5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
chosen purely because of itinerary.Got off to a bad start when pick up bus at Nice Station didn't park where stated. First night on board,air conditioning noise in room was not put right until midnight.Next 2 days,no shower due to ... Read More
chosen purely because of itinerary.Got off to a bad start when pick up bus at Nice Station didn't park where stated. First night on board,air conditioning noise in room was not put right until midnight.Next 2 days,no shower due to thermostat non function producing only boiling hot water.Tried to fix but didn't work,no shower that evening.Next day,put new thermo,didn't work either and again no shower that evening. Was I offered other room,shower elsewhere etc Big NO is the answer despite my protestations.Got no response from reception,cabin management or English rep for Costa.Eventually fixed by reversing the taps.Offered bowl of fruit as compensation and bottle of Prosecco,NO Thanks.Long Queues at reception for two mornings resulting in most giving up due to lack of staff.No lack of staff on trips booking desk though???? One of the last stops we made was Al Fujairah.What a dump of a port,full of shipping for oil tankers,oil storage tanks etc.You really have no choice but to pay to get out and do anything.Must be visited due to cheap berthing costs we be my bet.Will be writing to Costa re compensation.( was offered 150 Euros by Casino,but only because of my extensive spend in the casino) Final port Dubai was docked at 8am,had no choice but to get off as first passenger as my flight home was at 11.55 am,because passport was taken by Dubai immigration with others and I was only able to disembark near to 9am with all my luggage to visit immigration which did not open till 9am then to locate my transit car to airport.All of this was pointed out previous day but no assistance given,nor any help when I was panicking to ensure I wouldn't miss my flights back home and connections.Reception desk on board was one of the most unreceptive both in assistance and in language that I have ever encountered. The buffet restaurant food was OK but like most,served on cold [plates which means when you find a place,your food is cold.Difficulty in getting a hot plate when asked.The coordination of programmes on board interfering with other programmes was hopeless as were the English announcements made over the tanhoy and during events on board where because of lack of the English language were incomprehensible.This company is not one I would recommend to anyone from UK.I had difficulties,yet I speak French fluently,enough German,Italian,Spanish etc to make myself understood.Pity they could not reciprocate.The best English speakers were the Russians and the Philipinos. I rest my case,never and which is why I tore up my 150 euro gift. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
Mediterranean Cruise Vacation ex Barcelona on MSC Fantasia. We have previously sailed with Celebrity, RCL, and Norwegian in The Caribbean, Alaska and on the Pacific coast, and this was our first European cruise and first with MSC. We ... Read More
Mediterranean Cruise Vacation ex Barcelona on MSC Fantasia. We have previously sailed with Celebrity, RCL, and Norwegian in The Caribbean, Alaska and on the Pacific coast, and this was our first European cruise and first with MSC. We are a married couple from Chicago who traveled with two single friends and we had adjoining cabins. We chose the Yacht Club package due to the all-inclusive feel, the price and the itinerary. This was a port-intensive trip with just two mornings at sea. One thing new to us was the idea of people embarking and disembarking at different ports throughout the cruise: on almost every cruise I can think we’ve been, we’ve had a complete passenger turnover on Day 1 of the cruise: not on MSC. Embarkation/ Boarding: Very smooth operation. Yacht Club personnel came to meet us (they must have seen the luggage tags) We were offered canapes and beverages while waiting for check-in. We were escorted in on the same line as everyone else, bypassing them as the butler led us on. No later than 20 minutes after boarding, we had our key cards and were given a tour of the Yacht Club enclave by our butler Germain who also thoroughly explained the workings of items in the cabin. The safety drill was an entire joke; no one was paying attention? The Cabin: 15001 is a large square room with an oversize balcony. The cabin was always perfectly maintained for the duration of the cruise, but the TV screen was way too small for a cabin this size and was so far away from the bed that you could hardly enjoy anything on screen. We first always had to call for ice but after three evenings they got it and the ice bucket was always full when we got back. Europeans don’t use ice nearly as much as Americans; even our drinks had just a couple cubes compared to at home. Our friends next door had a regular size cabin; 15001 is really a nice cabin with extra space if that’s important to you. We had a large walk-in closet which had a lighting system operated by foot movement, so if you were in there not moving around you’d be left in the dark until you moved again! A bit disconcerting I suppose! We found it funny…. The bedding and bed linens/pillows were all amazingly comfortable and of a very high quality. A wide selection of toiletries was provided in the bathroom which had a bathtub/shower combination. We also had a larger balcony than our fiends next door, that curved a bit towards the front of the ship. The Dining: Meals at L’Etoile were good but not stand-out exceptional. We had dinner there every evening, a few lunches, and just one breakfast which was slow but good. Service was attentive but not overbearing. We appreciated having this option as the regular ship buffet was always crowded and loud with people not keeping in lines. We ate there just once to try the pizza which was excellent. As a Yacht Club member you get to enjoy complimentary gelato throughout the ship, health bar shakes at tbe spa and chocolate cocktails at the Venchi bar on 6. On “Elegant” night (MSC doesn’t have “Formal”), we saw only two tuxedoes in Yacht Club, and most people dressed in smart “business casual” attire. Many men wore blazers and khakis, few even wore ties. I have no experience of what it was like in the main dining room but no one seemed to bother much about keeping to any kind of dress code. One nice thing about the Yacht Club was the personalized attention we received at all times on The One Pool deck and at the Top Sail Lounge, including Afternoon Tea service. There was always a constant stream of snack food available throughout the day and evening. The