Sail Date: March 2019
The ship is well maintained for its age. We were on every deck, as we love walking and noticed staff everywhere trying to maintain high standards. Excellent Staff, Delicious dining options, Fresh Fruits available in the Buffet. The ... Read More
The ship is well maintained for its age. We were on every deck, as we love walking and noticed staff everywhere trying to maintain high standards. Excellent Staff, Delicious dining options, Fresh Fruits available in the Buffet. The assigned seating at dinner was picture perfect. We had a table at the front of the Dining Room with excellent sunset view every evening. Massage experience was divine and the health bar was a plus. The gym is huge with all the newest equipment and you can track your workout progress with an app connected to the equipment. The ship excursion were a bit disorganized and we had some minor issues. The wifi was dependable, just make sure you get the unlimited package as you wont regret it. Our room attendant was unbelievable and the room itself was awesome. Although you will have to pay for all the extras, it was not that bad. We will return Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
This was our first time with P&O and we certainly had a great relaxing holiday. Our inside cabin was better than we were expecting. It was reasonably spacious and very comfortable. Our cabin steward changed at the first Malta. Both ... Read More
This was our first time with P&O and we certainly had a great relaxing holiday. Our inside cabin was better than we were expecting. It was reasonably spacious and very comfortable. Our cabin steward changed at the first Malta. Both were very friendly and efficient. Service was great. Oceana might be getting on in years, but she is in excellent condition. This really is down to the dedication of the crew. We found the size of ship and number of passengers to be just right. All crew were friendly and couldn't do enough for you. Cant fault. We dined at 20:30 on a table for 8. Whilst the food was very good, it was nothing outstanding. But we were always able to have an enjoyable meal. Our table companions were friendly. The staff were brilliant. We found the entertainment to be fairly good and enjoyable. However, some of the venues i.e. the pub and outside venues had the volume turned up so much that it was impossible to think. We sat on the sofa's outside of the pub after dinner, which was about right. We took a couple of organised tours. The sights were great. On one the guide was a complete waste of space which effectively ruined the tour. The other was better but no one had anticipated spending around a total of 5 hours sat on a coach. We did our own thing afterwards. Things to improve - they must ensure that people do not "hog" the sun loungers all day. At times, especially on the sea days in particular, it was crazy. Reserved loungers everywhere but empty !!!! We also found that there are just too many announcements. It was like being at a holiday camp at times. Take a lesson from Cunard on this please. Overall ship - excellent cabin - excellent food - very good crew - amazing, a credit to all Best bits - has to be the Suez Canal transit which was beyond expectations. Along with Venice. What a place to just wander around. Breathtaking. A very enjoyable and relaxing cruise and holiday. Just what the doctor ordered. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Great theater shows not advertised on daily planner!?. Reasonable food. Over 40 nationalities but all pleasant if not a bit excitable! Watch your account! Service charges 10 Euros a day but cancelled immediately after questioning ... Read More
Great theater shows not advertised on daily planner!?. Reasonable food. Over 40 nationalities but all pleasant if not a bit excitable! Watch your account! Service charges 10 Euros a day but cancelled immediately after questioning customer services by phone. Ship docks at Port Rashid. Dubai Mall must sees : aquarium near main entrance, waterfall, water fountains to music at opposite end of main entrance. Burj Khalifa next to water fountains, best seen lit up in the evening. Excursion for lunch at Burj Al Arab is good as it includes Burj Khalifa 124th floor, souq and museum. Going it alone, a bill for taxi from Dubai Mall back to ship cost us 31 AED (£6.50) after street guy tried to get us in a private taxi for 120 AED (£24). At the Dubai Mall, taxi meter is set at 5 AED then pay by time taken for journey. Waiting time 10 mins when we did it at 9:15pm. Don't worry about a queue, they wait for about 10 taxis then let the queue out to get in the taxis all at once. Ground floor near main entrance. About 20 min journey back to Port Rashid. QE2 now a hotel at port Rashid. Abu Dhabi, capital of the Emirates and voted for the second time as the safest city on Earth. Sheik Zayed responsible for the city's growth and formation of the 7 Emirates into The United Arab Emirates. The Grand Mosque (Sheik Zayed mosque where he's buried) now very commercial with high airport type security. Strict route now to follow as carpets were being spoilt from children spilling food and drink etc. Le Louvre, amazing museum but looks better online. Ferrari World worth a visit for those inclined. Sir Bani Yas Island good beach with MSC drinks and food on shore. Excursions to see the animals on the island that Sheik Zayed introduced and cared for. About 6 tenders continuously deliver and return passengers to and fro. Long queue on the beach is about 10 to 15 min wait to get back to the ship. No charge for the beach visit. Cabin clean and good with well kept balcony. UK TV in cabin limited to BBC World News. Welcome on board by the captain arranged half way through the cruise at 6pm. By 6:35 he hadn't showed up so we left for dinner. Notification of meeting time for excursion to Qatar given at 9:05pm the evening before the excursion meaning setting our alarm at 6am the next morning if we wanted breakfast. Far too early. Food in the buffet restaurant fairly good but very crowded. After letting the crowds die down and going in about 30 mins later the food wasn't kept hot. Luke warm at best. Staff very friendly and helpful. Although we had a drinks package the drinks in the mini bar were extra, even water. Beware! Trip to the desert a little disappointing because of the amount of rubbish left behind by tourists. In summary, the ship itself is quite good, but the passengers from over 40 nationalities made the experience poor. Total lack of feeling great. Ladies dressed up well on a few evenings but most men didn't bother. Bit like a 'Butlins' cruise. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We last cruised with MSC in the Med 3 years ago and to be honest I was less than impressed so I was a bit apprehensive about booking this itinerary from Dubai for my wife’s birthday. What a difference - the quality of food in both the ... Read More
We last cruised with MSC in the Med 3 years ago and to be honest I was less than impressed so I was a bit apprehensive about booking this itinerary from Dubai for my wife’s birthday. What a difference - the quality of food in both the main dining room and speciality restaurants were right up there with the very best we’ve had on other cruise lines. I can particularly recommend Butcher’s Cut steak house where you can enjoy a 3 course dinner for an additional €39 - worth every penny! Although we didn’t go to any of the shows in the theatre the entertainment around the ship was also much improved with a number of very good singers performing in different locations. One comment would be that the seats in some of the public rooms, Aft Lounge and Purple Room in particular, were a bit too much about form over function. We also spent a bit extra to book a mini-suite (#11009). The room itself was lovely with sitting area completely separate to the bedroom. Two slightly disappointing items were the bathroom (very small) and the balcony (not glass so restricted view and overhung by bridge). If this is the quality of food and service that MSC are now doing across their fleet we’ll definitely be using them again. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and the price. What we have come to realize is that what comes with lower cost is terrible customer service. Basically, when you have an issue that needs to be addressed, they really don’t care. I ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and the price. What we have come to realize is that what comes with lower cost is terrible customer service. Basically, when you have an issue that needs to be addressed, they really don’t care. I have to say the cabin stuard and dinning staff were excellent, as well as Bruno, the buffet manager. But to the rest, we felt like we were an inconvenience, including the customer service desk, which is an oxymoron. They even tried to convince us that it’s normal for the toilet not to flush. Maybe she assumed this was our first cruise and wouldn’t know any better. They promised to have someone look into it but never did. So it was basically press the button 5 or 6 times and pray. The food varied from day to day; sometimes ok, other times not really. The itinerary is awesome and Oman is easily the best stop. Make sure to explore here as much as possible. We rented an SUV and stayed ashore overnight and were so glad we did. Do not miss driving up Wadi Arbaeen starting from Dibab. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We just returned from an amazing voyage to Arabia. 19 days voyage. what can I say. spectacular. suites are super large, big tvs with lots of entertainment choices. we booked suite 1014 category V6 and loved the location. everyday ... Read More
We just returned from an amazing voyage to Arabia. 19 days voyage. what can I say. spectacular. suites are super large, big tvs with lots of entertainment choices. we booked suite 1014 category V6 and loved the location. everyday when we went for dinner we would see the pool lit up and just made us smile. it was truly magical. my husband described the feeling of being in the ship, like being in your country club. in our case, they knew our names, and greeted us all the time by our names. they knew our food preferences and always made sure we were accommodated. Thomas Keller Grill was superb. We found the dining room to be a little slow for our taste. if we wanted to leave by a certain time we would tell the maitre d ahead of time. we like to eat by 7PM and go to the show at 8:45PM. most of the time it worked perfectly. we ate once in the evening at the patio grill and it was great. I know of plenty of people that never got dressed up for dinner and just ate dinner at the patio and the colonnade. colonnade had a sit down area instead of buffet and also an outside patio. we chose to have cappuccinos in the morning in our suite but go for breakfast at the patio of the colonnade every day . truly delightful. we ate lunch most days either at the sushi restaurant or the patio. LOVED. excursions were great. we did 4 of them with the cruise. there was caviar on the surf at an island of Abu Dhabi . super fun. temperatures for this cruise is for people that like warm weather like I do. some days temps were 100 such in muscat. cannot wait to return. we did put a deposit for a future cruise , and this deposit will give us 5% in a future cruise that we book and we have 4 years to book or we get our money back. we know and saw lots of people playing trivia, and that a big thing. they had many teams, and it was competitive. also, bridge was big. art classes were busy, which I never went, and lots of guests went to the lectures . they were super interesting and you could watch them live in your suite, or later in your tv with on demand. we met Wonderfull people and there quite a diverse array of passengers from every country. met some nice single people and first time cruisers and they were all having a fabulous time. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2018
chose this cruise as it gave us a chance to see Dubai and also price as a package suited us. we left on the night flight from Glasgow which gave us a full extra day in Dubai, we stayed at the crown plaza hotel deira 3 nights before the ... Read More
chose this cruise as it gave us a chance to see Dubai and also price as a package suited us. we left on the night flight from Glasgow which gave us a full extra day in Dubai, we stayed at the crown plaza hotel deira 3 nights before the cruise (giving us a chance to see Dubai and relax before our cruise. we visited the burj khalifa , and had an amzing afternoon tea at the sail hotel (burj al arab) which was a once in a lifetime experience very very highly recommended. taxis were verycheap around dubai and abu dhabi (most we paid for taxi was 70 Dirham (£14 from cruise port to airport) there were 4 adults with 6 cases). we emarked at 3pm no ques straight on ship and straight to cabin, we were scheduled for boarding at 6pm but we could probably boarded anythime, when we left the ship people were boarding from 7am, disembarking was excellent, cases were collected the night before and we had a leisurely breakfast, we were out the room for 8am, we had a 8am time to leaVE BUT STAYED ON SHIP TILL 11AM, STILL USED THE DRINKS PACKAGE TILL WE LEFT. we had a balcony cabin 8029 on bella class deck 8 (this is an enclosed cabin which had a metal panel instead of class and side panels making it hard to sit and look out and made the room darker than usual, i wouldn't book this cabin again, cabins nearer the middle are glass panels unenclosed cabins are two cabins nearer the middle from cabin number 8057 (cabin 8057 is also metal panel under handrail ) the staff kept the room tidy and clean, and most of the staff were friendly, no problems getting drinks or tables at the buffet etc, sea day was busy but we chose to reserve sunbeds and rattan on deck 18 which cost extra but more relaxing and we reserved our are to sunbath with more shade when required. our main complaint was staff would expect you to move to let them pass in corridors etc, clear plates from table as soon as you were finished, but others at the table were still eating. we felt rushed during the meal and the lights were flicked to tell everyone it was time to leave (without being offered coffee etc ) we went for a sit down breakfast one morning in the dining room - we were surprised when asked if we wanted the menu or buffet, (if i wanted a buffet, i would have went to the borra buffet), after ordering we were told it would be easier if we got our order from the buffet as they has to go to the other sit of the ship to get it if we didn't. why have a buffet in a restaurant as well as a menu if your not going to serve you what you order. i think the staff were not interested they wanted you out as soon as they could and with them doing as little as possible in the process. we have been on thompson,p & o, royal caribbean, ncl, celebrity cruises and felt the staff on this ship left a lot to be desired they seemed to lack manners and basic courteous skills. the best staff on the ship were natalie on deck 18 bar, she also worked in the buffet restuarant and pool deck bar at night she was outstanding , very helpful and we felt she gave an excellent service, clyde in the piano bar and the staff at the plaza coffee shop always kept us fed and topped up with coffee. we went on ships tour khor al fakkan dow boat (this was outstanding - dolphins swam up alongside the boat, we swam in the fiord etc expensive but well worth it, we would definetely recommend it and would do it again . not much to see in muscat a wonder round the souk, the drinks package was limited choice but still well worth it as water and coffee were included at all bars throughout the ship entertainment was poor we went one night only, intro etc in many languages whuch put us off and only so many things can be done to entertain everyone. safety drill was an absolute joke (we were sat in the casino for 30 mins to thenm listen in 5 languages how to put on a life vest, at which point everyone had theirs on Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
My second time on Splendida. This time in the Middle East. The ship has been on dry dock to be better prepared for the Asian market. Some improvements and all the ship lettering and communication including Chinese characters. We ... Read More
