPENSIVE SHIP. Oh yes and then please check your cutlery and cups when using it, we had to take a few sets of cutlery to see which are the cleanest. We actually gave one spoon to the "Manager" that was walking around in the MARKET PLACE BUFFET AREA and told him he must take some dessert to the captain and insist he eat it with that dirty spoon. It is ridiculous what you pay and what you get. No Jean Phillipe chocolate fountain! My bed was some nights not even opened. The glass I have used in the cabin was never ever replaced or cleaned in the 7 days we were on that ship. It is disgusting!!!!!!! MSC you have not impressed me and have failed miserably. Get your act together!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The normal shows in the LONDON THEATRE must be booked otherwise you are not allowed in, it's a joke!! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We had been on MSC Seaview late last year, and while on board we took the opportunity to book this cruise and take the option of trying "Club Class". So we arrive at the port in Barcelona where we are immediately relieved of ... Read More
We had been on MSC Seaview late last year, and while on board we took the opportunity to book this cruise and take the option of trying "Club Class". So we arrive at the port in Barcelona where we are immediately relieved of our cases and escorted to the "Yacht Club" lounge area where our cruise ticket and passport were taken to process our booking. Meanwhile we are offered champagne and canapes which were very nice. Then we are escorted directly through check-in and security check, after which we were escorted directly to the ship and taken to deck 16 which is the entry deck of "Club Class". Then on into the Sky Lounge where we met Raj one of the concierges, he explained all the choices we had in relation to eating and excursions, he also helped us log on to the ships Wi-Fi system. He asked did we want any news papers,so we got the "Irish Independent" delivered to our room every morning. Madie our butler came and took us to our room, where our luggage had been delivered, we were given her phone number for use 24 hours a day. Restaurants we were taken to the "Yacht Club" restaurant where we had lunch served by happy cheerful staff. Unlike most ships restaurants this had many tables for two, and plenty room to move around. We booked dinner for 21:00 that evening. On arriving for dinner we were seated at a table near the window, then offered a drink,which we availed of. Presented with the menu containing quite an extensive choices, the waiter told us about the specials and gave us some suggestions. Given the level of service and extensive menu we decided we would dine in this restaurant for the cruise for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Wondering through this vast ship we say the wonderful crystal staircases throughout the ship. The shopping arcade area has the most wonderful lighting system constantly changing views. Plenty shopping opportunities and as always on cruises the constant special offers sales. Numerous bars and coffee shops, large casino for those that fancied a flutter. We were so impressed with the whole "Yacht Club" experience that we went to meet Claudia the "Book Your Next Cruise" Rep and selected another cruise next September, she printed out the details. As i did not take my wallet, she said she would be in the Sky Bar that evening and I would pay the deposit. So as promised Claudia arrived and we went over to see her, she then said she had looked at our booking and had got an even better offer which reduced the cost so we happily paid our deposit and retired to have another G & T Unfortunately all good things have to come to an end, we had our breakfast and then back to the room and a last tidy up. we were then directed by Raj to the bar and we would be called for disembarkation. Madie arrives and takes us down to deck 4 and the gangway and on to baggage reclaim where she gets our cases and takes out to the taxi rank and calls us a taxi and loads in the cases and we say our goodbyes. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
I booked this cruise as I really liked the look of MSC Bellissima, and the timings worked as part of a 4 week Europe trip. Was a little nervous as I'd never cruised before, and have been a completely independent traveler all ... Read More
I booked this cruise as I really liked the look of MSC Bellissima, and the timings worked as part of a 4 week Europe trip. Was a little nervous as I'd never cruised before, and have been a completely independent traveler all around the world for a decade. However the 16yo I was traveling with loves cruises, and the ports (particularly Messina and Valetta), were very appealing to me. We had a great time, as plenty of Cruise Critic reviews and forum posts had me well prepared for the oddities we found onboard, and we just went with the flow and didn't let those petty things ruin what is overall a very fun and relaxing vacation. The food in the MDR was solid but not spectacular. I'm a pretty fussy foodie and had no problem enjoying what was there. Staff were great too. Had breakfast, lunch and a couple of dinners in the buffet, and also found the food pretty decent with a good variety. The buffet was busy but not overwhelming. It's worth noting the fresh mozzarella and ricotta onboard were