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12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Background: I’m in my 50s. I live in California and work for a major Wall Street firm. I’ve been cruising for roughly 25 years and have previously cruised MSC, Carnival, Celebrity, Croisieres de France/Pullmantur, Royal Caribbean, ... Read More
Background: I’m in my 50s. I live in California and work for a major Wall Street firm. I’ve been cruising for roughly 25 years and have previously cruised MSC, Carnival, Celebrity, Croisieres de France/Pullmantur, Royal Caribbean, Princess, and Norwegian. Prior MSC Experience: We did an 11 night on Divina in late 2015 and loved it. I then booked a 4 night out of Barcelona, but MSC changed it to a 20 day out of Brazil. No phone call from MSC, no e-mail, no letter, no notification in any way. They even changed the date of the sailing. Then, they took away my Voyagers Club points because I hadn’t sailed in 3 years, after promising they wouldn’t and even though the reason for this was their fault. I’ve written a post detailing some of my frustrations that can be found by Googling MSC Comedy of Errors. There are things to like a lot about MSC, but some service-related problems that should be improved upon. Pre-Cruise: We embarked out of Barcelona. We booked a lovely and centrally located apartment near Passeig de Gracia which worked out perfectly. Barcelona is a great city, so don’t miss out on spending some time there. It’s now the 3rd most visited city in Europe, after Paris and Rome. We were surprised that MSC did not offer tours in Barcelona, so we booked 2 privately. I think they may have missed some opportunity there. Savvy Tip: If you stay in Barcelona, use taxis rather than the Metro (subway) to get around. We had dinner with a group of 11 and 2 of them were pickpocketed on the Metro. Cabs are cheap, usually quick, and less confusing. Embarkation: In Rome, our prior Embarkation on Divina was so fast and smooth. So we wondered if the experience would be the same on Bellissima out of Barcelona. And it was extremely fast and well-organized. This is an area where MSC seems to excel. The Ship: Beautiful! Obviously, it’s almost new, but there is lot of thought and technology put into this ship. The ultra-high definition screen over the promenade is stunning and MSC integrates it well into their entertainment. We did much prefer the Grand Atrium layout of Divina, however. Divina’s atrium features soaring elevators that gracefully glide up and down and a much more open and dramatic feel to that area. Bellissima has mirrored ceilings to create the illusion of height, but is not as dramatic or engaging. I’d recommend that MSC go back to more of a soaring, dramatic atrium, like Divina. But otherwise, certainly it was nice. Tip: There is a somewhat hidden glass elevator which some might not be aware of. You can access it from the port (left) side of customer service. It rides on the outside of the ship and features nice views during the day. Our Room: We stayed in balcony cabin 13021, which is technically Aurea class. But we didn’t get the extras since we only purchased the Fantastica experience. The room was an upgrade due to a technical problem on their website, which was nice. The room was on the small side, but was always very clean. The bedding, a partnership between MSC and Dorelan, was super comfortable. Our stateroom attendant was extremely friendly, introduced himself and called my girlfriend and me by name during the cruise. He commented that we were always smiling and friendly and never complained when others were grouchy and did little but complain. Well, he didn’t hear me gripe pre-cruise to MSC Customer Service, but it is a good reminder that a smile and a kind word can go a long ways. These folks work hard for little money by our standards. Always do your best to treat them with kindness and respect. We did experience a partial electrical failure that took out our TV, Zoe, some lighting, and the electrical outlets. Maintenance could not repair the issue that day, but they did fix it the following day while we were off the ship. Another Tip: If you press the Do Not Disturb button, the cabin steward’s key will be inactive. So if you forget to turn it off, he/she won’t be able to make up your room. Zoe: Unfortunately, Zoe was nearly useless. I did a YouTube video on this, but I’d say she didn’t understand the request 75%-80% of the time. Nice concept, but needs a lot of work. Food: Generally average to very good. Never great or bad. The food in the buffet during breakfast/lunch/dinner was better than expected, especially after reading some really bad reviews. Everything was very fresh, so our experience was certainly different than others. In the main dining room, meals were acceptable to very good. The best food was on the 2 Gala Nights. One Gala Night was on the last night before disembarkation, which I thought was odd, as most were packing up their clothing. Yes, I know not everyone embarks or disembarks at the same ports, but most seemed to get on and off at Barcelona. Drink Package: We purchased the now discontinued "431" drink package, which covers “house wine” (2 reds, 2 whites, a blush, prosecco dry and prosecco sweet), as well as most “non-premium” specialty drinks. The house wines were mediocre