My second time on Splendida. This time in the Middle East. The ship has been on dry dock to be better prepared for the Asian market. Some improvements and all the ship lettering and communication including Chinese characters. We chose this cruise for its itinerary and the MSC “fly and cruise” package option. It was a good choice. It was our 4th time cruising with MSC and we knew what to expect, but we consider the food on MDR worse than our last visit… This was our main issue. As it was Carnival week we found the ship with plenty of Brazilian and Portuguese (due to school break?). I’m Portuguese and I found the translations in the communication forms a bit weak and lacking, for a better understanding we always asked for the original English ones… We were lucky with our assigned dinner companions. Easy talk and always lots of daily adventures. We opted to book all our shore excursions with MSC. Normally we are very DIY regarding all the ports we visit in Europe, very easy to do on our own; but we wanted to see a lot in a day and not stress because of traffic, delays, and stuff like that. As we went without the kid, and we booked an interior cabin, we wanted to experience it all and went a little nuts with our excursions … We planned very well our excursion in Dubai, so we left Burj Khalifa out of the excursion on Friday because we wanted to spend some more time in there than what we are allowed by excursion, so, on Saturday, embarkation day we arrived around noon, checked in and went to Burj Khalifa by taxi. We bought our tickets via the app “tiqets” and we climbed around 5:30, so we were able to go up and see during the day and beginning of the night. It was awesome! We were there till 7:30 pm. On Abu Dhabi we did a day tour visiting the Mosque and some other highlights in the morning and then we did the Ferrari World. On Bharain we also went on a day tour visiting the old fort, the museum, the Mosque, and the F1 circuit, also included on the tour was a lovely lunch in a local restaurant (the food was amazing!). In Sir Bani Yas we just went to the beach. On Doha we did a half-day desert jeep safari: I absolutely loved this experience! Our most expensive tour was Dubai on Friday, we went on a full day tour, including lunch at Burj Al Arab. We also opted to go to the Atlantis in The Palm, as we went to the Burj Khalifa on Saturday. What a day! This was a very nice cruise holiday and we enjoyed the ship facilities, and the cities we visited. MSC is a good European cruise company, but attention to details is always needed. Would like to go again to this part of the world. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
This was our first cruise on Costa, but our 16th overall. Here are our honest thoughts on the various aspects. The cruise was 7 nights and embarked at Dubai. Flight ------ We booked the flight independently of the cruise. It was ... Read More
This was our first cruise on Costa, but our 16th overall. Here are our honest thoughts on the various aspects. The cruise was 7 nights and embarked at Dubai. Flight ------ We booked the flight independently of the cruise. It was an Emirates flight from LHR to Dubai. It was an overnight flight that landed in Dubai at 6am. In hindsite, this was the wrong choice as embarkation didn't start until 8pm and it turned out to be a long day. Still the flight itself was very good and we were impressed with Emirates. Embarkation ----------- This is where it all went a bit wrong. Our embarkation ticket stated 8pm as the boarding time which seemed a tad on the late side compared to a normal cruise. A quick google suggested that if you turn up at around 3pm, they would let you on. However imagine the dismay when we (and many other people) turned up in the afternoon to be told that 8pm was the hard and fast time and so we had to wait for 5 hours in the cruise terminal. Turns out this was because Friday (the day we embarked) is a holiday in the UAE and therefore the immigration control officials were only available from 8pm, hence the time. Can't really blame Costa for this I guess, but it's something to note. Cabin ----- We had cabin 7290 which was classed as a suite 'S' Cabin. It was a very nice size and was quite a bit bigger than a standard balcony cabin, so we were very pleased. Dining ------ Because we were in a suite, we were allowed to eat in the club restaurant (Club Medusa) free of charge for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. We didn't eat in the MDR, so can offer no opinion. We also tried the buffet for lunch a couple of times, but found the choice very limited. Club Medusa was very nice and the choice varied daily. The wine choice was also very good and you could try the wine to see if you liked it first. They try to sit you in the same area each day so you have the same waiters which helps build the relationship. It was also fairly quiet and you don't need to book ahead as suite guests. This was certainly one of the suite 'extras' that helped make the cruise that bit more special. Entertainment ------------- This is one area where both Italian cruise lines (MSC & Costa) fall short compared to American and British lines. The daily activities are very limited and evening shows are centred around song and dance and acrobat routines. I guess it's the language issues that are the cause. The good things of note were the live bands and the animation team. Dress Code ---------- We had lots of varied dress codes on our cruise. We had informal, Gala, Italian, Arabian and white nights, although many people adopted informal for the whole cruise. It was all good fun. The only gripe was that nowhere on the pre-cruise documents stated what was on offer, so you couldn't preplan what to pack. Ports ----- A cruise around the UAE all pretty much stop at the same ports. The main ones on our cruise were Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Muscat and Sir Bani Yas Island. Ship ---- Having just been on the MSC Preziosa, the Costa Mediterranea looked and felt like an older ship in comparison. We experienced some very rough vibrations in our cabin whenever the stern thrusters were used and there was a constant vibration from the engines all over the ship when at sea. Nothing to bad to spoil the holiday, but not something I ever remember experiencing on any other ship. Suite Extras ------------ As we were in a suite cabin, we were entitled to a number of 'extras'. They were :- - Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner in the Club restaurant (see above) - Complimentary Intenditore drinks package. This is the top level one and pretty much every drink is included (apart from super expensive). You also get drinks loaded in your minibar. - Exclusive activities. We are invited to a couple of cocktail parties with the captain, but didn't attend due to the timings. - Complementary room service etc. We had breakfast in our room a couple of times, but other than that, didn't really test the room service. Disembarkation -------------- This was very smooth. We were free to leave the ship at any time up to 1pm and collect our luggage from the terminal. Perhaps this is something unique to the UAE cruises. Port to Airport --------------- Grabbed one of the many taxis from the terminal. Tooks roughly 20 minutes and cost 55 Dirhams (£11). Overall ------- No one can argue that Costa are not good value for money (much like MSC) but of course that means that certain aspects of the cruise are 'budget restricted' like the food and entertainment. It is also very Italian orientated (not unsurprisingly). However as long as you accept these limitations, then you can certainly enjoy yourselves. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
The itinerary from Dubai to Capetown along with an opportunity for the excursions to Taj Mal and a safari in Africa was unique, The food on this ship was of an exceptional, quality, service and restaurants, were without a match with any ... Read More