absolutely brilliant, and made for really great pizzas available all day and almost all night. We really loved the midnight snacks that were in the buffet for the late night munchies. Most definitely see a Cirque show, my teen wasn't very keen but then found himself really enjoying Syma, absolutely spectacular given the small space. A really intimate and enjoyable show. The itinerary was a highlight, with all the ports being very central and the view from the ship itself was worth the price alone. It was like having a 20 storey viewing platform and looking of the Strait of Messina towards Mt Etna at sunset on sailaway was something divine. The oddities: - drink packages were deceptive. Had a premium plus package stating "the freedom to quench your thirst however, whenever and wherever you like!". This was only partly true, excluding chocolate drinks from Jean Phillipe, despite my package as I purchased it not mentioning this as an exclusion. Staff outright refused despite showing them the printout. Same problem with the kids package "their choice of alcohol-free cocktails, sodas, energy drinks, bottled mineral water, flavoured water, fruit juices, a wide range of premium coffee drinks, hot chocolate delights etc" Tried to get energy drinks from the Sportsplex bar, and they charged him for it. And there were no 'hot chocoate delights' onboard except for the excluded Jean Phillipe. In the end I just gave up arguing, except pointing out that everywhere onboard they spruiked the packages they had the Jean Phillipe menus there. Incredibly deceptive, and in Australia would earn you a fine for misleading advertising. - Teen area was almost permanently closed. It turns into a 'nightclub' at night and in the morning they just don't bother switching it back. We only saw the PS4 consoles and other 'teen' things once on boarding day, and never again. - Getting sports equipment and other things seemed impossible. We got 4 different pieces of advice to get the small ball for table soccer or just soccer balls for sportsplex, and never managed to work it out. - closing the delightful and warm indoor pool at 8pm was absolutely bizarre, and reeked of trying to get people away from free entertainment to spend money somewhere else. This, combined with the staff sometimes taking over the sportsplex, and the teen area being non-existent, meant my teen had little to do some nights. However we refused to let those little things ruin what was generally great fun. I enjoyed the mixed nationalities onboard, watching the Champions League in the bar was great, some great drinks, the Tapas bar has some excellent food (though pricey compared to Spain of course!). And the vibe was generally relaxed and fun. Once I got used to the idea of 'doing nothing', just lazing by the indoor pool with a kindle and a cocktail, enjoying some beautiful views, really can't be beat. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I have always said, if you don’t enjoy a cruise it’s because you are a miserable person. My husband and I love cruising. We have sailed on Disney, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Princess and Carnival. In April, we sailed on the MSC ... Read More
I have always said, if you don’t enjoy a cruise it’s because you are a miserable person. My husband and I love cruising. We have sailed on Disney, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Princess and Carnival. In April, we sailed on the MSC Bellissima for the first time, and they turned us into those miserable people who hate cruises! We boarded the MSC Bellissima in Barcelona Spain on Friday, 26 April for a seven-night cruise throughout the Mediterranean. The problem started as we boarded. Drink package: We were approached by a crew member (doing her job) to purchase a beverage package. We informed her (first time ever) that we wouldn’t need one. This cruise had five stops to incredible ports in France, Italy and Malta. There was only one day at sea and our package included twelve free drinks each per person. Neither I nor my husband drink much so we thought if we drink more than 24 drinks, we will just pay for them. We were politely informed that our package did not indicate any free beverages at all, and she suggested it might be in our best interest to purchase one. ALL beverages, except for “fountain juice” at breakfast in the buffet area and self poured tea and coffee, required purchase. So, we purchased a “premium” package, next best thing to all inclusive. Thinking we can’t go wrong there. It cost $946 Canadian. We soon found out the following: • We went to the chocolate store/ café and asked for a coffee with Baily’s. We were informed our package didn’t cover that. I could go to the bar next door and get it there. • We went to the champagne bar and I asked, “What is a nice champagne?” The bartender suggested a brand. So, I gave him my drink card, he looked at it and passed it back said “Your package only covers drinks up to $10. This champagne is $18 a glass.” So, I said, “Suggest one my package covers.” The bartender gave me the “What the hell do I look like, a servant, look?” That was followed by an eye roll......kid you not. • We dined in the main dining room each night. The water for the table and coffee during meal was charged to our cards. It’s not free as it is on other ships. Imagine, being charged for water! • The drink card