except for the proseccos, which were both pretty good. Their bartenders are uniformly lousy and don’t know how to make a drink. The quality and even character and taste of drinks would vary wildly from one bartender to another. One time, a drink would be terribly sweet, the next time not, but taste like something totally different. They really need to train their bartenders better. We left a number of drinks on the table almost untouched because they were so bad. Entertainment/Animation Crew: Fantastic! Some have complained about the entertainment, but we both thought it was the best we’ve seen on any ship. The entertainers were really good and the crew really got the audience engaged. These folks worked really hard, and it paid off. The lighting and sound system on Bellissima is excellent with one exception. For some reason, the sound system in the Bellissima Bar and Lounge sounded muted and flat. Cirque at Sea: Enjoyable and generally worth the price. However, there was a bit of false advertising involved. The show included a cocktail and the description read, “Choose from our selection of creative cocktails made with or without alcohol to your liking and enjoy it’s surprising freshness…”. However, they had only pre-made and presumably watered down (from melting ice) Gimlets. I told them that I was a type 2 diabetic and that drinking such a sugary drink was not the best option for me. I asked if they could make me something else and was told “no”. The only other option was fruit juice, which is also too sugary for me. Cirque Tip: Reserve the shows online before you board. They were all sold out and if you wait, you might not get to see a Cirque at Sea show. I do feel that they were worthwhile, although not thrilled about the aforementioned drink issue. Tours: We booked 3 MSC tours. We loved the Amfali Coast tour out of Naples and felt it was a good value. It seemed to sell out and disappeared from the onboard list of offerings, so probably a good idea to book online in advance like we did. We also enjoyed the Aix en Provence and Marseille 2 Cities tour. Well worth the money. The Portofino tour was really disappointing. It’s not that Portofino isn’t pretty, quaint and worth visiting. It’s just that you’re only there for roughly 1 hour. And the tour could easily stay there another 2 hours, so I have no idea why they rush you out so quickly. And further, you have to get on the boat to leave Portofino at noon, for no obvious reason. Guess when most restaurants and business in Portofino open? Yes, at noon. It was perplexing and this needs to be improved upon. Give the guests 3 hours in Portofino instead of 1 hour. They’ll easily make it back to the ship well before it departs. The Crew: Room for improvement, but mostly pretty good. Not as friendly as on some cruise lines, but not as grouchy as the funky Eastern European crew that we had on Divina who seemed to hate their jobs and the passengers. Most were very helpful. Not everyone spoke great English, but usually communication was not a major issue. Let me single out one man who had an attitude that I did not enjoy, and that is the restaurant manager. In short, I had booked the later dinner, but our booking got fouled up in several ways. They never did correct my prior efforts to fix my late seating request, so I figured I’d straighten it out onboard. They sent me to the restaurant manager, who looked very, very irritated. And in an irritated voice, he said, “Do you have any idea how many passengers I have to accommodate? 5,600! And you want your seating changed, right?”. I thought he was pretty uncool and unfriendly, but I just bit my tongue and thanked him for his efforts. Shops: Not bad, but can use improvement. Divina had a more interesting and eclectic selection of items that I was actually interested in. The Passengers: Mostly European. Maybe 10% American like me. Nice people. Not as fat as most Americans. Sorry if that’s crass, but it’s true. They seem to stay out late and be kind of fun, party people most of the time. I did not witness any bad behavior during our cruise. Smoking was not an issue either, which was a good thing. Medical Emergency: On the final full day, we had a medical emergency, which required that the Italian Military airlift by helicopter a 55-year old American woman. The airlift was carried out swiftly and with precision. The captain explained very clearly what was occurring and told us that there would be no delay due to this onboard emergency. It was well-executed and communications about the incident was very good. Disembarkation: NO LINE WHATSOEVER! Can you imagine? Not a whiff of a line getting off the ship. I had an early flight and customer service was very accommodating and changed my time to an earlier departure. Again, this seems to be a strong area for MSC. Final Thoughts: While things are never perfect, I think MSC gets a bad rap, often unfairly. They do need to improve their customer service, but I believe that some issues are overblown and overstated. Their new ships are beautiful and can represent a very good value. MSC just needs some tweaks to really step up their game. We have enjoyed our cruises on MSC and we have 2 more booked. If you are patient and focus on the positives and not every little nitpicking thing, I believe you will enjoy cruising on MSC in general and the beautiful new Bellissima in particular. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