Entertainment: the Italian Operatic evening was enjoyable as was the French evening, but the others were just bad-mix combos of ballroom dancing, skipping-rope and street-dancing routines and I have seen better High School productions in theater. Elsewhere on the ship we had a pianist every evening at the Yacht Club Top Sail Lounge., and there were various bands and musical entertainments elsewhere that we heard about but didn’t experience. One thing I noticed on MSC is that there are many more smoking sections in some of their indoor spaces than seem to be the case of the American cruises we’ve been on. The casino, the indoor lounges all allowed smoking (sections of the lounges were non-smoking but the smell of Febreze next morning—it is used liberally to get rid of cigarette smoke stink--was quite nauseating). Personally, I would prefer a non-smoking cruise option and will look for that on our next cruise vacation. The Spa: Yacht Club guests have access to the sauna and steam room areas at all times; there is a special elevator that takes Yacht Club guests directly into that part of the spa. Otherwise you have to enter the spa through the main doors on floor 14 which is like being attacked by mosquitoes, so aggressive are the spa staff at selling options and offers. A word to the wise: I tipped my service provider at the spa generously but realized after seeing my receipt that a 20% service charge is automatically added, so you do not need to tip unless you think your therapist deserves more than that. My therapist was exceptionally good at her job, professional and obviously well-trained. The ship in general: Shore excursions: Poor offerings from MSC so we did our own thing. Ajaccio: we walked off the ship and explored this French town on our own. Visited Napoleon’s birthplace and an art gallery and artisanal craft store. Typical French south-coast town. Nothing much to note except the main street closest to the harbor is exceptionally touristy and you have to go up the hill to the next level or two to get the real French town feeling. Rome: picked up a rental car in port of Civitavecchia (near train station: took shuttle from ship to port entrance and port entrance to station about 4 Euro round trip) and drove to Odaleschi Castle on the shores of Lake Bracciano. Lovely day, The castle is home to an Italian Princess Orsini, and is famous for its celebrity weddings, such as Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. I can see why… views are stunning. On the drive back we stopped at an Etruscan Necropolis and overall had a great day and were back on ship in time for a very late lunch at L’Etoile. La Spezia: took the public ferry from the port to Monterosso. We’ve been to the Cinque Terre before, and have actually hiked the trail, from Vernazza to Manarola, but this time around were happy to see it from the water and to see Monterosso which is a lovely village. Took the train back and walked to the ship. We stopped at the hotel we had stayed at two years’ ago and the receptionist recognized us! It was amazing! Another exceptional and memorable day. So enjoyable! Geooa: took a walking tour of the old town with a local guide organized on get your guide dot com. This was a great tour and included entrance to the Palazzo Rosso which is memorable for its rooftop views in addition to its art collection. Also we were back on the ship in time for lunch and then had the afternoon free, which some of us explored on our own and others used the ship as a vacation destination! Cannes. Tendered here. Took a tour to Monaco and Eze with Viator dot com. Also highly recommend this company. Bring your passport: you can get a free souvenir passport stamp in the Monaco Tourist Office in Monte Carlo (opposite the Casino but uphill at other end of the garden). It’s a nice and colorful souvenir. Unlike most things in Monaco, it’s free. Saw the Changing of the Guard at the Grimaldi Palace, visited the small nearby Cathedral where Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier, and visited their crypt behind the high altar. Vita Brevis and all that. Enjoyed delicious ice-cream. The views of Antibes and Cap Ferrat from Eze are truly memorable. Eze is a lovely hillside village and is home to both the Fragonard perfumery and the Chevre D’Or Hotel/Restaurant. Walt Disney once visited here and it is obvious it inspired some of his work. We were lucky to get there early before the hordes of tour busses, and climbed to the sculpture garden at the summit for some of the best photos of our trip. Palma de Mallorca: MSC charging 14 Euro for a round trip bus transfer for what I consider a nice walk. Save money if the weather is not too hot and do it yourself. It’s less than ½ mile each way. We ended up taking the bus due to a travel companion’s foot problem and explored the Cathedral and Old Palma downtown. The ship was late in port this evening but we were back in time for dinner and wanted to enjoy our final evening on board. Excursions: we really saved a lot by going independently and lots of these ports are worth exploration; we had heard poor reports about value of ship excursions but no complaints at all about get your guide dot com or viator dot com, botb of which offered exceptional value and well-organized tours MSC overall: Yes we really enjoyed this cruise but if we were not in Yacht Club we felt the ship had a crowded feel and a loud ambience. Once we entered the Yacht Club enclave everything became very quiet and peaceful and we loved spending time either on our balcony, in the Top Sail Lounge, or on the One Pool Deck. Nice touches included live piano music every evening, the free mini-bar in the suite and the daily newspaper that arrived with the morning coffee. I would choose MSC again but only in the Yacht Club. The wait staff and bartenders remembered our drinks, the concierge was exceptionally helpful and we were well looked-after. Packages: I pre-paid and saved 40% on the basic or standard internet package which lasted for the duration of the cruise. I also pre-paid for one of two massages that I had. We did not bother with photograph packages as we take enough on our phones! Our travel agent provided us a $250 shipboard credit per cabin which we applied towards things like laundry and spa services. Overall this was an excellent vacation and very relaxing. Disembark: we were first off the ship and our luggage was waiting, as was our driver; we had arranged a private full day tour of Barcelona and Montserrat and our luggage was stored securely on vehicle while we did this tour. It was an excellent introduction to our next four days in Barcelona before returning home. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