can’t be used in the Cirque du Soleil theatre. You have to buy your drinks there. • After supper the waiter came around with shots of Limoncello for $7 each. I gave him my drink card and was told, “It doesn’t cover speciality drinks.” Even though my card covered up to $10 a drink. • The drinks were low on alcohol and high on syrup. Every drink was sugary and thick. Some were undrinkable. • The drink card can’t be used in the theatre. You have to buy your drinks there. Dining: The MSC Bellissima has a choice of 12 dining venues and 20 bars that promise something special for every taste. But only the main dining room and buffet are covered by your fare. We paid $3,691.04 not counting gratuities, drink package and internet charges. We had asked for and received on our booking (confirmed) late dining at a table of six or eight with other couples. We do this as we enjoy meeting others and the late dining gives us more time to enjoy daytime activities/excursions without a rush and no hurry to finish dining as no one coming behind you. The dining was a disaster. • Although we booked for the eight pm setting, we were given the seven pm setting. This wasn’t a problem and we adjusted our day. • We were sat at a table for two. We told the maître d’ that we asked to be seated with other guests. We were instructed to ask people at the next table if they wanted to pull the tables together. While all around us were larger tables with only one or two couple at them. The next evening, we were informed they moved us, without asking. Not expected, but Excellent!! Must be a table with others. No, it was another table for two behind a huge pillar. We told the maître d’ that this was unacceptable, and we were leaving the restaurant. Finally, he put us with a table of three other couples, who turned out to be fabulous people. • This is the first cruise ship where the waiter comes around with a basket of various types of breads. Normally this is laid on the table in fine dining restaurants and cruises. We were told we could pick from the basket and if we wanted more, we had to ask. • Once again, simple things like water and coffee in the dining rooms, are charged to your account. This is normally free on ships. • The menu was unbelievably bad. It looked great on the menu, but the food was substandard. On their web site, they say, “MSC Bellissima's main restaurants serve first-class Mediterranean and international specialities in elegant surroundings. Menus change every day, and exquisite dishes have been created for the Elegant dinners by awarded-winning Spanish Master Chef Ramón Freixa and the Internationally acclaimed German Master Chef Harald Wohlfahrt.” It is the first time I’ve seen a full table send back their food. And we were not the only ones. The food was disgusting. (See the picture of the chicken breast supper). The portions were smaller than a Weight Watchers frozen dinner. Both in the main restaurant and the buffet. The chicken breast was a slice of chicken served with a handful of fries with no vegetables. The beef was served the same way. I would be horrified to serve either to a guest at my house. In each port of call, the restaurants close to the ship’s terminal were full of passengers all with the same complaint of being hungry. I also had two bouts of food poisoning on board. • In the evening we would go to the buffet to see if the food was any better. The buffet closed between 10-midnight. So, we had to wait until midnight for food. The only things served were pizza, fries, fruit (most of it was rotten – see picture) and tiny sandwiches. They had salsa but no chips. • There was no surf and turf night, which is a standard on cruise ships. • The main complaint from everyone we spoke to on the ship was the food and how hungry people were. • It was quite common to find rotten fruit in the buffet. (See picture.) Service: Besides the awful food, the service was just as bad. • On our first excursion day, we had to be at the meeting point by 8 am. We ordered room service. The earliest they will deliver is 7:30 am. I take medication that requires I eat after taking it. The food never turned up. No one called to apologize. It just didn’t happen. When we notified the cabin steward he just shrugged and said, “I don’t know.” • I told the staff that I needed water in my room to take medication. I was charged for the water. (As a point of interest, I made the same request in Las Vegas and they delivered a bar fridge to our room stocked with water free of charge.) • On the first day we boarded we had to go to the buffet until our room was ready. While picking up food two people cut in front of me and pushed me to the side. When I looked, the two were crew members wearing officer’s uniforms. I chalked it up to they were in a rush to get the ship going. But this became the norm. During the ship’s big jewellery sale, I was looking at a watch. Once again, I was pushed to the side by two crew members who were buying up the watches. I have never seen the crew do something like that on any other ship. • The crew are also hard to find and difficult to deal with. If you want one, you’ll find them sitting around the buffet tables talking or on the smoking deck. I have never seen a crew member on another ship smoking with the passengers. • I went to the excursion desk to ask about the excursion we did that day. It was advertised