My husband and I chose Bellissima for two reasons; a fantastic itinerary and the fact that the ship was brand new. As expected, the ports did not disappoint, however, the cruise experience left a lot to be desired. Truth is, we never ... Read More
My husband and I chose Bellissima for two reasons; a fantastic itinerary and the fact that the ship was brand new. As expected, the ports did not disappoint, however, the cruise experience left a lot to be desired. Truth is, we never really felt that we were guests on this cruise, but rather passengers, on a new and beautiful ferry. With passengers embarking and disembarking daily, calls for lifeboat drills every afternoon, announcements being made in five languages, etc., we never did feel that there was any real beginning or end to our vacation. In fact, we boarded in Barcelona, and just two days later we were treated to the farewell show in the theatre. And we were on a seven day cruise!! Our cabin was fine, clean and comfortable, and the production show cast and shows were terrific, but unfortunately the behaviour of the passengers in the theatre was unbelievably rude and disrespectful to both entertainers and other passengers. It is really very difficult to understand why toddlers are seated in the front row at shows beginning at 9:15pm!! Obviously, MSC has not set, or chooses not to enforce, any standards of conduct in public places aboard this ship, as rudeness, pushing, and constant noise abound. The volume in the Market Grill was so loud that we couldn’t wait to finish our meals and get out. Other disappointments on this sailing were with the quality of the food, (French fries served with main meal and no vegetables of any sort), hot food not hot, no service of coffee in the dining room unless requested, etc. In fact, the service in the Market Grill and Dining Room was dismal, as it was not unusual to see service staff standing around stations rather than offering service to passengers. Similarly, in the Market Grill, not once did we see any service staff offer to bring a passenger a coffee, or to assist anyone in finding a seat etc. Additionally, we were extremely disappointed with the lack of activities for adults (all games were in the pool area where the noise was deafening), and the fact that there were no enrichment programs or even just talks on the ports, or on the Mediterranean, or anything, really. This cruise was a lesson learned for us; an error on our part which we will not repeat. However, we both believe that if MSC is hoping to join the ranks of the excellent mainstream cruise lines sailing out there, they really have their work cut out for them. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Yes, MSC is a cheap price and you pay for everything on board, including water at the evening meal. We filled our water bottles up at the buffet and were able to take them off the ship and back on,. Tea and coffee available all day from ... Read More
Yes, MSC is a cheap price and you pay for everything on board, including water at the evening meal. We filled our water bottles up at the buffet and were able to take them off the ship and back on,. Tea and coffee available all day from the buffet. The meals at the buffet were of a good assortment including carvery, eastern, spaghetti, hot dogs, hamburgers, chips,soup, salads,pizza,vegetarian and plenty of desserts. We ate at the restaurant for breakfast and dinner. You could also eat at the restaurant for lunch if you prefer to dodge the buffet. There was never a time that we couldn't get a seat at the buffet. Meals of average size but you could ask for seconds. There is a steak house at extra cost. We did not have the drink package preferring to buy as we needed it because we were in port every day except one, Plenty of staff constantly there to serve you. Such a sparkling ship with the staff constantly wiping, dusting and vacuuming. At least 10 very hot spas to each accommodate 8 people with warm showers afterwards, not cold. Plenty of pool activities and fantastic childrens rope course, water tubes, etc. Embarking and disembarking very smooth and well organised. The staff were very helpful and polite. I find it hard to believe that some passengers comment otherwise. Only downfall was the at least 5 different nationalities on board which didn't help if you wanted to have a conversation with someone whilst sitting around the deck. May be this was because it was a Mediterranean cruise. We did not take the shore excursions because we found at every port there were local buses or hop on off buses which were a quarter of the price of MSC. We would definately cruise on the Bellissima again, a beautiful ship. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Dining: There is a german and spanish chef so seafood was not as good as with an italian chef. Dinners are fast, our waiter was really nice. In the free buffet (Deck 15) there is a huge choise of food, and really good quality as ... Read More