The itinerary from Dubai to Capetown along with an opportunity for the excursions to Taj Mal and a safari in Africa was unique, The food on this ship was of an exceptional, quality, service and restaurants, were without a match with any other cruise ships that we have sailed on and this is no exaggeration. Although, not a reflection on the ship’s crew or staff, there were excursion experiences that did not measure up to our expectation. We would suggest that the cruise line staff place more attention on the planning and quality of the excursions to ensure they reflect the passenger expectations of a luxury cruise. Overall experiences on this vacation cruise, including add on three day excursions before and after the actual 30 day cruise were with a few exceptions first class. While there are probably parts of this itinerary we would not repeat, certainly there are others we would very much like to visit again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We boarded the Silver Spirit in Dubai and sailed over to the Seychelles - lovely itinerary with some nice sea days as well. Getting onboard the ship was easy and very fast and just no Q's at all. The ship looked lovely and the ... Read More
We boarded the Silver Spirit in Dubai and sailed over to the Seychelles - lovely itinerary with some nice sea days as well. Getting onboard the ship was easy and very fast and just no Q's at all. The ship looked lovely and the staff were amazing. We ate in most restuarants my favourite been the main dining room and Hot rocks which is up on the pool deck - gorgeous when you are in port to dine up here. The suite was gorgeous lots of space and very nice furnished with a great dressing room area for your clothes and shoes so it keeps your suite tidy. The butler and room attendant looked after us very well and kept our bar and toiletries stocked up. I would bring the butler home if I could. The beauty of Silversea after the lovely ships, staff and food is the size of the ships you sail right into the ports and some destinations you actually over night in which is lovely to do. However if you don't over night they seem to spend a lot longer in port than other cruise ships and the fact you sail right into the port with out getting on the tender boats is a big plus. We did some of the ships excursions which were excellent in Cochin we went on the River Boat and in the Maldives we did the beach visit to a resort - for such a wonderful destination we really needed more time. In Mumbai we took the private car trip with guide which we enjoyed as we could determine how long we were going to stop. Guests onboard are a mix so you find you are not dominated by any nation and a real nice European feel onboard the ship. Entertainment - there is a show each evening and the performs sing extremely well - we liked sitting in the bar and listening to the piano player or the Jazz bar was just excellent. Also enjoy going up to the DJ and sitting on the terrace listening to the music after dinner. Totally recommend for people who like the nicer things in life and enjoy real quality. Not much activities for children so you don't find children onboard really. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We booked an excursion to Paphos in Cyprus. The description of the tour which appealed to us was 1. Taken to Paphos and have three hours free time to explore independently or 2. Visit the Villa and see the mosaics and the tombs of the ... Read More
We booked an excursion to Paphos in Cyprus. The description of the tour which appealed to us was 1. Taken to Paphos and have three hours free time to explore independently or 2. Visit the Villa and see the mosaics and the tombs of the kings and lastly 3. Take a stroll along the harbour. However, we were given no choices at all! We were dropped off at the harbour and left there. There was only a few restaurant and tacky gift shops. I was in a wheelchair and on 24/7 oxygen. We tried to find some shops but it was a long trek and we only found a very small mall and went back to the harbour and waited there for a coach to return. We put in an official complaint at this persons desk when we returned and received 10% refund which was an absolute joke we had wasted our money and our day in Cyprus. The literature is completely misleading and if we had known what was in store we still could of taken the free shuttle bus or gone to Limassol where apparently the guests had a fantastic time which made us even more fed up ..... I keep trying to get in touch with the excursions specialist team as we was advised to do once we got back to UK but I have had no luck getting through so needed to vent my feelings somewhere. As for the cleanliness of the newly refurbished Kings Court, we found it dirty, especially the walls next to the tables, the skirting, the windows. Infact, a lot of the communal areas needed TLC. They were cleaned but the staff were very lethargic and did everything at a snail's pace and didn't seem to take any pride in the fact that they were on a Cunard ship, although they cleaned they didn't clean the edges or the corners. This is where germs lie ......... Read Less
Sail Date: April 2017
I have always liked the Whisper but will never take a segment of a world cruise again. In this segment, the majority of the passengers had been on this cruise since January and had established little groups to dine, drink and socialize ... Read More
I have always liked the Whisper but will never take a segment of a world cruise again. In this segment, the majority of the passengers had been on this cruise since January and had established little groups to dine, drink and socialize thus the new passengers had to find other new passengers in order to have a good time. This segment from Dubai to Athens had fewer new passengers due to the possible danger passing Yemen and other countries in the news but the tours to Luxor, Petra and Gisa were very worthwhile and Silversea takes precautions and has never had a threatening incident. The familiar crew on the Whisper helped make the trip more enjoyable. On the next segment from Athens to Monte Carlo, it was reported that 160 new passengers would board so I'm sure they outnumbered the tired world cruisers but we have cruised the Mediterranean many times and had seen many portsand we departed the Whisper in Athens. The food was wonderful in all dining venues and tasted better than I had remembered. The evening entertainment was professional and entertaining, Day lectures were educational and worthwhile and included a travel professional who highlighted the upcoming tours with a visual presentation describing history and cultural advice and additional sights. On days at sea, two speakers entertained passengers, one on British spies during World War 1 and two The other speaker told us his fascinating experience in Africa with camels. He actually rode by camel across the Gobi desert. Also on the British experience in Africa. The swimming pool was active with sun worshippers throughout the day as well as the hot tubs. Underwater exercises took place at 2 pm followed by water volleyball at 3. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
CHOSE THIS CRUISE FOR THE DESTINATIONS IT VISITED: SHORE EXCURSION ABORTED IN HAIFA (FIRST TIME THERE) DUE TO CREW OVER REACTING TO IMMIGRATION RULES: AQABA HIGHLIGHTS TOUR A WASTE OF MONEY: WATER POLICY IS CRIMINAL: WIFE WAS SICK AND WE ... Read More
CHOSE THIS CRUISE FOR THE DESTINATIONS IT VISITED: SHORE EXCURSION ABORTED IN HAIFA (FIRST TIME THERE) DUE TO CREW OVER REACTING TO IMMIGRATION RULES: AQABA HIGHLIGHTS TOUR A WASTE OF MONEY: WATER POLICY IS CRIMINAL: WIFE WAS SICK AND WE WANTED TO BUY A GLASS OR CAN OF SPARKLING WATER BUT WERE TOLD WE HAD TO BUY A BEVERAGE PACKAGE TO GET ONE: DR; SANTANA AND HIS STAFF WERE HIGHLY PROFESSIONAL: FOOD WAS NEUTRAL AT BEST: ONLY CAGNEYS EXCELLED: GUESTS ARE NOT TREATED LIKE PAYING CUSTOMERS BUT ONLY A NUMBER TO BE SQUEEZED FOR MONEY: THERE APPEARED TO BE NO COOPERATION OR COMMUNICATION BETWEEN SHIP SECURITY AND SHORE SECURITY AS WE WENT THROUGH X-RAY SECURITY CHECK ON LAND AND AGAIN 100 FEET LATER ON THE SHIP: FRONT DESK LACKING IN DETAILS OF THE CRUISE: WALK-OFF DISEMBARKATION REQUIRED BEFORE 7:30 AM SUPPOSEDLY REQUIRED BY IMMIGRATION: IMMIGRATION WAS NOT EVEN PRESENT WHEN WE GOT OFF: LAST TIME ON NCL; BUT THEN THEY PROBABLY DO NOT CARE: Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
As my partner and I have always wanted to see Petra and enjoy cruising with MSC, we thought this would be an ideal opportunity to take an extended holiday that would cover both, and also spend my partner’s birthday onboard. We’ve ... Read More
