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8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
Sorry for this being a long review but I tried to cover most of what we did and how we found it. The holiday started well at the airport, travelling premier class with TUI we were whisked through check in and security, it was the last ... Read More
Sorry for this being a long review but I tried to cover most of what we did and how we found it. The holiday started well at the airport, travelling premier class with TUI we were whisked through check in and security, it was the last we saw of our hold luggage until it arrived at our cabin. We were greeted on the plane with a glass of bubbly before take off, we were glad to have booked premier as it was a 9 hour flight the longest we have ever done. There was plenty of room to move around in your seat, video's to watch and plenty to eat and drink. On arrival at the Dominican Republic, going through security was just as fast as check in at home, signing in at the ship was fast and straight forward, if you can travel premier when with TUI it saves a lot of time at check in's and security. Marella Celebration had not changed much from our last cruise her in October 2016, new carpeting and seating in Hemmingways and Horizons lounges. The standard of food on board was very good it was well cooked and presented in The Meridian Restaurant, in the Lido Buffet the standard was just as good with plenty of variety to suit every one. We tended to have breakfast and lunch in the Lido Buffet where there was always a large selection of both hot and cold foods along with a plentiful array of fruit, we were able to have as little or as much as we wanted. Our preference was to have evening dinner in The Meridian Restaurant served by waiters Iasury, Jaydeep and Katerina and wine by Kumar who did an excellent job keeping the glasses full. Health and gluten free meals were available on request in The Meridian Restaurant and on display in the Lido Buffet to help yourself. It was definitely an excellent change to our eating experience on Marella Dream in September 2017 where the food was just about as god as pub grub and dolloped on your plate. Being repeat Marella (Thomson) cruisers we had seen most of the shows/guest artists on previous cruises, so it would not be fair to make comment on any of the shows we attended. Being a repositioning cruise the cruise itinerary had 8 port stops and 9 days at sea this made the cruise very relaxing. After our first day at sea we arrived at Curacao, where we did the Discover Curacao Island Tour which started with a visit to Curacao Museum in Otrabanda, one floor is kitted out like a 19th century Curacao mansion, then on to the Hato Caves which have about 50 steps to enter and exit the caves which are full of stalagmites and stalactites, next we were on to the Chobolo Liqueur Factory where you can see where the islands Blue Curacao Liqueur is made along with a tasting. The caves make this trip unsuitable for wheelchair users or those with waking difficulties. Our next port of call was Aruba where we did the Aruba Off Road trip, starting with a visit to Casibari Rock a formation that is the result of the island’s trade winds, then on to the Bushiribana Gold Mill Ruins which operated in the 19th century, next it was on to the ocean carved Natural Bridge, followed by the Alto Vista Chapel and the California Lighthouse which sits on the islands northwest tip, finally to the palm fringed white sands at Arashi Beach. This trip would be unsuitable to wheelchair users also those with back or joint problems and pregnant women due to the very rough and uneven terrain covered. Next was the island of Bonaire where we did the Bonaire Highlights & Culture Explorer tour. Our first stop was the village of Rincon at the Rose Inn to sample the locally Cadushy Liqueur made from cactus and lime, then on to the Mangazina di Rei Culture Park where The King’s Warehouse is the second oldest building on the island, finally to the Salt Flats and Salt Mountains where salt was mined by slaves in the 19th century, some of the old slave huts are still standing. This trip would suit most people looking for a relaxing non-energetic trip. Our second day at sea was a welcome break, there were plenty of activities organised if you were becoming bored with the sun bathing, but most cruisers were topping up on their sun tan. Our 4th port of call was Castries, St. Lucia, where we had booked the Scenes of St. Lucia tour, starting with a drive up the scenic Morne Fortune hillside, translated as “Hill of Good Luck”, it was a key battleground during colonial times, our first stop was at St Marks House, a colonial style house high in the hills where you have a panoramic view of Castries harbour and the Caribbean