I wanted to experience the mediterranean without having to move from hotel to hotel so I thought a cruise would be a great alternative when travelling alone. I was apprehensive to say the least after reading what other people had written ... Read More
I wanted to experience the mediterranean without having to move from hotel to hotel so I thought a cruise would be a great alternative when travelling alone. I was apprehensive to say the least after reading what other people had written in their reviews. The flights were long but reasonable (I flew Etihad). I had 3 nights in Genoa before embarking the Magnifica staying at the Grand Savoia Hotel. It was beautiful, luxurious and well positioned close to the centre of town. Food and staff were wonderful. Worth the extra expense. Joining the ship was ok, organised, but not explained very well. Perhaps that is because being Australian it was difficult to hear the English announcements over the PA as everyone was noisy and talking. Considering the number of people to be processed, I think the wait was about an hour. The boat was clean, well maintained and the staff spoke a number of languages. 80% of the people on my cruise were 60 yrs + the rest were couples or families. I only met two other people travelling alone during my time on board. Most were german, dutch, russian, spanish or italian. I liked the european flavour even though I didn't have many people who I could chat to. There were many bars offering a variety of entertainment each night, catering to a large audience as well as theatre shows. There was a wide selection of activities for all ages and I found the food to be exceptional in choice and quality catering to all tastes. I booked and paid for all my shore excursions before I left Australia, this was definitely a much easier way to do it, as the booking office was very busy on board and saved me having to wait in line. I found all the excursions informative and fun, but a couple of the tour guides spoke more in an alternative language than english, so I didn't understand what was being said. The cabin was clean and tidy, but by no means luxurious. I had a balcony, which was worth the extra money in my opinion. The disembarkation process was a lot quicker than getting on and I liked how organised the staff were with getting so many of us off and connected to our luggage so easily. I stayed for another 3 days in Genoa at the Novotel before returning to Aust. It was ok but no nearly as nice as the Savoia (note to self, don't stay in a less expensive hotel after you have experienced a luxurious one). I will do another cruise next year and take my daughter. I am looking forward to it. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
I spent 3 nights on MSC Fantasia, sailing from Genoa to Barcelona, Marseille and then back to Genoa. It was short but absolutely wonderful, mediterranean winter sailing at his best on the finest of all ships. I stayed in the Yacht ... Read More
I spent 3 nights on MSC Fantasia, sailing from Genoa to Barcelona, Marseille and then back to Genoa. It was short but absolutely wonderful, mediterranean winter sailing at his best on the finest of all ships. I stayed in the Yacht Club, which is to say MSC cruises luxurz experience: larger cabins, a dedicated lounge, restaurant, a personal buttler to accomodate any of my needs right there and then. Food was delicious as always on MSC cruises, across all restaurant and buffets. The dedicated YC restaurant being the pinnacle of the experience, equivalent to a Michelin-star restaurant I went to the gym every day at differnet timings. Staff was friendly and forthcoming and there were always plenty of space and free cardio machines. No lines, no queues like on other ships with smaller gyms. All machines were Technogym top of the range, in excellent conditions. Plenty of free weights, space for yoga, equipment of all sorts. Friendly and efficient Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
Our first time on a cruise, so we were apprehensive about it but was impressed from start to finish. We boarded the plane at Cardiff with minimum fuss & next saw our cases at our cabin door. Embarkation to the ship was effortless (as ... Read More
Our first time on a cruise, so we were apprehensive about it but was impressed from start to finish. We boarded the plane at Cardiff with minimum fuss & next saw our cases at our cabin door. Embarkation to the ship was effortless (as was disembarkation) & the ship was spotless in all areas that we saw. I cannot praise enough all the hard working crew members from Francisco our cabin steward to the bar/waiting/entertainment staff. The bar staff/waiters were very attentive without being pushy & the food really was 'top notch'. We saw the Mike Doyle show, who was superb along with the equally wonderful Roy Locke. The ships headliner acts were also very good as were the various duo's/poolside band. All in all a great first time experience, so much so that we want to try another for new year. Next time we will have a cabin with at least a window as the inside cabin was obviously very dark & so comfy that you were in danger of sleeping in until lunch time!! We chose to do the P&O guided tour excursions to Pisa with a superb guide which was great & Pompeii which is mind blowing, again the guide was excellent. Also we spent most of the day in Dubrovnik (the best place of all for me) just using the shuttle bus. Last off we spent quite a few hrs in Venice, which disappointed me as the locals are only interested in ripping money off tourists 170 euro's for 30min gondola ride & asking for an extra 10 to sing!! Cafe's that charge (not displayed of course) 5 euro's just for sitting down, and all without a smile!! You have to go there, seeing as the ship was in port, but having done it, we won't bother doing it again Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
Brilliant cruise. I have been on a number of cruises and this by far was the best. The staff were excellent, the food was superb the room was good and clean absolutely no problems. Getting on and off the ship was easy and the excursion ... Read More
Brilliant cruise. I have been on a number of cruises and this by far was the best. The staff were excellent, the food was superb the room was good and clean absolutely no problems. Getting on and off the ship was easy and the excursion were very good as well. The ship, the Fantasis, was a first class choice and one I will repeat no problem. All in all excellent 7 nights. The entertainment was ok. did not see to much of that but speaking to others on board they liked it. The service in the restaurant was very good. The waiters took time to find out what you liked, where you sat and catered accordingly. If there is a complaint, its probably a good complaint in as much as the ship was huge and you could quite easily get lost trying to find your room, which I did a couple of times. I was pointed in the right direction on both occasions by the cabin attendants. Really really enjoyed the whole experience.. Read Less