As my partner and I have always wanted to see Petra and enjoy cruising with MSC, we thought this would be an ideal opportunity to take an extended holiday that would cover both, and also spend my partner’s birthday onboard. We’ve written several reviews of MSC Fantasia and MSC Splendida in the past, so I’ll try not to repeat the same information again, as already written about the sparkly stairs, the size of the ship etc in the past. Our flight from Manchester airport with Etihad departed on 24th March and was an overnight flight to Abu Dhabi. Whilst there were no issues with the flight, it wasn’t the most comfortable we have had, so would probably avoid flying Etihad in the future. As we came in to land, the pilot informed us there may be a delay or we may not be able to land due to a terrible storm. This had me a little worried - nevertheless we landed and followed the immigration rules etc and collected our cases before finding our private transfer to the port. On arriving at the port, there was no sign of Fantasia, only of Norwegian Star. We asked the driver if there was potentially another terminal as we’d not been to Abu Dhabi before - he didn’t understand what we were asking. He flagged someone from the port staff who told us that Fantasia was cancelled. Our hearts sank and then panic set in. What were we to do? We were in a foreign country and due to the storm Fantasia was still in Dubai! Waiting in the cruise terminal, thinking about contacting our agent but then realising it would be the very early hours we decided to try and find someone else with more information. We were informed that a bus would be sent for us from Dubai. What a relief! It soon arrived and we were on our way - it was obvious what bad weather there had been as a lot of the roads were flooded. The journey to Dubai was quite interesting and on the way to the cruise port we got to see all of the famous buildings, effectively a free tour; always look on the bright side of these things. I do think MSC could have potentially handled this better, there were quite a few passengers expecting to join at Abu Dhabi and as it was a fairly short coach journey, a car could have got a receptionist or similar to the cruise terminal to assist with these queries. Embarkation was extremely quick and we were soon in our balcony cabin and got showered and changed in to some of the clothes we’d packed in our hand luggage. To our surprise and utter delight there were chocolate strawberries waiting, courtesy of MSC and as a surprise for my partner some canapés and a bottle of fizz. The main cases were delivered shortly after. Following that we were off to explore the ship and have a ritual glass of champagne to get the holiday started. Throughout the day we met with a number of crew we have met on previous cruises and they all seemed very pleased to see us again, remembering our names and the ships we had been on. On to dinner time, we had requested a table for two and had been put on a larger table; we didn’t have a problem with this but as it was such a long holiday we would have preferred to be alone. On our way out of the restaurant the Maitre D asked if our table was ok and if we would prefer a different one. We said the table was fine but if there was a table for two available we would really appreciate it. Not a problem and we were soon changed to table 961 in Cerchio D’Oro - overlooking the wake - one of the best tables in the house. I think the Maitre D had remembered us from a cruise we took on the Armonia last year. The following day, our call to Sir Bani Yas was cancelled due to high winds which would make tendering dangerous. I was disappointed at this as I was looking forward to a snorkelling experience. In hindsight it is probably a good job we didn’t go as it was quite cool weather with some rain showers! We took a taxi and went to see the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi - I’m glad we did. What a beautiful place! It’s huge and reminded me of the Taj Mahal in style. We went to our new table for dinner and were greeted by our new waiter, Erazo and his assistant Reksi and the wine waiter Erik. All offered wonderful service throughout the cruise, remembering our preferences for wine, recommending particular dishes and having time for a bit of a chat every night. The food on this cruise was different to usual, with a daily menu which was never repeated, rather than the usual rotating menu. We had several themed nights, such as French night, Arabian nights, Greek night, Italian night and Spanish night. Every night we ate 5 or 6 courses, yet as the portions are relatively small we didn’t put on too much weight or feel uncomfortable. Some of the highlights food wise in my opinion would be the Opera Gateau, duck a l’orange, Greek salad, spumante risotto. At all of the ports of call we sorted ourselves out, we’re not big on ships excursions and prefer to do our own thing. At Aqqaba we had arranged a private tour to Petra through a company we have used in Egypt for similar tours off Nile cruises. Petra was quite simply amazing. It’s a tough day out which would be impossible for people with reduced mobility. Ensure you take plenty of water with you, and even some snacks might be advisable. We entered the Suez Canal late at night which meant we spent a good portion of the next day transiting the canal - it really is a marvel of modern engineering. We experienced some delays on the cruise due to medical emergencies, three in total, this delayed our arrival in some ports and shortened the time we had there, but this is not MSC’s fault; as passengers we were kept informed and you can’t ask for more than that. The entertainment onboard was varied, we felt there would be something for everything. There were a multitude of quizzes including a progressive trivia as well as normal ‘fun’ quizzes, dance lessons, arts and crafts, lectures - one particular lady giving lectures was Hilda who we had met on the cruises we took to and from Hamburg last year. At night time there were the usual production shows the highlights being Wonderland based on Alice and a Michael Jackson show as well as opera, dance and acrobatics. In the various bars around the ship there were different bands and musicians playing - something to suit everyone. We tended to stay more in the Manhattan or Transatlantico bars on deck 7. The Inoteca wine bar was also a favourite hang out of ours for a quiet glass of wine after dinner to allow the food to settle. The night we stopped in Civitavecchia there was a changeover of some of the crew, with a few bands changing from MSC Splendida which was also in port. We were sat in the Inoteca wine bar enjoying a glass of wine when I had a tap on the shoulder - “I think I know you” - it was Irena, part of a duo “Smile” from Splendida who remembered us - we were so happy to see her it really made our day. We went to the Transatlantico later and she was playing in there and then sang one of our favourite songs! We’ve got some wonderful photographs from the cruise - we booked a 100 photo package for £64 - was quite surprised how many photos of us there were by the end of the trip we had to sit in the wine bar and put them in to piles of yes, no, maybe! This cruise really was more than just a holiday, the ship was more than a hotel - it felt like our home for 16 nights, we then changed cabins to back to back a short cruise to Barcelona and Marseille, another 3 nights! On the night of 11th April I planned to go and get some champagne from the bar at midnight (just by the glass as included in package, to toast my partner’s birthday) when suddenly, Irena started singing happy birthday one of the bar supervisors, Ruth, and some of the wonderfull bar staff we’d met - Eriska, Katerina, Nannette came in with a birthday cake and a bottle of champagne for him! What a wow moment!! Our next cruise with MSC is booked for November onboard Meraviglia, although we may well find something for the summer as it seems too long to be away from such a wonderful experience. An MSC cruise really is a holiday like no other. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2017
Overall good cruise. Fantastic service from stateroom staff, along with the service from concierge lounge. The service in the reception and shore excursion was at an all-time low - but overall good service other places. We were ... Read More