sea. Then it was on to St. Lucia’s one and only rum distillery, where you see how the spirit is produced, afterwards you have a chance to sample the produce, all 17 different rum’s, from double strength to crème liqueur varieties and it was help yourself, you were invited go round twice if you wanted, no one in our group was brave enough. Lastly it was a bit of retail therapy at Howelton Estate/Caribelle Batic which is famous throughout the Caribbean for it’s batic prints. This tour was easy on the legs and would be suitable for most people. The next port of call was St. John’s, Antigua where we went on the Highlights of Antigua, the first stop was The Blockhouse Fort ruins, perched 500 feet above sea level making it a great viewing platform for the island. Then it was on to Shirley Heights where during the 18th century soldiers used this as a lookout to spot their enemies and signal to near by forts. Finally it was on to Nelson’s Dockyard which is the world’s only working Georgian Dockyard still in use today, you are able to stroll through the Georgian buildings and visit the original Naval Officer’s house. This tour is not suitable for wheelchair users or those with walking difficulties due to the rough terrain under foot. Our final port of call in the Caribbean before 6 days a sea was Philipsburg, St. Maarten, where we did the Philipsburg by Trolley Train tour, our first stop was a short distance from the ship at a cheese outlet for free samples, most of the cheese on show was the same as home, but we did get a free tub of ice cream which was delicious, the trolley train then took us on a natural, cultural and historic landmarks trip through Philipsburg, stopping at two venues for a quick taste of flavoured rums. We then had a 30 min stop for shopping etc. before returning to the ship. This was a short easy tour which was suitable for most people. Our next 6 days at sea were spent relaxing, attending some of the activities arranged on ship, but mostly finding a nice quiet place to sit and watch time go by. After 6 days at sea our port of call was Funchal, Madeira, where some cruisers could hardly wait to get on terra firma. We had booked the Taste of Madeira & Cable Car, after a short coach run to the cable car station it into the cable car for the ride from Funchal to Monte where the panoramic views are superb. It was then decision time, go back down by coach or wicker toboggan. The toboggan won, it was a great experience sitting in the wicker toboggan sliding down hill guided by two drivers using their rubber soled boots as brakes, then it was on to the Botanical Gardens, unfortunately the weather had been unusually cold this year and plants were about a month behind normal so there was not much to see. The toboggan ride costs 30 euro per couple or 25 euro single, well worth the experience. This tour is not suitable for wheelchair users and may cause problems for those with walking difficulties. Next it was our last lazy day at sea, by now it was a bit colder 18c and a bit chilly for sitting on deck. Our last port of call was Gibraltar, having been here many times we decided to do our own thing and walk into town for a bit of window shopping, have a coffee or two and people watch. Our disembarking port was Malaga, transfer from ship to airport was carried out very smoothly and efficiently, but not as quick as our outbound flight, overall it was another pleasant experience even though we had to carry our own cases this time. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We did the 7 day cruise 8 years ago as a sampler (our first cruise - Thomson Dreams) along with a 7 day beach stay. Decided on 14 days this time (our 6th cruise) Perfect flight and transfer to liner. Upgraded to deluxe cabin (No.230) ... Read More
We did the 7 day cruise 8 years ago as a sampler (our first cruise - Thomson Dreams) along with a 7 day beach stay. Decided on 14 days this time (our 6th cruise) Perfect flight and transfer to liner. Upgraded to deluxe cabin (No.230) well worth it. Food and service is top class. Anyone who complains is probably a habitual complainer. However, we did take out the All Inclusive drinks package. Unless you drink like a fish, don't take it. The "house" table wine, (served by the glass) was not only the worst I have ever had on A.I. (16 years all around the world) but you'd have a job to buy anything so bad. Very, very cheap Spanish. The remaining A.I. drinks were ok unless you wanted premium shorts cocktails or bottled beers. (Supplements of £2.50 upwards.) Unlike some other cruises we have been on, the overall price of drinks, beer cocktails, shorts and wine, were very reasonable The other issue was Wi-Fi. £49 for 7 days or £95 for the 14 day cruise. Not only was it ridiculously expensive but it didn't work. I eventually got a