22 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
We chose this as it was available! We thought P and O was a reputable company. The Oceana itself is very tired, and desperately in need of upgrading and modernising. Our first impression on embarking showed it to be dark and old ... Read More
We chose this as it was available! We thought P and O was a reputable company. The Oceana itself is very tired, and desperately in need of upgrading and modernising. Our first impression on embarking showed it to be dark and old fashioned inside. We had chosen a suite , so expected a few perks as we have had on other cruises when paying for a suite. But no Speedy boarding at either the airport ( it was a Fly Cruise) or the ship. The only benefit was breakfast where we had a quieter separate area for breakfast, and occasionally for dinner. Food was good n the whole. Wine list was good too.Staff were friendly and attentiveness on the whole. On other cruises perks had been reserved seating in the theatres too, not so here. However the entertainment was spectacular. We only used the tiny adult pool once. We don't enjoy busy tourist resorts, and the pool areas were just like this. They were heaving with noisy, beer drinking passengers. There should be larger pools, or perhaps one more? It was a bit like an upmarket Ibitha seaside resort i imagine . Our cabin suite was of reasonable size, though again, very tired. Furniture was dark and in need of upgrading. The balcony again, of reasonable size, needed freshening and making a bit more luxurious rather than functional. There wasn't a separate lounge area for Suite guests. We have enjoyed this on previous Cruises, being able to get snacks and drinks at any time of day. Any drinks or snacks on Oceana had to be paid for, after queuing . The lunchtime buffet, whilst looking to be quite good in selection and quality, was again heaving with people, with Butlin style queues. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2015
This was one of the best weeks of my life and I didn't want to get off the Preziosa. MSC are one of the best value cruise lines for solo travellers which is why I initially chose this cruise. The staff were outstanding, friendly and ... Read More
This was one of the best weeks of my life and I didn't want to get off the Preziosa. MSC are one of the best value cruise lines for solo travellers which is why I initially chose this cruise. The staff were outstanding, friendly and professional. The food was amazing with a lot of choice in both the buffet and dining rooms. The shows each night were fabulous with excellent dancers, gymnasts, juggler, strongmen and contortionists. The entertainment team were fantastic and I had a wonderful time at the quizzes and dance lessons. The public areas were very opulent. There were too many lounges and bars to count. I had an inside room at the back of the ship and it was spacious, quiet, and had a really comfortable bed and I slept really well. The shore tours and transfers were a little expensive and I mostly used independent transfers or tours or walked around independently. The view arriving into a new port most mornings was something I will never forget. I can't wait to book another cruise! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2014
First of all I will start by saying a cruise or any holiday is what you make it and before you book any holiday DO YOUR RESEARCH!!!!!!!! many reviewers it seems just did not research what they were getting on MSC and they should have as ... Read More
First of all I will start by saying a cruise or any holiday is what you make it and before you book any holiday DO YOUR RESEARCH!!!!!!!! many reviewers it seems just did not research what they were getting on MSC and they should have as many gripes and moans could have been avoided . I booked a fly cruise package as a solo passenger and had a fantastic deal of 0% supplement and a free upgrade from outside to Balcony cabin deck 12 ,other cruise lines could not get close to what good value this was. I flew from London Gatwick with British airways to Nice airport where we got a bus transfer to Genoa , when we arrived at Nice airport we could not see any representative from MSC (other reviewers have stated the same) but rather than get annoyed and Irate we just looked for other travelers with cruise luggage tags and stood together to wait and soon enough a Rep arrived to take us to the bus. The only annoying bit was then having to go to terminal 2 and wait another half an hour for the French passengers landing. The bus transfer took 2 and a half hours but was a pleasant coastal journey with some great views . Upon arrival at Genoa an MSC Rep got onboard and spoke in French telling passengers what to do next , then she got off the bus again, rather than be annoyed I just asked on the bus "can anyone tell me what she said" and a kind passenger told me . Once in the terminal it was the same long queues I have experienced with other cruise lines but check in was quick once you got to the desk and there was not reams of form filling as with some other lines , I dodged the photographer and didnt want a complimentary drink that was on offer so we went straight to board the ship. We went straight to the Buffet and just like all other cruise lines I have been on it was noisy busy and tiresome . I do not like buffets on any cruise and MSC are no different I just use the buffet when I need to preferring the main restaurants . My cabin on Deck 12 was great and having a balcony was a bonus it had a plastic wicker look table and 2 chairs which for some reason were changed 2 days in for new furniture which I dint like as much it was a mesh type but had a foot stool no table so I had to put my drinks on the floor . some reviews had stated they didnt get bathrobes and I didnt either so I simply went to reception to ask for one and had one sent that very same day so no problem. I had better sleep than I do at home the bed was comfy but the pillows were not too good a bit soft , I could of asked for new ones but i just used 2 together and that was fine. Our dining room was the Il Cerchio d'oro we had second sitting at 8.15 which was great we had a table for 3 as we were originally 3 friends booked together but only 2 of us went in the end so we asked for a bigger table the next night and we were given a table for 4 . The table was in a quiet area and unlike other reviews