Overall good cruise. Fantastic service from stateroom staff, along with the service from concierge lounge. The service in the reception and shore excursion was at an all-time low - but overall good service other places. We were surprised at how good the food was in the aquarius restaurant with good service. A bit noisy, and with "forced seating" with strangers at our table (made good friends though!) but overall a nice experience. Dining in the windjammer, not so good. Ports of call was an interesting mix. Khasab was not at all interesting. We made an excursion by bus through RCCL - but the most horrendous guide ever. Also made an excursion in Muscat (much better location), but again guide subpar quality. Another guide in Abu Dhabu - better this time, but still not worth money nor while. My tip for this itinerary; stay onboard or book excursions yourselves, especially if you are under 40 years of age. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
This was our second MSC cruise having been on the MSC Opera in 2015. The transfer from Abu Dhabi airport to the port was extremely disorganised. We couldn't believe how many people were crowding together outside the airport after ... Read More
This was our second MSC cruise having been on the MSC Opera in 2015. The transfer from Abu Dhabi airport to the port was extremely disorganised. We couldn't believe how many people were crowding together outside the airport after landing at 6.00am. Nobody seemed to know what was happening. However we did make it to the ship and by 9.00 am were eating breakfast in Zanzibar. No problem in validating our cruise cards after eating but not allowed into the cabin until 12.30. Once on board we were told of the itinerary changes. Would have been nice to have been advised of this earlier - disappointing when plans had been made. We had a large cabin with a balcony and it was cleaned very well. We had requested a late dinner on a table for two. On the first night we were shown to a table of 6 that was staged around a large post. We complained that we were not happy with this table as it must have been one of the worst placed tables in the Red Velvet restaurant. We asked to sit elsewhere on a table for two and was given a table for five. We stayed here but no-one joined us ( it was noticed that the original table never had any diners on it for the whole weeks cruise). We were told that all would be sorted by the next night. In fact a note was delivered to our cabin giving us a new table number but it was for four. On arriving at this table it was for six and there was one other couple there. The four of us stayed on this table for the rest of the cruise and they were extremely good company. The food was ok but not worth any photos as on other cruises. However we were never without an empty wine glass at dinner, great service! We didn't really like the way a buffet was being introduced in Red Velvet at breakfast and lunch times. Some waiters tended to push you to that option as if they couldn't be bothered to take your order. The photographers became a bit of a nuisance. Especially when trying to eat at dinner time. We would have eaten upstairs in the buffet if we had felt the need but it looked like hell!! People not sanitising their hands but still attacking the food with their hands. We only ate once in the Africana buffet and had an excellent curry. Another concern was the lack of use of hand sanitizers. As on other cruise lines we have been on there was no encouragement to use them. Moreover, pretty frequently the dispensers were empty. Quite a concern on a ship with well over 4000 passengers onboard, not counting the crew. Especially when you saw how many passengers insisted on pawing and returning things at the buffet. The ship didn't visit Sir Banis Yas Island. We were disappointed but not surprised as it seems a common occurrence. We wondered why it was even on the itinerary. Instead of staying anchored just off the island to look at the views we soon moved on - at about 10 knots an hour!! We booked two excursions with MSC. The bus tour in Bahrain was spoilt by not sitting anywhere near to my partner. We expected to be seated next to each other when booked together. The trip in Dubai to the Burj Al Khalifa was excellent. Our flight boarding cards were left on the bed the evening before our departure - a welcome touch. However at 11.00pm on the eve of our departure we were advised that due to "high winds" the ship was not going to Abu Dhabi. Instead we were coached to Abu Dhabi airport at 4.30am. Although very inconvenient it was very well organised, especially on arriving at the airport. All stops were pulled out to check us through without any delays. This must have involved about 2,000 passengers. Overall an enjoyable cruise. We have previously cruised with MSC and will most probably do it again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2017
Customer Service: Very Bad Customer Service, if you book Cruise ticket third party, MSC doesn't responding correctly/. Customer service people don't have knowledge regarding third party sellers (ex: Seascanner). They ... Read More
Customer Service: Very Bad Customer Service, if you book Cruise ticket third party, MSC doesn't responding correctly/. Customer service people don't have knowledge regarding third party sellers (ex: Seascanner). They don't accept Third party sellers mail proofs, they say only MSC emails, and don't know third party sellers. but they received the ticket money! Dining: Buffet is very good, the 6-floor setting is not good, very few menu items. Ship: extremely very good, Service: Room Service is Excellent, Room cleaning and change of towels are very timely. Food service: food service is too good, Buffet is many items and service people is very polite, I never feel bad, they provided very good food and hot. Fruits and sweets are excellent. Complimentary food is very good. Entertainment: I never bored, always something special, shows and entertainment programs Port and Shore excursions: parking places at the port are very handy, easily can go to the city. excursions are very expensive, I never used them. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2017
We were looking for something not too expensive and an alternative to our usual winter week in the sun in the Canaries. This met the bill and the itinerary looked interesting as neither of us had been to that part of the world at all. ... Read More
We were looking for something not too expensive and an alternative to our usual winter week in the sun in the Canaries. This met the bill and the itinerary looked interesting as neither of us had been to that part of the world at all. Thoroughly enjoyed our week and we thought everything on board was very good. Yes, of course, one can always find fault but we were pleased with our week and would recommend Royal Caribbean and the ship. Not sure about the ports of call and Dubai didn't do it for me at all but I'm glad to have been there at least. Some people we met on board thought the ship looked as bit "tired" - well she's certainly not brand new but many areas have been modernised and the ship was clean so I do not agree with the "tired" comment at all. Staff were very good and one or two were exceptional. The Captain was keen on keeping everyone up to date and he and his senior officers were visible throughout the week. We used MyTime dining which we preferred and we ate twice in the restaurant and four times in the Windjammer (and one night ashore). We didn't try any of the speciality restaurants. Since both of us are trying to watch our calorie intake there was plenty of healthy food on offer and we drank hardly any alcohol at all during the week. What alcohol we did drink we thought to be a bit expensive. The Classic Soda package was fine for us and we reckon it worked out just worth it and no more. One gripe - 18% added to everything on top of everything purchased I thought as bit steep as there is already a daily charge per person for gratuities (which we asked to be removed from our bill and this was done without a problem and without question). As I said - we'd use Royal Caribbean again and recommend it but we won't be going back to the Arabian Gulf even though the weather was wonderful and the sea flat calm throughout. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