full refund after 48 hours. Either get a sim with plenty of data allowance or use the Wi-Fi cafes in each port. The only other small gripe was the charge of £25 for the cabin safe. You can buy a fully electronic small safe for £100 so this charge was a complete rip off. Those things apart, we thoroughly enjoyed the whole cruise. The evening stage show was as good as anything you will see anywhere and there were a couple of performers who should be on B.G.T.! We saw every show ( not my personal scene) for all 14 nights - they were that good! Our cabin boy was excellent, he thoroughly deserved the extra tip we gave him. Return to airport and flight back were perfect. So overall, a great cruise, marred only by a couple of issues which Marella should be able to rectify. Would we go again? YES! Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2015
We had been on Costa ships several times in the past and enjoyed the style & quality. We had actually cruised on this ship (COSTA MAGICA) 2 times in the past. Unfortunately, our experience with the latest cruise was absolutely ... Read More
We had been on Costa ships several times in the past and enjoyed the style & quality. We had actually cruised on this ship (COSTA MAGICA) 2 times in the past. Unfortunately, our experience with the latest cruise was absolutely terrible. It was especially disappointing as the COSTA MAGICA was the first cruise ship my wife and I experienced about 6 years ago. The comments below are only the most noticeable of the issues, there are other smaller things that we have not mentioned (such as cruise itinerary, port quality etc). ARRIVAL At the departure terminal, things were quite chaotic, with no clear place for check in or anyone to help with the luggage. ROOM We were given a handicapped room, that was actually a single cabin that was converted into a double for this trip. We requested a cabin change, but understood that we would have to wait and see after the ship sailed. This is the last we heard from the customer service department. There was also a lot of mold in the shower. FOOD This was our biggest problem on the ship, for the reasons listed below, The food quality on many items was extremely low. We had dried-out fish, chicken that you could not cut, cold soup, dry bread, overcooked, dry spaghetti.  In addition, there were items that were actually dangerous (seafood soup that smelled like sewer water), Fish that was moldy Under and over cooked food (pasta, chicken, fish so dry that it could not be swallowed, steak fries that could not be cut, mashed potatoes that had lumps the size of quarters.   The buffet restaurant was only open for 2 nights of the cruise, but perhaps this was a blessing as the food selection was terrible....it looked like food from a charity hospital for the poor.  The lunch selection at the buffet was the same poor quality and exactly the same choice every day.  On one lunch service we asked for some salt, and the staff member we asked pointed to an adjacent occupied table and told us we could ask our fellow passengers for the salt. ENTERTAINMENT For the entire cruise, the only entertainment offering were the standard cruise dance company shows and a crew only show, There was no off ship, higher quality entertainment offered as on past Costa cruises. SHIPS AMENITIES The entire ship had a threadbare and rundown feel. The bed linens were torn & stained. CABIN ATTENDANTS The cabin service was much poorer that on previous sailings, with a much lower staff previous cruises. Anyway, the entire experience was a total shock for us. On all our other cruises we have been on (Costa, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Celebrity, Carnival, P & O, and the World of Resinensea), we always wanted to stay and extra couple of days. On this cruise, we were desperate to leave after 4 to 5 days on board. The food and entertainment on Costa have always been their main attraction. The ships amenities are fairly basic in modern cruising (NO movie theaters, ice-rinks, climbing walls, water parks, golf nets, tennis courts etc.). However, when people asked us about this cruise (mostly asking us if that is the company whose ship sank), we replied that although the ships amenities were fairly poor, the food & entertainment were First Class....boy were we wrong about that...... NOT a 4 star ship....in-fact I think that 2 and a half stars would be generous.   Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2013
My family and I just disembarked from a 7 day cruise with Croisieres de France on the Horizon. My wife, 4-year-old daughter and I enjoyed the cruise and would cruise again for the value. Now, a bit more. I've done 23 cruises before ... Read More