as including lunch and several stops. But that’s not what we got. This was ten pm. The man at the desk said, “We closed five minutes ago, and I can’t deal with you right now. Come back tomorrow.” Then he walked away. There was no more to it than that. Usually on a cruise ship staff will bend over backwards to help you. • In Malta, my back gave out. I have two titanium rods and six screws in my back. After four days of walking I had to return to the ship early to lay down. We approached the first door on the ship and was told by a crew member that that entrance was for ‘elite cruisers’ only. I explained that I was in pain and couldn’t walk. He told me, “Your entrance is down there.” He pointed to the end of the ship. I explained again, thinking maybe he didn’t understand, and explained my medical situation to him. He pulled the rope across the entrance and said, “I told you your entrance is down there.” My husband had to help me walk the length of the ship to get on. • Having said that, not all crew were bad. We had one waiter and one bartender who actually tried their best and did give us good service. • Customer service was non existent. On other cruises, on exiting for an excursion, someone would be on the jetty providing directions to where you needed to go, offering you water or just being available in case you needed to ask a question. None of that existed for MSC. Entertainment: The entertainment was a joke. • There was a piano player and a violinist in the main lobby playing classical music – all week! There was no band to dance to. • The main bar did have a band who were quite good. But they had two singers who had to read the words from sheets on a music stand. They sang the same songs every night but still didn’t know the words. They also couldn’t sing. It became a joke at the bar to see who could identify the song. • Children were also allowed to be in the bars. Which meant half the seating was taken up by bored teenagers and the dance floor had toddlers and young children jumping up and down in between adults who wanted to dance. • The only adults only bar is a jazz piano bar on the top deck (If jazz is your thing). There’s no dance floor. Each night it was full of adults saying, “I’m so bored.” • During one evening the crew were dressed up in these cheap, cheesy costumes like cupid, Popeye the Sailor Man and Jessica Rabbit. I walked by one male crew member who was dressed in a red heart costume with white tights. I honestly though it was a bachelor party and he had lost a bet. It was actually creepy. • The evening shows were excellent and the talent in those shows were amazing, but the shows were only a half hour long. On other ships, the evening show is an hour or more. It’s like you just sit down and you have to get up. And, there is no bar service available at the “normal” shows. Bar service was available at the Cirque shows, but was extra, not covered by a beverage package!! They nickel and dime customers: One of the drawing points for us was the Cirque due Soleil shows. They advertised that twice every night, six nights a week, guests on MSC Bellissima have the unique opportunity to see two original shows by Cirque du Soleil, the world leader in live artistic entertainment, and savour a superb culinary experience in the same glamorous venue. What they don’t tell you is, you have to pay extra for this. • The Cirque shows cost 17.25 euros to see 37.25 if you want dinner with it. You can’t use your drink card in the Cirque theatre. • I believe the food is bad to force you to go to the specialty restaurants on board and spend more money. • They advertise bowling but don’t tell you it costs about 10 euros to play it for 30 minutes. • Everything on board costs extra money. There’s nothing all inclusive about this ship. I estimate it will cost 100 euros a day just to keep your kids entertained. Overall, the ship is absolutely stunning. But the service and food are just not up to par. This is the first time we took a cruise and couldn’t wait to get off. We considered staying at our last port of call and trying to fly back from there. Two other couples warned us about MSC the problems with the food and service. We thought they were just being difficult. Well I can tell you I will never cruise MSC again. We went on this cruise with the intention of booking their Rome to Miami 20 day transatlantic in November. Now I wouldn’t take the cruise for free. I believe you get what you pay for, but we paid more for this cruise than any other cruise we have ever been on. It’s the first time that I felt so hungry on a ship that I was frustrated. It was also quite common to find there is no toilet paper in the public washrooms. The ports of call were fantastic, and we are already planning to go back to explore more of Spain, Italy, France and Portugal, but I will be sticking to Royal Caribbean this time. Out of ten, I give this cruise a three. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
-For my parents´ wedding anniversary we decided to sail on the Bellisima. After a night spent in Barcelona, visiting the Sagrada Familia, we took a taxi to the cruise terminal, which was quite far away from the city center (and the Sants ... Read More