It’s such a shame that this ship is getting so many negative reviews, were we on the same ship!? IMO a lot of it is down to lack of research - this is not a big ship like oasis of the seas! We were on it last year and it was impressive ... Read More
It’s such a shame that this ship is getting so many negative reviews, were we on the same ship!? IMO a lot of it is down to lack of research - this is not a big ship like oasis of the seas! We were on it last year and it was impressive but we knew this would be nothing like it, we chose this for the price and the itinerary as it was different from anything we’d done before. The ship is older yes but it is clean and well maintained, the staff were also fantastic on this ship so friendly. Breakfast in the main dining room was excellent, as long as you’re not in a rush as the service was pretty slow. We had lunch in the windjammer just about every day and no complaints whatsoever, food fresh, hot and plenty of choice. I was a bit disappointed that the main dining room only opened for lunch once but not a huge deal when the windjammer was so good. The staff were great in the windjammer and we always managed to get a glass of wine near enough as soon as we sat down. Dinner in the main dining room was very good but service was hit and miss, very slow on formal nights. If we had realised this we would have done our speciality restaurants on those nights, chops was good but not great, we ordered scallops and they were not good at all, it was the quality of the scallops though and not the cooking of them so a bit disappointing, Giovanis was excellent, we also did chefs table for a special treat and it was very good but it didn’t match up to giovanis. We felt it was very long and drawn out, it lasted around 4 hours. Entertainment was a bit hit and miss, the beatles celebration was fantastic and the other headliner show was too but other than that not our cup of tea. However plenty of different bars/areas to choose if you didn’t like something. The centrum usually had something going on in it or the karaoke was a good laugh. I would agree with many others who have said that there weren’t enough sun loungers but we always manged to find somewhere eventually. As many others have said the captain was great on this ship, really friendly and even entertained us a few times with his singing! The ports were great, not much in khasab so do a tour – we did the dhow dolphin cruise for half a day was totally amazing. Muscat was really interesting did mystical muscat though cruising excurions, Abu dhabi we did our own thing and got taxis everywhere, they were so cheap and for us it was the best way to see exactly what we wanted. In dubai we went to see the old town , very interesting and totally different from glitzy/glamourous Dubai. Some great bargains so be had at the souk at the river. Overall we had a great week and would recommend the ship! Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
This was my first cruise for me and my girlfriend. In our 30's, we decided to test the water with a 'cheaper' cruise instead of going all out. Going in Feb meant that we were limited to hot places, hence the Arabian Night ... Read More
This was my first cruise for me and my girlfriend. In our 30's, we decided to test the water with a 'cheaper' cruise instead of going all out. Going in Feb meant that we were limited to hot places, hence the Arabian Night tour. My first impression wasn't a good one when we boarded. After requesting (over the phone) a double bed in our cabin, we were greeted with 2 single beds that cannot be moved. Obviously the cruise was a sell out so no chance of moving. The ship was tired, rooms a bit tatty, roof looked like it would fall at any time and no mod cons. we spent a week shacked up in a single bed - romantic! The thing that made me angry was all the extras. Despite already buying the 'all inclusive' package, we were pushed to upgrade further to the premium deal. This is where they get you as the house wines arnt great, so you want to go premium. Wifi too was expensive when most ports were free. Bingo too wasn't the cheapest at £5 a ticket so add it all together and you start to feel annoyed at thomson. Thats the bad. After a drink on the first day, we decided to enjoy it to the full and the staff were EXCELLENT!!! this is what made the trip. THE STAFF. Anton, Jeffry, Risnillo, and pretty much everyone made this trip exceptional. The weather was rubbish all week but the food, staff, entertainment and facilities were brilliant. So, whats my verdict. would i do it again? Yes, i would! Not because this is the biggest, smartest ship, but the fact we had a week of laughing and felt totally at ease with everyone on the ship. TOP TIPS!! ASK FOR A DOUBLE BED AND GET IT IN WRITING!!!!!!!!! Take a strip extension gang as there are 2 measly plugs in the room. Take ear plugs as i dont care what people say, its noisey!! You either get waves, engine hum, party goers next door or keen sight see=ers at 530am getting up when you went to bed 2 hours before!! Get your sunbeds early on sea days! You wont get one Eat in the waited restaurant. Brilliant staff and food Enjoy yourself! Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
Was not expecting much and I got what I expected.Ship is way past it's sell by date,needs a massive deep clean,everywhere I looked I could see flaws.The solarium was filthy,I wiped my hand across a ledge and it was filthy,the floor ... Read More
Was not expecting much and I got what I expected.Ship is way past it's sell by date,needs a massive deep clean,everywhere I looked I could see flaws.The solarium was filthy,I wiped my hand across a ledge and it was filthy,the floor tiles were so grimy needed a good jet wash.Our cabin looked ok but when you started probing it wasn't great. Food in general has definitely deteriorated,not awful but nowhere near as good as it used to be.We ate in Chops and Giovanni which were both excellent. Shows were just ok,nothing special.The best entertainment was in the Atrium every evening where everybody had a great time. The best thing about this ship is the staff,cheerful,helpful and willing.The Captain was also super friendly and always ou and about. Despite all the above,we had a great holiday even though the weather was poor,but I definitely wouldn't go back on this ship and I wouldn't recommend. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
Embarkation/Disembarkation -------------------------- We landed early at Dubai airport. Fairly big queue at passport control, but emerged into the sunshine around 10:30am. We ignored the taxi people inside the terminal and just went ... Read More
Embarkation/Disembarkation -------------------------- We landed early at Dubai airport. Fairly big queue at passport control, but emerged into the sunshine around 10:30am. We ignored the taxi people inside the terminal and just went straight to the taxi rank. Cost was 55D (around £12) to the Port Rashid where our ship was. Tip: Make sure the driver turns on the meter as we heard stories of people getting ripped off. On arrival at the ship, a fairly quick process to get signed in and on board. Although our cabin wasn't supposed to be ready till 1pm, we went to it anyway and it was available which was a bonus. However as yet we had no cruise cards and that involved a separate trip to a bar to pick them up. If you turn up after 1pm, they will be in your cabin. Not sure why MSC don't follow pretty much every other cruise line and issue them at check in !! The cabin was a balcony and was well appointed and was comparable to balcony cabins on other ships Dining ------ We were on the Aurea package, so had the Any Time Dining included automatically. This meant we could arrive at the Red Velvet restaurant at any time from 6:30pm to 9:30pm and be sat down. No booking required. Each night was a different six course dinner offered with different themes. The issue was that the quality and taste of the food was average at best. Having cruised before on RSSC, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Fred