My family and I just disembarked from a 7 day cruise with Croisieres de France on the Horizon. My wife, 4-year-old daughter and I enjoyed the cruise and would cruise again for the value. Now, a bit more. I've done 23 cruises before this one, 14 with my wife and 1 with all three of us. We've been on all the major US-focused lines except Carnival (Royal, NCL, HAL, Princess, Celebrity, Costa, etc) and favor Celebrity above all else for their food, service and quality (in that order). We found an amazing value on this cruise with my daughter cruising for port tax only and airline tickets with miles that made this trip an easy choice based on the value. We like a quiet cruise - we've done all the big excursions and whatnot. We like dinner to be nice and enjoy quiet family time for the majority of our travels. CDF is a French/European line. Period. On a ship of 2,000 there were maybe 8 Americans and 2 Brits. The majority spoke French or Spanish. The crew nearly all spoke English - certainly well enough for us to never go without all week. Since we don't go on trips to meet folks this worked out VERY well... all those annoying conversations you hear on ships were just white noise since neither of us spoke French or Spanish well enough to understand most of it. It's also a value line. Don't expect Premier Cru Bordeaux's on the inclusive wine list. Do expect a quality table wine (and I'm a reasonable oenophile) everywhere. Don't expect foie gras unless you're willing to pay the 15 EUR premium at dinner. It's there... but it's a premium. But there are few of those. The line really is all-inclusive... all liquor, wine with all meals, tips... all inclusive. Paid for satellite internet time (with good speeds I might add) and a gift shop purchase but that was it. Soda machines dispense endless Coca Cola products as well. If you're tied to a specific brand of liquor or beer be prepared to be disappointed but if you're willing to flex a bit you can save a ton and still enjoy yourself. The itinerary was great - At Sea, St Lucia, Barbados, Martinique, St Kitts, Tortola. We did beaches and actually stayed on board a bit and skipped excursions this time around. I was disappointed that our stop in Martinique was on New Year's Day meaning the entire island was seemingly closed for the holiday. One lap through the city center revealed it to be a place I'd like to visit but out of 300+ shops there was a fabric store and a shoe store open. The ship sailed out of La Romana which is about 90 minutes from the airport in Santo Domingo - $100 each way in a taxi which was easily negotiated on both ends of the trip. What WASN'T easy was the immigration portion of embarkation. The DR requires you to pay a $10/pp Tourist Card tax on arrival so be prepared for that. But the biggest problem was they had a single guy working immigration on the front end... thankfully they had 4 on disembarkation. The cruise portion of the embarkation was a breeze - took less than 5 minutes Dinner was the one spot where I'd say I was truly disappointed. The food quality was excellent - it was all prepared well from quality ingredients. But... as a cruise passenger I'm used to an elegant meal experience with "glamorous" (for lack of a better word) choices. I don't want to say "gourmet" since I would only really expect that on Celebrity but there was never really a "wow" item - and even on HAL or Princess there's rarely a dinner without at least one item. But the food was good, and we were in and out most nights right at an hour... so it was GOOD, not great. The other meals were consistent mainly buffet experiences. The pizza crust was easily skipped (it's a French line, not Italian) but the daily selection of baguette, sausage and cheese was nearly as good as I got in Paris 6 weeks before. I was very glad I carry an HDMI cable so I was able to play movies from my laptop onto the TV - otherwise we would have been limited to French, Spanish or the one English-language movie that looped all day. A few other negatives you'd expect... communications with the French-first, Spanish-second, English-third crew were possible but not easy. Smoking was a bit more prevalent than I would like but not out of control nor unrestrained. A few more notes: - Amazing value for the price. - Ships are clean and safe. - Great crew and fantastic itinerary (other than noted). - Ship is not too big or too crowded - was dwarfed at many ports - Guests onboard at several points so embarkation and disembarkation is relatively easy (see below) - Our cabin NEVER got good air conditioning   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
We have been on about 15 cruises, but first with MSC so we know what we are doing. I really dont know where to begin, but on a positive side the check in went well, but to many small steps to take and it wasnt all computerized, luggage to ... Read More