Dining: There is a german and spanish chef so seafood was not as good as with an italian chef. Dinners are fast, our waiter was really nice. In the free buffet (Deck 15) there is a huge choise of food, and really good quality as well. Embarkation: The embarkation and disembarkation was really fluent on this ship, everything went well. I recommend Park TorreSud if you want to park in Genoa, it is cheap and fast and working with MSC. (60-70 € /week) Entertainment: There are good parties at night. Apart from the free (daily 35min) theater, wich is also really good, you can try Circue du Soleil, which is 15€ + 15% /person. There are two shows for this price with coctail included, Syma and Varélia. We went on Syma, it was 42 minutes long (measured it) but I think worth the price and iunique opportunity. There are some other options to entertain yourself, but those are not so cheap. 30€/30min at bowling, or 55€/hour, or F1 racing for 10 minutes which looks amazing but also costs 10€. There is VR maze or XD cinema as well. But there are more free programs as well: football and basketball court, AQUA PARK WHICH is AMAZING, and also a climbing circle at the aqua park, which is really scary and fun. Fitness&Recreation We have gold voyagers membership club card, so we can enjoy the spa one hour for free, but it is a huge hipe. I would give 2,5/5 for it, nothing special, and there was no tea, wellness feeling, and nor outside view. The gym seems to be to small at first sight for a ship with this size, but it was not full. It is a really techie gym, powered buy technogym, eg. the running machine has an option to compete with others, etc.. Pools and Jacuzzi were good, and there were nearly always space int them :). Onboard experience: There is a really nice shopping hall inside the ship, with ~5 restaurants, swarovski stairs, very nice led ceiling with good animatoons, and phermacy. There are really good programs and big parties, we love italians:). Public rooms: Especially the theatre, the LED dome, the reception and the covered pool area were the most amazing. Also the aquapark was really really good as well. Service: Reception There is a reception guy usually in the middle, and he is simply such an idiot. We asked him about voyagers system, and he acted like we didn’t know english, but he couldn’t say a normal word, and he really liked z-s. When he said to us “Zathz not zrue” we were close to call his manager, but at the and we did. The others are helpful. Cabin The cabin boy looked liked trying to fight his depression. Animators were really nice. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
We (13 people) just come back from the new MSC ship Bellissima, 5/17-5/24, 2019. This was the first and will be the last with MSC cruise line. We are a mix bag of families and friends from Hong Kong and USA, age 20 to about 75. Love ... Read More
We (13 people) just come back from the new MSC ship Bellissima, 5/17-5/24, 2019. This was the first and will be the last with MSC cruise line. We are a mix bag of families and friends from Hong Kong and USA, age 20 to about 75. Love travel, love cruising. Enjoy good food and have good amount of experience with other cruise lines. There are many reasons we do not like this cruise line (see below). We bought the 'Fantastica experience' because the luxury 'yacht club' cabins were sold out. There are so many levels of 'experience'. We choose the middle one. That became the major reason we will not choose this cruise line again: Detail: One of the cabin ran out of facial tissue. Asked the steward and he said only one box of facial tissue was allowed for the whole 7 days trip. There was no wash cloth provided neither. How can we clean and dry our face? Toilet paper? Asked customer service, who asked us back: 'Are you in yacht club cabin?' 'No.' 'Then for environmental reason, we only offer one box of facial tissue for your cabin.' WHAT???? That means the yacht club (people who paid more) did not have to care about the environment and can have more than one box of facial tissue? Is it hypocrite or discrimination? Or both? The rest of the bad experience were: - Pre-trip, we tried to buy restaurant package online, which offered to choose the date and time of dining. We did, but the system gave us different date and time after check out. We wanted to eat together. Called but no help because we bought the cruise via third party. We cancel the purchase and bought again, and again, and again. No luck. Never gave us the date and time we wanted. No help even after many calls. Different agents gave us different answers. Some even lied. At the end we had to rush to check in early onto the ship in order to rush to the restaurants to make sure we got the same date and time. So much anxiety! Really unhappy even before the cruise. - bought premium drink package. Did not worth it. Individual drinks (both alcohol and non alcohol) were reasonable price onboard anyway. If you will be out everyday day for excursion like us, you would not drink that much. Besides, you have to buy the same package for all people in the same cabin even only one person drink. We lost big money out of this policy. - Quality of drink (even the same drink) were different from bar to bar. Some were really awful. Coffee was all bad. Premium coffee even worse. - bought 4 restaurants package. The package menu choices in all 4 restaurants were very limited. (You would not know it until you sit down at the restaurants.) All the really good food were not in the package menu in all 4 restaurants. So we choose to pay more on top of the (already