we had lots of space around us and was in an ideal position. The waiters we had were fantastic, very chatty and helpful. on day 3 the haed of food and beverages was going around the restaurant seeing if passengers were happy with food and service we happen to mention that the food was a little salty for us , No problem he said , right away he fetched the head of our section who deals with the special dietary requirements we could order our food the night before and it would be cooked salt free for us , So a fantastic outcome. Also as a vegetarian About a week in to the cruise I was getting fed up with the poor choice of vegetarian options and the sameness so once again the head of section asked what I would like instead and different dishes were cooked especially for me I felt this was Amazing service . From research I knew tea and coffee was not served after dinner so we simply went to a bar for this along with a liqueur . We had the standard all inclusive drinks package that I found to be the best I have had with any cruise line so far it had everything I wanted . Only gripe was having to pay over 5 euro for a plastic souvenir glass because this was not included when ordering the cocktail . I though a nice touch was wishing all the English mothers a HAPPY MOTHERS DAY on the cruise news and making a huge cake . We felt the evening shows were great and got better as the week went on each contained amazing dancers acrobats and singers. and even some magic yes some of the story lines and arrangements were strange but the visual display was Fantastic I especially enjoyed the Michael Jackson night and Pirate night . The cruise directer did a great job of speaking in 5 different languages, something I admired rather than found irritating as other reviews had. The activities on offer during the days and evenings I expect some found rather lacking but as I have a very busy and tiring job I was content sitting on a sun lounger reading all day in between going to the bar ad using the hot tubs. My one and only gripe would be that there was not an adult only hot tub in the free to use areas , there were not many children on board so this was not a problem on this cruise but would be during the summer. I did not have any problem finding a sun lounger or table and chairs around the pools inside or out when the weather allowed I enjoyed the Zen area which is a lovely quiet space with pools hot tubs and a bar. The inside pool area was nice and warm on cooler days and again I had no problem finding somewhere to sit and could always get in the hot tubs. Bar service I did not have an issue with having researched MSC I knew they were not 'in your face' like some cruise lines so when seated and wanting a drink just a simple smile and wave of cruise card to the bar staff was all that was needed to be served and on the occasions when bars were very busy and waiting times longer I simply went and sat at the bar and was served quicker . My one gripe here is that upon asking for an English breakfast tea I did not always get the cold milk I had asked for , but having the AI drinks package if the tea had gone cold before milk arrived I just ordered another one. Ports of call were changed because of rough seas and this was disappointing and could have been relayed to us sooner than it was , but we cannot control the weather and you need to be aware of this when cruising . I had already been to the 2 new ports of Lanzarote and Gibralter so even more disappointing but we made the most of these ports and wouldnt let it spoil the holiday. I always research ports before I cruise so the lack of information given by MSC was not an issue I suggest everyone does their own research it is much better. Another reviewer commented about there being not enough toilets on board this is not true perhaps they just did not find them! many are quite hidden and not easy to find but are on each floor near bars and lifts , when having wandered around looking for them I have asked staff who directed me to them so no problems there. I found all staff very chatty and helpful all speaking adequate English I went to reception many a time to ask them questions and for help and they were very helpful and polite always. Only gripe overall was that the use of hand sanitizer was not being monitored and enforced in the food areas . As for smoking again having researched MSC I knew smoking was allowed and where it was allowed , Royal Caribbean in the Mediterranean was the same . I did not like the smoky atmosphere in some bars so just chose not to use them and why anyone would want to gamble in a Casino in the first place is beyond me! I thoroughly enjoyed this cruise it was the best value for money cruise I have had and the most relaxing and comfortable and would not hesitate booking MSC again or Recommending them. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2012
I flew from Heathrow to Nice arriving at 10.00am, it took the courier over 3 hrs to get a coach sorted out, this meant that we did not get on the ship until 4.00pm. The Splendida is spectacular with all the glitz of 'Vegas' My ... Read More
I flew from Heathrow to Nice arriving at 10.00am, it took the courier over 3 hrs to get a coach sorted out, this meant that we did not get on the ship until 4.00pm. The Splendida is spectacular with all the glitz of 'Vegas' My cabin was on deck 10 in the aft section, it was massive with a huge double bed & included robes in your wardrobe.The balcony was 5mx4m The food and service in the restaurants were 1st class,wine which was not of the highest quality was �£24 + 15% service charge, a tad expensive. There was a charge made for bottled water. I was disappointed that there was no coffee offered at the end of your meal.It meant a trek up to the buffet restaurant on deck 14. If you like a Full Welsh breakfast, you will be disappointed, the bacon was streaky, fatty and lacked any flavour. The shows and entertainment was very good, but I was surprised they made a charge of 10euros for Salsa, Cha-Cha,& other dance classes during the day. A HUGE NO NO for me was that smoking was allowed in the lounges, especially near the dance floor and your clothes smelt of stale smoke at the end of the night. The Captains Cocktail party was a bit of a let down, as they ran out of cocktails. Make sure your on the 2nd sitting. All in all very good cruise, made some very good friends, had loads of laughs. Next time I would book my own flights,   Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
Things couldn't have started much worse - booked through Gill's travel online; a fortnight later they went bust ! Assumed I'd lose my deposit, but MSC got in touch & said they'd honour the booking. Think when they ... Read More