We have been on about 15 cruises, but first with MSC so we know what we are doing. I really dont know where to begin, but on a positive side the check in went well, but to many small steps to take and it wasnt all computerized, luggage to the cabin was quick, the ship was nice and all of the staff that we dealt with were very good. Now the issues: Almost everything on this ship was catering to the French and Europeans. Very little was in English which didnt help us but we have been on numerous cruises so we were able to get around fine. In general the food was sub-par, most of the buffet foods were warm at best, the dinner in the main dinning rooms had very poor selections but the taste was fine. Interestingly enough that when we were asked what we wanted to drink we both asked for water, the waiter asked for the card, we said no just regular water, not bottled and we were told they couldnt do that. After a discussion he said he would speak to someone and then brought us tap water....WOW, and that was the start of the cruise. The biggest problem that we had is that somewhere the itinerary changed and we were not notified of the change. I understand you have the right to do that but we also have the right to know what is happening. We had and paid for an excursion on Antigua for Thursday and on Monday night realized we were going to Antigua on Tuesday and there was no way for us to change our reservation, thus we spent $170 and got nothing for it. We requested a refund for this from MSC. After I followed the correct channels of email and forms, 2 months went by and finally a response from Florida, just saying that it was being sent to Naples for review and it would be another 2 - 3 weeks. This went by and no response, so I called and after 40 minutes on hold, I was told that the itinerary never changed and no refund. I contacted the booking agent www.affordabletours.com. who spoke to MSC as well as they had the wrong itinerary from them and MSC did nothing. www.affordabletours.com is going to reimburse us the tour fee after two days of talking to them. Communications is key in any business and it was really lacking on MSC. Security was also pretty much a joke with the xray machines, numerous times there was not even anyone watching what was going thru. All TV stations were in French except for the one CNN station that was from Europe. The shows were short but in general they were good and we was surprised. There does need to be more things to do at night, like comedy shows, karaoke and more things for kids as well. I will say the ship was very clean and appeared well taken care for. It was also very interesting that the ship takes on passengers at the different port of calls which I think is a very good thing to do, no one else to my knowledge does this...We will be on another cruise soon, but never again on MSC, f anyone ever has a question feel free to email me at stctower@yahoo.com Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2013
We went on a 7 night on MSC Musica, starting December 29, 2013. After reading some of the reviews on this site, my wife and I were a little worried, but in fact, we had nothing to complain about. The food was excellent in the two dining ... Read More
We went on a 7 night on MSC Musica, starting December 29, 2013. After reading some of the reviews on this site, my wife and I were a little worried, but in fact, we had nothing to complain about. The food was excellent in the two dining rooms and the choices were very elaborate; the service was friendly and outstanding, at all times. The buffet had a enormous variety of food, but we used it only for the breakfast. If you try to sit there after 8 AM, you might have to walk around to find a table, but we always did find one. As you can probably detect from my poor English writing, I am French (from Quebec, Canda) and, maybe that's why I don't share some of the critics. This ship stops at many French islands (Martinique, Guadeloupe) and many travelers are from these places. So, for American and British passengers, it might be disturbing to hear passagers talking in French, in many sections of the ship. All the announcements were made in Italian, French, English, German and Spanish; so, there is absolutely no reason to complain. The cabins were very clean and cumfortable and there were live musical performances in every bar or the ship. The shows in the main theatres lasted about 45 minutes, which might seem a little short, but we have to take into account that there were two shows, every night. The pools are small, but were never overcrowded. We did not participate in the day time activities, since we disembarked every day, in a different place to visit. All in all, a very satisfying experience, worth every penny that we paid for. Read Less

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