paid) package each time. Still very disappointed with the quality and taste of food. We rated them from B- to C. So disappointed! - The virtual reality race car was terribly designed. You must be physically fit to get in and out of the car. The experience was not 'real' at all anyway. Waste of money. (The rest of the games at the game room are good though, if you are willing to pay the US $12 to US$18 per game plus 15% service charge.) - The free rope walking activity (the one that surround the water park) was fun for some people but not enough warning: there was no 'going back', nor option to come down if you feel incapable after entering. Some of us did that. Some had fun, some was horrified. But it did not looked scary until you got up, when there was no coming down. You had to finish the whole course once you were up. This activity was poorly designed. - Dining room designed was the worst we ever seen, in compare with other cruise line. No grand decoration, no character. Unpleasant. - Cabin theme color was dark and depressing. Color of carpet was horrible and cheap, did not match anything in the room. And makes the small cabin look even smaller. The only good thing about the cabin was the smart utilize of tiny space. - No game room, which was our usual gathering and social place at all our many previous cruising. No. Not in MSC. - Zoe was useless, as noted by many travelers. - Many billing mistakes. Meaning many trips to customer service. Well, we had time to spare, not much to do on the ship anyway. We advice you to watch your bill closely by using the MSC app. The good: - Crews overall were polite and helpful. Some stewards even noted our needs (Jars of hot water, wash cloth etc.) And had them ready in the cabin everyday. - Beautiful LCD dome. - Chocolate shop sold good quality chocolate. (not include in cruise package) - Shows every night were good quality (except the magic show.) We can use the MSC apps to reserve, which was great. They were not Broadway shows but very well done. - Food at complimentary buffet and dining room are overall B+ to A. Hit and miss, which is common in many mid-price cruise. We regret we bought the 4 restaurants package. We should have op to go to dining room and buffet instead. - Check in and check out were smooth, despite the rain. - Live music all day. Like them all. It made the run to customer service a little more bearable. Neutral: - The two Cirque de Soleil shows were $18 each with drink. Yes we watched both. (There was not much to do since we did not dance nor sing) Short and sweet. The same company at Macau and Las Vegas use real water (characters jump in and out of water) and in much larger scale. For people who have already watch them in Macau and Las Vegas, disappointed. But for people who never have the experience, it is good chance to get a taste of it, and with a very good price. Just one thing: there was a night that they only served grapefruit juice as non-alcoholic drink. Big risk. Grapefruit interact with many medications which double or triple the medication effectiveness. In short it causes overdose. Please serve other juice instead. - gym is smaller than average. OK for short cruise. At the end, MSC lost 13 customers by refusing to offer one more box of facial tissue. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We had not sailed with MSC before but 14 cruises with other company’s Excellent service and we had a coeliac in our group could not of been more helpful even packing lunch bag for shore lunch The shows were exceptional with great ... Read More
We had not sailed with MSC before but 14 cruises with other company’s Excellent service and we had a coeliac in our group could not of been more helpful even packing lunch bag for shore lunch The shows were exceptional with great variety and talented entertainers We could not of asked for more from this cruise very enjoyable ports The spa bath often had young children in them This I wonder if hygienic Loved deck 18 adults only bar Overlooking the pool area great spot for a quite moment The internet package was quite expensive didn’t purchase for this reason The ship never felt crowded only place I noticed noisy was the buffet are quite busy after shore excersion because the dining room shut at 1.30 they could possibly extend this until 2 pm to take the pressure if the buffet Over all the cruise was value for money with excellent food and entertainment we will return to MSC cruises again Thankyou Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Mediterranean Itinerary. Was it perfect, no. Did we have a nice time, yes ! First time on MSC and it's definitely different than Celebrity or Royal. Easy check in and disembark. You won't see the cruise director much and the ... Read More