Things couldn't have started much worse - booked through Gill's travel online; a fortnight later they went bust ! Assumed I'd lose my deposit, but MSC got in touch & said they'd honour the booking. Think when they saw just how cheaply I'd got my single cabin + flights for 11 nights(under £700) they were more than a little shocked, & for a good while I feared that I'd be going nowhere even after paying the balance, but eventually got all the paperwork & turned up at Gatwick hoping the trip would actually happen ! BA flight, civilised hours, easy check-in, no problems - Genoa, well, found the MSC reps easily enough, and the wait on the coach could have been worse, but was definitely relieved actually to arrive at the ship (15 minute transfer...almost unbeatable anywhere !). Check in at the port definitely easier than RCI, and all the wine/spa/excursion/restaurant packages actually on sale on the way through, so no need to chase around the boat booking everything, though of course you could if it was all too much at once in the check-in shed. Welcomed onto the ship, though not taken to the cabin, though there were folk around who probably would have if I'd looked in need - quite happy to explore a little anyway ! Cabin(interior - lowest grade) just fine for 1, probably for 2; no intention of spending much time there, so quite happy. Attendant(from Bali..a lot of Balinese on the ship, & having visited the country I'm glad to say these were just as charming as I remember)on hand to make sure all was well; always was on hand if you needed, or just to have a chat. Luggage arrived within 10 minutes, a record ! The ship is spectacularly attractive, beautifully appointed restaurants, some 19 differently & elegantly themed bars, very smart public rooms & stylish pool decks. It's not garish & brash as some of the 'American' style boats, much more like a European Cunard or Princess. Always cleaning in progress, & plenty of emphasis on hygiene, though there were a lot of colds/coughs etc. on board; no idea if that had any relevance to the ship, but if so it wasn't for want of trying. The food is more European than some would like, but plentiful, varied and usually, with maybe one exception, entirely hot enough. All my (extremely pleasant) English table of 6 were delighted with it. English guests are in a minority, but everything's explained in English(usually first of the announced languages), and the crew converse very well in English...so communication should never be a problem there. Fellow guests..well many speak some English, though of course the French prefer not to and let us wallow,and Eurpeans aren't as good at queuing as we seem to like being, but most of the the time I'm afraid to say I found them a sight more polite and, sorry, refined than a lot of English/American/ S. American guests I've cruised with before....and if you happen to be able at least to say good morning or thank you in their language, it usually, as on most holidays, makes all the difference. You can spend a lot of money onboard, though most of the charges - service/drinks/excursions/spa etc. sre no different to 85% of other companies, and if you don't want to spend much you can have a delightful time without the need to. My bill on board was 6-7 hundred euros....I could easily have halved that; or doubled it, if I'd so wished. The choice is yours. Everything was slick & well organised. Most of the shows (bearing in mind if you're expecting British comedians etc. you really are on the wrong ship) were very well put together, so even if like me your tastes don't always entirely match what's on offer it's a very pleasant way to spend 45 mins. or so. I could go on....and on (!), but if you've read this far you get the picture. For a total base price of under £700 I don't think there's a holiday to touch it, & precious few other cruise lines who could offer anything like this sort of classy experience for anywhere near that. But....unless you realise you're going European, and are prepared to go with the flow & not expect everything to be just as it is back home, then you'll probably come home moaning like so many of the reviewers I was put off by before setting out ! It's my 6th cruise, my best(and that includes a gorgeous S. American trip with Celebrity), & I'll be very happy if the price is right to travel with MSC again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2011
I booked this cruise for two reasons: because it was going to Alexandria (with the opportunity to visit the Pyramids)and because there was no single supplement.The BA flight from Heathrow got us to Milan in under two hours, but the coach ... Read More
I booked this cruise for two reasons: because it was going to Alexandria (with the opportunity to visit the Pyramids)and because there was no single supplement.The BA flight from Heathrow got us to Milan in under two hours, but the coach journey from Malpensa airport to Genoa took about two and three-quarter hours. We even had to queue at the port to get off. I had checked in online, so followed the signs to the so-called Express check-in, which took longer than the ladies I had met on the plane who took the normal route. I commented on this to a member of staff who were not at all interested. I was impressed when I arrived on board to be greeted by a member of staff who escorted me to my cabin (Cunard's White Star service has something to learn from this). The cabin was well furnished and comfortable, particularly for one. My steward soon came to introduce himself and bring my suitcase.The clientelle is truly international. It must have been school holiday time in Italy, as there were lots of Italian children aboard. Other nationalities were French, German, Canadian, Norwegian, Swedish, Brazilian, etc. I did not find this a problem, and preferred it to the 'middle class middle England' crowd on our Fred Olsen Christmas/New Year cruise. However, it did mean that every announcement was in at least three languages. Consequently the quizzes were rather long winded, and the Bingo must have been a nightmare!I ate in La Reggia restaurant every night. The option was to pay extra for Mexican food or pizza in Pago Pago. The food was certainly not Cordon Bleu, more three star Italian hotel fare. Plenty to choose from as long as you like pasta and rissotto. I don't drink wine, but there were wine packages available which others on my table took advantage of and enjoyed.The choice in the self-service restaurants Pago Pagoand Bora Bora was OK - plenty of choice but somewhat lukewarm from what I hard from others. I tended to stick with salad at lunch time. The waiters are so obsessed with clearing and cleaning that it was impossible as a solo eater to get up