-For my parents´ wedding anniversary we decided to sail on the Bellisima. After a night spent in Barcelona, visiting the Sagrada Familia, we took a taxi to the cruise terminal, which was quite far away from the city center (and the Sants Train Station). Embarkation was quite smooth and easy. Check-in was really fast, and doing it in the phone App is not really necessary. After 10 minutes of waiting, we could enter our cabin, guided by one of the butlers. -The ship itself is stunning. The Bellisima Promenade is absolutley fantastic. The stores are quite expensive, but worth looking at them, especially the Chocolaterie, with stunning chocolate sulpture. Eventhough a couple of days are needed to adapt yourself to your new home, the MSC for me App and the many screens displayed throughout the ship help a lot. -The Marketplace buffet was quite good. For breakfast there is a huge variety of Continental, English, Mediterranean, or even Oriental breakfast. There is free coffee, infusions and water at all times and free juice at breakfast. Our courtesy restaurant was Posidonia. The waiter was quite slow, and most days we took from 19:45 to 21:30, and we could not go to the 21:15 show. On one hand, the entries and main courses were Ok, not very tasty in most cases. But on the other hand, the desserts were extremely tasty and well made. -The animation crew, especially Borja Vila and Sebastiano Avola, did a fantastic job to organise the thematic parties every night and the rest of activities onboard. Everything was very well organised you could definitly feel a special ambient thanks to them. Live music was excellent too, not just for dancing but to listen to while looking at other things. The band `` Nearly a Band ´´, who plays every night before and after the thematic party, had two singers worth listening to. -The shows were the most special part of the cruise. Everyday, a diferent show performed for three times. All of the singers were spectacualr, especially Lindiwe Bugane, who had an amazing voice, pretty much like Jeniffer Hudson. The generes of the spectacles were very variated, anywhere from Opera, or Rock, to Shadow Puppets. -The WiFi service was quite expensive, so I took it as a chance to disconnect. Be sure to put your phone on airplane mode unless you want exra fees charged from your mobile company. The SPA and Massage services were also very expensive and not worth it. Room service was quite efficient and useful. Cirque de Soleil was totalyy worth the price and It´s a must for those who want to experience such a priviledged way of art. The pools and jacuzzis were climatised and confortable, but a bit overcrowded. Dance classes were very easy and the dance teachers were very nice. Gym was free, very good and equiped, and not very crowded. -The shuttle buses are very expensive, and you can get a shuttle bus and a tour for the same price, if booked with another company. Same with excursions. - Our children made friends in the Teen Club. Attention for them is provided throughout the day; but I must say they charge for many things such as the F1 simulator or the arcade. They also had a Kids menu in the Courtesy Restaurant which was quite an advantage for ``difficult´´ kids when it comes to eating. -I would go again and again. Everything was really special. When put together, everything made a truly unique experience, and I have no doubt that this has been one of the best experiences in my life. Thanks to all the crew for making it so special. MSC stands for its name and without doubt I can affirm that after sailing in the Bellisima. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
My husband and I have cruised before on Carnival and Costa. I wanted to take my two sons and daughters in law as well as our 4 grandchildren to Europe and a cruise was an option to visit more than one destination. This was to be a trip of ... Read More
My husband and I have cruised before on Carnival and Costa. I wanted to take my two sons and daughters in law as well as our 4 grandchildren to Europe and a cruise was an option to visit more than one destination. This was to be a trip of a lifetime. We were 10 people in 3 cabins and had the Aurea package. After booking, I started reading some of the reviews and was worried that our cruise would not be up to our expectations. Well I need not have worried. We got on in Barcelona on Easter weekend and the ship was sold out. Embarkation only took minutes and was flawless. We immediately went to the front desk to ask questions and get the locator bracelets for the little ones. We could not have had a more patient person to answer all our questions. The ship itself is stunning. There are lots of spaces to either be alone and quiet or be with people. This is a cruise line that caters a lot to families. If you don't like kids, then this is probably not for you. it was perfect for us. The MSC app was fantastic for knowing everything that is going on, for booking shows and specialty dining. We did not use Zoe so I can't comment on it. We all loved the spa and having the Aurea package allowed us to use the spa every day. it was wonderful after walking for hours. It was very relaxing and beautiful. There was some confusion over the drink package every so often because there had been changes since we booked but we were usually able to get something we wanted. I see some reviewers complaining about having to pay for water. We had to pay for water on Carnival. Our water was included in our drink package and we had no issues. The food was