Mediterranean Itinerary. Was it perfect, no. Did we have a nice time, yes ! First time on MSC and it's definitely different than Celebrity or Royal. Easy check in and disembark. You won't see the cruise director much and the engagement activities are very limited. The entertainment for most of the week were the on board singers/dancers. There were "ok". The rock show was very good. The others; not so much. We had superior service and attention in the dining room - the best of any cruise I have been on. The waiter struggled a bit with english and seemed a little less experienced than on other cruises, but his willingness to serve and satifsy was 150%. We had regular visits from managment staff to ensure we were enjoying everything. Food was very good. Desserts were excellent ! The ship was clean and spacious. The chocolate/coffee bar was a bit of a miss for me. The coffee isn't included in any package(disappointing) but coffee is at almost every bar. No take away cups/lids. If you enjoy walking around with a coffee (i think it's an american thing) you could bring an insulated reusable cup with you. We didn't bring kids, but the kids club did look amazing and you could tell the kids loved it. Our balcony cabin was spacious and very comfortable. Lots of elevators and we didn't wait long even on busy times during the day. Americans were only about 10% of the passengers. Overall it was a very good experience. The ports were beautiful and the price with MSC was so reasonable. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
This is the first time my husband and I cruised.so we have little to compare with but these are our thoughts.+embarking and disembraking was easy and smooth.Trips off the boat were ok.we cruised the med but in fairness when you see one ... Read More
This is the first time my husband and I cruised.so we have little to compare with but these are our thoughts.+embarking and disembraking was easy and smooth.Trips off the boat were ok.we cruised the med but in fairness when you see one place you seen them all,none were out of the ordinary and we got off at all ports (except Malta which looked gorg but hubby had vomiting and diahorrea which I took two days later and every other person we spoke to had as well !!! This just confirmed for me that people always get sick on cruise ships).anyway ,the boat itself is huge but full of accommodation and little else.restaurants with special dinning packages that if you already paid for food in the restaurant why would you pay for again! There were few people in them ,I think of you were lucky about 6 at anyone time and they constantly keep pushing the sale of them.well I think if I wanted them you would have booked them before you left.if not then you should feel free to try without pressure.But in all honesty we had the restaurant each evening and the food it it was wonderful.The entertainment was good,and shows excellent.shops if you had plenty of money to spend as they were all designer .plenty of entertainment for kids but at a cost.Everything was extra ,the aquapark,the ropes the amusement arcade and it wasn't cheap,so parents bring plenty of money with you.The buffet always busy ,breakfast choice good.went once when hubby ill for dinner ,not up to much then!a lot of wasted space with unnecessary things ,more seating would have be more appropriate.When you didn't get get off the ship at port ,everything was closed til 6pm when everyone was back on board.slightly boring!! Especially when weather poor.all in all cruising is not for us too regimented. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
I have never been on MSC but thought we would try the newest ship MSC Bellissima, what a big mistake, money wasted, thrown into the deep sea. I will NEVER EVER CRUISE with MSC again in my life. The staff does not know how to treat the ... Read More
I have never been on MSC but thought we would try the newest ship MSC Bellissima, what a big mistake, money wasted, thrown into the deep sea. I will NEVER EVER CRUISE with MSC again in my life. The staff does not know how to treat the guests, secondly most of them could not understand English (thought it is an International cruise ship but obviously not!) VERY OFTEN there was no sanitizer in the containers at the entrances of the restaurants which is not acceptable. The entertainment is poor except the Cirque du Soleil. We used our swimming towels the 2nd day and it was never replaced. We did not stop in Marseille because of bad weather they say, but did dock to pick passengers up and was not refunded in ANY WAY because of this. I bought an excursion before the cruise and when I went to the Reception desk to ask what refund I will be getting because they did not let us go off the ship in Marseille, they told me in their broken English that it is not possible as I did not book it through MSC. We met up with a young couple that was on their honeymoon, which also had the same feeling as us because he got food poisoning, ended up in the first aid centre and also said NEVER EVER WILL THEY CRUISE ON ANY MSC ship. MSC is not GUEST ORIENTATED BUT MONEY ORIENTATED. You must even buy water if you want water with your evening dinner if it is not in the Market Place. VERY VERY EXPENSIVE SHIP. Oh yes and then please check your cutlery and cups when using it, we had to take a few sets of cutlery to see which are the cleanest. We actually gave one spoon to the "Manager" that was walking around in the MARKET PLACE BUFFET AREA and told him he must take some dessert to the captain and insist he eat it with that dirty spoon. It is ridiculous what you pay and what you get. No Jean Phillipe chocolate fountain! My bed was some nights not even opened. The glass I have used in the cabin was never ever replaced or cleaned in the 7 days we were on that ship. It is disgusting!!!!!!! MSC you have not impressed me and have failed miserably. Get your act together!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The normal shows in the LONDON THEATRE must be booked otherwise you are not allowed in, it's a joke!! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We had been on MSC Seaview late last year, and while on board we took the opportunity to book this cruise and take the option of trying "Club Class". So we arrive at the port in Barcelona where we are immediately relieved of ... Read More