and get seconds or dessert, as you could come back in 30 seconds and find the place cleared! I heard this from most of the single travellers I chatted to aboard. Also difficult in these restaurants to get a drink. One day I counted over 12 waiters within sight, but not one came over and asked if I would like something to drink.Oh yes drink! The talk of the ship that you have to pay for every drop of water and can only get a tea or coffee without paying for it at breakfast or afternoon tea. But let's face it this is a cheap shipand they've got to balance the books somehow. I paid £70 a day and that included a scheduled BA flight, so I was not too upset by paying a couple of pounds for a large bottle of water. The entertainment was very visual, as one would expect with an international audience. The Brits got a bit snobby what the opera performances turned in 'al together clap along' sessions. But of course the Italians treat opera very differently and it's much more a popular form of music for them. The soprano and tenor were excellent as were the dancers, but I got rather bored with the speciality acts.Some of the evening entertainment was of the Butlins style, but there were options, and the Splendida bar, the piano bar, and particularly the jazz bar offered good music throughout the evening.As on most cruise ships the photographers were a pain, but I did actually see one of them almost dragging one poor lady to pose for a picture. When they were printed (in their thousands, what a waste!) they were poorly displayed so it was almost impossible find your photo. We used to count the photographers as they packed up for the night while we sat in the jazz bar and there were more than a dozen of them.I did not take an organised excursion at every port of call, but really enjoyed the four I did at Ephesus, Athens, Mount Etna and Rome. The 'last night' was actually two nights before we got back to Genoa, as some people were disembarking at Rome. But I felt on the last day that it was all over and didn't like the feeling I was being 'thrown out' before I was ready to go. No show at all on the last evening. All in all a good value extra holiday on a beautiful ship which may have some design faults, but then so does the QM2! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2009
I recently cruised on MSC's newest ship Fantasia and would like to say that while I feel every sympathy with those who experienced a less than successful cruise on her maiden voyage, I can happily report that no catastrophe was ... Read More
I recently cruised on MSC's newest ship Fantasia and would like to say that while I feel every sympathy with those who experienced a less than successful cruise on her maiden voyage, I can happily report that no catastrophe was encountered on my cruise! What an amazing ship - a stunner and certainly the largest ship I have been on! Embarkation was easy. Using MSC Express check in DOES get one through check in very quickly but DOESN'T make the slightest difference to the amount of time spent in the 'waiting room'! (Certainly those who hadn't used this facility had to stand in queues but I couldn't say how long for) The waiting room has masses of seating, a table with complimentary soft drinks and water, and the usual 'drink package' tables where you could buy tokens for the various drink packages on offer. This is exactly how I have found it on my previous cruises with MSC. All in all it took just over two hours from arrival at the port to entering my cabin and when I arrived in my balcony cabin, my luggage was already there! My cabin was spacious and beautifully fitted and I am now completely won over to the pleasure of having my own private balcony! Once again I had the pleasure of being escorted to my cabin by a white gloved gentleman who carried my hand baggage! A minor nicety I know but most appreciated on a ship of this size! The cabin was an excellent size and although I personally prefer the blond 'wood' trim on Armonia to the 'mahogany'in my cabin on this ship - it a matter of personal taste! The majority of public areas on the ship have been designed with what I would call 'Italian retro panache'!!! Some were a trifle startling when first glimpsed, but further inspection showed incredible design flair, although the upholsters probably thought it was a nightmare!  Masses of custom made sofas and chairs! I am in full agreement with Mulliner regarding the Tex Mex (El Sombrero) and the Wine Bar (La Cantina Toscana) in finding these areas lacking in cutting edge style. The design was more 60s 'oldy worldy' pub than anything else in my opinion! I never saw either of these venues well attended which rather surprised me since their offerings were very reasonably priced (An Ensalada Tijuana, classic Caesar salad was €2.90 or Barbecued spare ribs at €4.90 in the Tex Mex and a glass of wine with meaty nibbles €4 or a Bottle of wine with two plates of Italian Cheeses and cold meats at €26 (for two people) Perhaps the majority felt like I did and preferred more congenial comfortable surroundings. Il Transatlantico was my favourite bar not least because it was the closest to my cabin! I was assigned to a window table in the Cherchio D'Oro restaurant with very pleasant dining companions. I certainly saw no lack of space as described in previous reviews and in general the service was excellent, always delivered with a smile and impeccable manners. On occasion service was a little slow but never late enough to disrupt any of the evenings' planned activities (shows etc).The food was perfectly acceptable and at times exceptional! While at times it wasn't piping hot, it was NEVER cold.  I would say that perhaps the menu descriptions in English leave a lot to be desired and MSC would be well advised to use better English descriptions in their menus. A thing I also missed on this cruise is that I never once saw the Dinner/Lunch Menus displayed in the custom built display cases outside the restaurants. I have experienced this on other MSC Cruises and find it odd that they were missing on Fantasia, particularly in view of the fact that there are other eating venues on board, including fee paying restaurants! A missed opportunity for MSC I think! After the first evening when I accepted an offered glass of iced water, it was there within seconds of my arrival in the dining room on every other evening! Breakfast was slightly different! The staff were too speedy in that the cooked items arrived before the fruit or cereals!!! A polite word was all that was needed to cure that problem! I only visited the cafeteria once at breakfast time but it was too much of a bun fight for my liking so I generally went to the dining room! (Admittedly I did attend fairly late on the first morning of the cruise and I think the majority of people on the ship had the same idea so it was very crowded!!!) I must say though that I saw no unruly behaviour among people queuing at the various service stations and the waiting/clearing staff gave very prompt service. I would also point out that I ordered juice and coffee from room service each morning (free).  