not extraordinary but it was not awful either. i would not say it was much different than what we had elsewhere. We were always able to get something we liked. I fully expect to pay for things like bowling and the F1 simulators. One would never get access to those activities on a ship with this many people unless you pay. Once you are on the ship, there are packages that you can buy for any of those activities that reduce the cost. The Cirque show is excellent but I would agree to not get the dinner package. Just do the show. The other entertainment on stage is varied to appeal to the mixed population on the ship. The other activities like the white night, or tropical night are fun but you don't have to go if it is not your cup of tea. Comments about the staff being rude totally boggles the mind. Being in the hospitality industry, I know these people work hard. A smile and a kind look usually gets you great service and I would have to say that we never had a rude staff person. Some even called us by name. The cabin is small but still 20 square feet larger than the same grade on some other ships. The bathroom is lovely with lots of storage space and shelves. If you tuck your suitcases under the bed, you have enough space. In any case, most people don't spend a whole lot of time in a cabin. I cannot comment on the tours as we booked private tours for our group. Our group was big enough that we did not want to get in with bigger groups and we wanted some flexibility to shorten tours if need be because of the children. All in all a great experience. I would use MSC again if it was going to destinations I wanted. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Bellissima is truly a wonderful ship. Awe inspiring. It has every available resource that you could wish for. It truly is magnificent. The cabin (inside) was so much nicer than portrayed in photos and pre cruise videos. It ... Read More
Bellissima is truly a wonderful ship. Awe inspiring. It has every available resource that you could wish for. It truly is magnificent. The cabin (inside) was so much nicer than portrayed in photos and pre cruise videos. It was stylish spacious comfortable and a great space to enjoy. As a new ship the whole ship is immaculate as would be expected. The restaurants included in your cruise offered a great choice and quality of food. However restaurants felt busy and somewhat manic, speedy food was kind of thrown at you as a chore to be gotten through. In no way is it a reflection on the staff who are run of their feet. Rather a issue of numbers. The individual restaurants you may pay to dine in are unhurried relaxed and offer good service. Particularly impressive was the butchers cut food and staff. Circus solei at sea what a amazing not to be missed experience. Can’t recommend it enough truly great. Downside of this cruise was the sense of hard sell everything has its price. All the facilities on offer that attract you to the ship are expensive extras. You feel that you really add a significant spend to your initial outlay. People are forever in your face trying to sell you additional experiences. I bought a full drinks package, weekly spa package, full WiFi package, 3 restaurants speciality meals and circus solei show with dinner and show with cocktail all before the cruise. I spent the first day and a half of my cruise having to run about from one service to another to finalise packages meals etc. My advice is bar the spa package wait till you get on board. Any package bought pre cruise can not be recompensed when on ship. One real gripe is the WiFi it’s truly atrocious and best forgotten. Certainly not worth paying for the full internet unlimited download. The service hardly works and fully unavailable a serious amount of the time. So exhausting trying to keep resolving problems until I finally gave up and realised it’s a rubbish service and no amount of trying to make it work would. The much vaunted Zoe online assistant is rubbish no use nor ornament. The cruise felt like a cattle market 5000 people. Little space to relax in but really liked the adult only bar. All in all a fanstastic ship with every amenity but to busy to full on not relaxing enough and hard sell really off putting. Glad I did it but wouldn’t do it again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Check-in was quick and easy; less than 15 minutes as there were many staff available. There is a specific area at the Buffet for "children and family" which minimizes the amount of chaos during meal time. We also enjoyed the ... Read More
Check-in was quick and easy; less than 15 minutes as there were many staff available. There is a specific area at the Buffet for "children and family" which minimizes the amount of chaos during meal time. We also enjoyed the Adult's Only Lounge and Bar on the 18th floor where you will find a beautiful view and some relaxing time while overlooking the outdoors. Entertainment each evening was excellent. We never missed a show! Much to do on board; F-1 Simulator, bowling, Virtual Reality games, Cirque Soleil, just to name a few. Heated indoor pool and hot tubs along with outdoor pool/tubs. Spa Thermal area was small but also enjoyable. We found the staff to be friendly and always just a few steps away. Meals at the buffet and dining room were varied and enjoyable. We were given a table for two each evening. As far as the speciality restaurants, we tried both the Sushi restaurant and the UK Pub and found both to be good and reasonably priced. We enjoyed the meals on the ship so had we not had a chance to try any of the speciality restaurants, we wouldn't have been disappointed. We would have prefered more English speaking channels on the television for when we were relaxing in our room. Disembarking was easy and the most enjoyable of any cruises we've been on. The Bellissima has an area set aside where you can drop your luggage and they will hold it for you up until 1:00pm so that you may simply leave your room and enjoy the ship until you disembark... without pushing any suitcases around! WELL DONE MSC!! We'll definitely be back! Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Firstly this was our first cruise so we have nothing to completely judge against, however the things I will talk about was our experience. On arrival onto the ship we we’re badgered by staff wanting us to sign up to a drinks package ... Read More
Firstly this was our first cruise so we have nothing to completely judge against, however the things I will talk about was our experience. On arrival onto the ship we we’re badgered by staff wanting us to sign up to a drinks package which we had already sorted pre arrival. This also didn’t stop for a couple of days. ( by all means assist customers but make staff be seen but have customers approach staff ) We also were constantly bugged by the staff photographers constantly asking if we wanted our picture taken and even after a polite no they then pleaded ‘it will only take a few minutes ‘ whilst following us. My polite no’s were beginning to wear very thin towards the end. To add insult to injury the one time we gave in, we were then automatically charged £34.99 to our card before even seeing them. From the reception they told me it was down to me to say I didn’t want them to have the charge removed. So I was glad to keep an eye on my account on my tv in my cabin. Otherwise it would have been a shock on leaving. ( may be better for customers to say yes before charging). Each place we docked at we were badgered if we wanted taxi or sight seeing bus. All were stupid prices and you can do so much better sourcing your own public transport at great prices.... it got tiresome as they wouldn’t take no as an answer. I feel msc security/ dock security should monitor this and actively reduce this annoyance. Now the ship is an absolute beautiful design. Really took our breath away. The mid ship sky screen shows and displays were very good. The shows onboard were very very good and thoughly entertaining. And at 30 mins I feel it was too short but understand with time restrictions for the program it has to be that way. I had no issues with my premium drinks package and recommend this is purchased. The staff were all very friendly and pleasant and had no bad experiences in the dining room with food or waiting staff. The cabin ( we had a balcony) was a nice size and I would say it was a slightly smaller than the average Travelodge room but pretty much the same layout. Tv channels were slightly limited ( but who comes on holiday to watch tv ). The safe is quite tiny and we couldn’t put our iPads in it. But it was simple to use. The Bed was very comfortable with two pillows. Balcony size ok. Mini bar idea not so good. .... it is not covered on the drinks package. I think to enjoy the balcony it would be good to use from mini bar to save having to go to the bar for purchasing drinks to carry back. Most drinks in there can be from the bar anyway. ( just saves borrowing and restocking ourselves the next day early). The spa is amazing and well worth the visit. Spent most days in there for a couple of hours recovering from our days walking. However on the sea day it got very busy. Maybe it would be good if msc only allowed the package deal only people to access on sea days and offer no day pass. ( could earn more money for them and balance the numbers out for spa visitors). With the numerous relaxation areas jacuzzis and steam/ sauna rooms and ice room. Not forgetting the emotional showers there are plenty of places to relax and rest. Never gambled before and the casino was an awesome experience. Staff very friendly and when it was quiet we asked how to use tables and all was explained very well. There are serious gamblers there, and people like us who had fun with between 10-30 Euros per visit. We actually visited most nights and actually walked away with more Euro’s than we started with. The water slides were fun to use, and the pools were relaxing. And the external hot tubs on the deck were very nice also. Anyone in two minds about first time cruising, I think the ship will give you the experience that will help decide if it’s for you. And as for us......... we will stick with msc and look out for more locations this ship will visit and try out the other ships in the fleet. We have been converted to a life of cruising for sure. Read Less
MSC Bellissima Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.0
Dining 4.5 3.4
Entertainment 5.0 3.2
Public Rooms 5.0 3.6
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.5
Family 5.0 3.5
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.3
Enrichment 3.0 2.6
Service 4.5 3.5
Value For Money 4.0 3.3

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