We had been on MSC Seaview late last year, and while on board we took the opportunity to book this cruise and take the option of trying "Club Class". So we arrive at the port in Barcelona where we are immediately relieved of our cases and escorted to the "Yacht Club" lounge area where our cruise ticket and passport were taken to process our booking. Meanwhile we are offered champagne and canapes which were very nice. Then we are escorted directly through check-in and security check, after which we were escorted directly to the ship and taken to deck 16 which is the entry deck of "Club Class". Then on into the Sky Lounge where we met Raj one of the concierges, he explained all the choices we had in relation to eating and excursions, he also helped us log on to the ships Wi-Fi system. He asked did we want any news papers,so we got the "Irish Independent" delivered to our room every morning. Madie our butler came and took us to our room, where our luggage had been delivered, we were given her phone number for use 24 hours a day. Restaurants we were taken to the "Yacht Club" restaurant where we had lunch served by happy cheerful staff. Unlike most ships restaurants this had many tables for two, and plenty room to move around. We booked dinner for 21:00 that evening. On arriving for dinner we were seated at a table near the window, then offered a drink,which we availed of. Presented with the menu containing quite an extensive choices, the waiter told us about the specials and gave us some suggestions. Given the level of service and extensive menu we decided we would dine in this restaurant for the cruise for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Wondering through this vast ship we say the wonderful crystal staircases throughout the ship. The shopping arcade area has the most wonderful lighting system constantly changing views. Plenty shopping opportunities and as always on cruises the constant special offers sales. Numerous bars and coffee shops, large casino for those that fancied a flutter. We were so impressed with the whole "Yacht Club" experience that we went to meet Claudia the "Book Your Next Cruise" Rep and selected another cruise next September, she printed out the details. As i did not take my wallet, she said she would be in the Sky Bar that evening and I would pay the deposit. So as promised Claudia arrived and we went over to see her, she then said she had looked at our booking and had got an even better offer which reduced the cost so we happily paid our deposit and retired to have another G & T Unfortunately all good things have to come to an end, we had our breakfast and then back to the room and a last tidy up. we were then directed by Raj to the bar and we would be called for disembarkation. Madie arrives and takes us down to deck 4 and the gangway and on to baggage reclaim where she gets our cases and takes out to the taxi rank and calls us a taxi and loads in the cases and we say our goodbyes. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
I booked this cruise as I really liked the look of MSC Bellissima, and the timings worked as part of a 4 week Europe trip. Was a little nervous as I'd never cruised before, and have been a completely independent traveler all ... Read More
I booked this cruise as I really liked the look of MSC Bellissima, and the timings worked as part of a 4 week Europe trip. Was a little nervous as I'd never cruised before, and have been a completely independent traveler all around the world for a decade. However the 16yo I was traveling with loves cruises, and the ports (particularly Messina and Valetta), were very appealing to me. We had a great time, as plenty of Cruise Critic reviews and forum posts had me well prepared for the oddities we found onboard, and we just went with the flow and didn't let those petty things ruin what is overall a very fun and relaxing vacation. The food in the MDR was solid but not spectacular. I'm a pretty fussy foodie and had no problem enjoying what was there. Staff were great too. Had breakfast, lunch and a couple of dinners in the buffet, and also found the food pretty decent with a good variety. The buffet was busy but not overwhelming. It's worth noting the fresh mozzarella and ricotta onboard were absolutely brilliant, and made for really great pizzas available all day and almost all night. We really loved the midnight snacks that were in the buffet for the late night munchies. Most definitely see a Cirque show, my teen wasn't very keen but then found himself really enjoying Syma, absolutely spectacular given the small space. A really intimate and enjoyable show. The itinerary was a highlight, with all the ports being very central and the view from the ship itself was worth the price alone. It was like having a 20 storey viewing platform and looking of the Strait of Messina towards Mt Etna at sunset on sailaway