Olsen, Norwegian and Azamara, we feel we can give a neutral honest opinion. It was disappointing and probably the biggest failing of the cruise. There was a Tek Mex restaurant available for a bit extra, but we never tried it. Lunch was catered for either as a served three course in the Red Velvet or as a buffet in the Zanzibar. To be honest I preferred the buffet as a three course for lunch and six course for dinner was too much for me. Bottom line is that if food is very important to your holiday enjoyment, then MSC are probably not for you, unless you can stretch to Yacht Club where they have a different (and apparently very good) restaurant. Bars ---- I have to say I was very impressed by the sheer number and size of the bars. Depending on your preference (quiet, background music, ballroom or dance), there was a bar to cater for you. All were pretty empty as well, so no problem getting a seat. Allegrissimo Drinks Package --------------------------- Again because of the Aurea package, we got the Allegrissimo drinks package for free. It worked well and we were happy. You get a choice of two reds/two whites/one rose and one sparkling. The reds were a Merlot and one I'd never heard of, but were perfectly acceptable. The whites were a Chardonnay and another unknown Italian. The choice stayed the same for the whole cruise, so did get a bit samey towards the end. A couple we got to know went for the premium package, but couldn't always get their first choice of wine as the bars and restaurants seem to have their own stock. Still at least they did get the whole bottle on the table, whereas we had to order by the glass. Having said that, service was good and we were never left long with an empty glass. Entertainment ------------- The second biggest disappointment after the food was the entertainment. I'm used to fairly big shows with maybe guest acts flown in. However the shows (apart from the Micheal Jackson one) were instantly forgettable. The cruise director (can't remember his name) was even more forgettable and didn't seem to have any role on the ship other than to practice his six languages before each show. Another disappointment (oh dear I don't want to come across as a whinging pom) was the daily activities. Almost every other cruise I've been on has had an extensive daily list of activities (quiz, table tennis, lectures, etc.). On MSC, although they do have some daily activities, they are almost exclusively based around the main pool (including the quiz !!). Service ------- I've seen the reviews that say that the crew are a surly bunch, but to be honest they seemed very happy and we received good service, so no complaints here. wifi ---- I don't normally sign up for WiFi on board as it is usually horrendously expensive, but MSC has some very reasonable packages. We went for a two person package for the whole week and it was around £40. Not bad at all and it even worked !! Excursions ---------- Again give MSC it's due, the excursions were very reasonable. We booked a couple online before we left and they delivered all what was promised, so thumbs up to MSC for this. Ports of call ------------- Dubai - We had a MSC tour to see the main sites. Slight downside is that you spend most of your time in the coach travelling between the locations with perhaps 20mins at each stop. The city is very large and spread out, but it was very interesting. Abu Dhabi - The official MSC city tour was fully booked, so we took a taxi to the Grand Mosque (45D - £10 each way). This was the stand out monument for me on the entire cruise and simply cannot be missed. It is breathtaking. Muscat - It was actually raining when we arrived and the streets were flooded. We walked for a bit but gave up in the end. Nothing memorable about this stop. Khasab - We took our second MSC official tour which involved an hours drive to a small castle (which looked like it was built yesterday) and then an hours drive back. In hindsight, not a good idea. Sir Bani Yas Island - This was a bit of an unknown as it was only very recently opened. Tenders took you to a golden beach with sunbeds and umbrellas stretching for a long way in each direction. There are separate areas for Yacht club and Aurea and also lots of bouncy things in the sea for the kids. The beach areas also had bars and BBQ's set up, so you could use your drinks package on shore and not feel you are missing out. However the facilities are limited and unless you are dedicated beach people, a few hours was enough. Conclusion ---------- So overall a good cruise. MSC cater to a certain demographic. They offer some amazing bargains and are truly value for money. But the low cost obviously has to mean some cutbacks and the food I'm afraid is the obvious one. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
This was our second RC cruise and although Vision of the Seas is a much smaller ship than we cruised on before it had many features that we preferred. The pool area was less busy and there was no bum fights for sun beds as before. With ... Read More
This was our second RC cruise and although Vision of the Seas is a much smaller ship than we cruised on before it had many features that we preferred. The pool area was less busy and there was no bum fights for sun beds as before. With fewer passengers the bar areas and restaurants were less busy. It is not really a cruise liner for teenagers (luckily we didn't take ours this time) and the clientele was much older. At 44 I think we were amongst the youngest of passengers. Staff were all very attentive in the restaurants and bars and our cabin maid kept our room immaculate, changing the bedding daily. I would have liked to have had tea making facilities in the room but it really isn't a hardship to trot upstairs to one of the drink stations. The drinks packages are expensive but the wine was of a very good standard and I think we got our monies worth over the period of the week. We didn't book any excursions as these are quite pricey. We simply took the free shuttle bus rides into the towns and then explored independently on foot, using a taxi to return to the ship from Dubai (only $15). Check in/out is a very organised proceedure and we didn't have to queue at any time. Our luggage was delivered straight to our room for when we arrived and delivered to the collection point on disembarking. Overall an excellent cruise. We hope to cruise again with RC In the near future. Read Less
21 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
Everything about our time spent on the ship was great - couldn't fault the staff, food, entertainment and cleanliness of all areas. The cabin was very spacious and catered adequately to our needs with plenty of wardrobe space, ... Read More
Everything about our time spent on the ship was great - couldn't fault the staff, food, entertainment and cleanliness of all areas. The cabin was very spacious and catered adequately to our needs with plenty of wardrobe space, hairdryer, safe (which you could use for a fee) & on-suite shower. There was an abundance of delicious food in the buffet restaurant and out on deck - it was always well cooked and hot. This was our first cruise and we booked it at a very reasonable price (all inclusive). However, once on board we were to discover that not everything was included - if you wanted a premium drink (my husband only drinks Guinness) this would mean that we had to pay another £70 each for the upgrade to premium (even though I was happy with the drinks included in the all inclusive deal, because we were sharing a cabin this meant that I also had to pay for the upgrade = £140 on our price. The Costa Coffee shop on board was not included in the all inclusive package - so this meant that if you fancied a Costa Coffee/hot chocolate etc. you needed to pay for it!!! Also, if you wanted to eat a la carte at one of the restaurants you needed to make a booking and pay for your meal. Be aware that the Thomson excursions are pretty expensive and we found it much better to arrange our own. I think we would do a little more research before booking another cruise - as to what exactly is included in the all inclusive and the price of excursions with the company. Read Less

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