My biggest complaint about the food on this cruise is that I personally found the coffee very very poor indeed and the fruit juice a very watered down version of what I would term fruit juice , all obtained from room service, cafeteria and restaurant). I also disliked the fact that the only coffee available on breakfast room service menu was decaffeinated! The coffee available from bars was excellent and not too expensive at €2.10 for a latte. Quite often when I didn't want a full breakfast, I had a latte and a warm croissant (the croissant was free!) in the Fantasia lounge. I didn't try the tea but did see that the teabags available in the cafeteria were varied flavours and of good branded quality. Computer time is expensive with the minimum amount of time being €25 for an hour. MSC should consider introducing a half hour time slot at half of that price. I also wish that MSC would remove the 'free' games (the usual Microsoft culprits, Free Cell, Hearts etc) so that people did not feel they had the right to sit and play these games for hours thus preventing people who had paid for computer time from using the computers! In this respect I was at fault for not reporting this problem to reception however I have since reported this problem to MSC. Children were not the only culprits here and when asked, the adults were the ones who refused to allow paying customers access!!! I hope they were suitably ashamed when the children willingly gave up their seats and waited patiently for paying customers to finish! For those who continually complain in reviews about announcements (in five languages!) I counted precisely 7 announcements which were broadcast over the public PA system and just 2 broadcast in the cabin itself(the latter relating to safety drills). Thankfully I heard NO entreaties to attend art auctions or buy an inch of gold, nor announcements about cocktails of the day (all necessitating spending money!) Admittedly I did not attend other functions where this would be necessary (i.e. entertainment activity such as Bingo, Dance Lessons, Quizzes) but since these are all timed leisure activities, I really do not see the problem with hearing everything 5 times although it is very slightly irritating but CERTAINLY NOT a reason for complaint on a ship of non-British/English origin. On this cruise, I would hazard a guess that Germans were in the majority and I believe that changes radically during the months of July and August to Italian. Should you have a dislike of lots of children on board, July and August would be the months to avoid. There were some children on this cruise and I have to say I didn't see any really badly behaved 'loose' children. The whole mix was very interesting with Spanish (both mainland and Canary and Balearic islands), French, Turkish, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Polish, Romanian, Dutch, Norwegian and Swedish, and these were just the people I spoke to!!! Very cosmopolitan! I didn't attend any of the shows personally. I heard some good and mixed reports about the content, for example two people I met who had diametrically opposing views of exactly the same show! This does rather proves the point that shows, whether at sea or on land, are a matter of personal taste and it would be impossible to please everyone!!! This especially applies to ships with a multinational passengers list which necessitates the shows being visual and musical only because of the problem with languages. It always strikes me as odd that those who complain about the lack of comedians in the shows are generally also the people who complain most about announcements in five languages! The Theatre was designed for its purpose therefore sight lines are excellent. I didn't book any excursions (which did appear to be quite expensive but definitely on a par with every other cruise line I have been on). The shuttle charge of €5/6 euro is definitely common to other cruise lines I have sailed on. On previous cruises with MSC, there were talks given on every port of call (given by the English speaking representative) It would seem that these are no longer available. Also previously, all of the excursions were outlined on a channel on TV but I was unable to find such a thing. Perhaps I just didn't look hard enough! Like every other cruise ship, one is plagued by the ubiquitous photographer! At €19 the prints seemed very expensive to me! Last time I bought one on MSC they were £10 (then €15) so they have increased by 26% in 3 years in real terms but 70% including current exchange rate! Drinks were decidedly expensive at €6.90 for a G & T.  Some of this is assuredly in the exchange rate but surely not all!!! The prices were known to me at the time of booking but taking what I paid for the whole cruise in to account, I cannot complain too much!!! A glass of wine at €3.50 or a half carafe at €8.80 didn't seem too expensive to me. In several local restaurants here in the UK, the cost of a glass is £4 and £10 for ½ carafes. Many people I met solved the problem to some extent by buying alcohol and mixers when in port and would accordingly have a pre dinner drink in their cabin and ditto for a nightcap! I was told (by other passengers) that bringing bottles on board was not a problem. At NO time did I see any passengers in the bars drinking anything other than drink purchased from waiters. One person also informed me that when they purchased DF drinks in the on board shop on the 4th day of the cruise, they were allowed to take it directly to their cabin! This is certainly not what is printed in the brochures/newsletters! Disembarkation was smooth. Passengers were asked to go and sit in specific areas according to destination. Contrary to a remark I have read, all nationalities gathered in the theatre, not just British!. Coloured labels (which denote your flight) were provided for luggage and as is customary on cruises, luggage is left outside your cabin and is removed at some early hour. It is taken to a holding area where it is set out in bays according to label colour from where it is collected. You then take it to your coach in the car park where it is loaded prior to your journey to the airport. Would I cruise with MSC again - CERTAINLY - perhaps on one of the smaller ships next time though! Read Less

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