was something divine. The oddities: - drink packages were deceptive. Had a premium plus package stating "the freedom to quench your thirst however, whenever and wherever you like!". This was only partly true, excluding chocolate drinks from Jean Phillipe, despite my package as I purchased it not mentioning this as an exclusion. Staff outright refused despite showing them the printout. Same problem with the kids package "their choice of alcohol-free cocktails, sodas, energy drinks, bottled mineral water, flavoured water, fruit juices, a wide range of premium coffee drinks, hot chocolate delights etc" Tried to get energy drinks from the Sportsplex bar, and they charged him for it. And there were no 'hot chocoate delights' onboard except for the excluded Jean Phillipe. In the end I just gave up arguing, except pointing out that everywhere onboard they spruiked the packages they had the Jean Phillipe menus there. Incredibly deceptive, and in Australia would earn you a fine for misleading advertising. - Teen area was almost permanently closed. It turns into a 'nightclub' at night and in the morning they just don't bother switching it back. We only saw the PS4 consoles and other 'teen' things once on boarding day, and never again. - Getting sports equipment and other things seemed impossible. We got 4 different pieces of advice to get the small ball for table soccer or just soccer balls for sportsplex, and never managed to work it out. - closing the delightful and warm indoor pool at 8pm was absolutely bizarre, and reeked of trying to get people away from free entertainment to spend money somewhere else. This, combined with the staff sometimes taking over the sportsplex, and the teen area being non-existent, meant my teen had little to do some nights. However we refused to let those little things ruin what was generally great fun. I enjoyed the mixed nationalities onboard, watching the Champions League in the bar was great, some great drinks, the Tapas bar has some excellent food (though pricey compared to Spain of course!). And the vibe was generally relaxed and fun. Once I got used to the idea of 'doing nothing', just lazing by the indoor pool with a kindle and a cocktail, enjoying some beautiful views, really can't be beat. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I have always said, if you don’t enjoy a cruise it’s because you are a miserable person. My husband and I love cruising. We have sailed on Disney, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Princess and Carnival. In April, we sailed on the MSC ... Read More
I have always said, if you don’t enjoy a cruise it’s because you are a miserable person. My husband and I love cruising. We have sailed on Disney, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Princess and Carnival. In April, we sailed on the MSC Bellissima for the first time, and they turned us into those miserable people who hate cruises! We boarded the MSC Bellissima in Barcelona Spain on Friday, 26 April for a seven-night cruise throughout the Mediterranean. The problem started as we boarded. Drink package: We were approached by a crew member (doing her job) to purchase a beverage package. We informed her (first time ever) that we wouldn’t need one. This cruise had five stops to incredible ports in France, Italy and Malta. There was only one day at sea and our package included twelve free drinks each per person. Neither I nor my husband drink much so we thought if we drink more than 24 drinks, we will just pay for them. We were politely informed that our package did not indicate any free beverages at all, and she suggested it might be in our best interest to purchase one. ALL beverages, except for “fountain juice” at breakfast in the buffet area and self poured tea and coffee, required purchase. So, we purchased a “premium” package, next best thing to all inclusive. Thinking we can’t go wrong there. It cost $946 Canadian. We soon found out the following: • We went to the chocolate store/ café and asked for a coffee with Baily’s. We were informed our package didn’t cover that. I could go to the bar next door and get it there. • We went to the champagne bar and I asked, “What is a nice champagne?” The bartender suggested a brand. So, I gave him my drink card, he looked at it and passed it back said “Your package only covers drinks up to $10. This champagne is $18 a glass.” So, I said, “Suggest one my package covers.” The bartender gave me the “What the hell do I look like, a servant, look?” That was followed by an eye roll......kid you not. • We dined in the main dining room each night. The water for the table and coffee during meal was charged to our cards. It’s not free as it is on other ships. Imagine, being charged for water! • The drink card can’t be used in the Cirque du Soleil theatre. You have to buy your drinks there. • After supper the waiter came around with shots of Limoncello for $7 each. I gave him my drink card and was told, “It doesn’t cover speciality drinks.” Even though my card covered up to $10 a drink. • The drinks were low on alcohol and high on syrup. Every drink was sugary and thick. Some were undrinkable. • The drink card can’t be used in the theatre. You have to buy your drinks there. Dining: The MSC Bellissima has a choice of 12 dining venues and 20 bars that promise something special for every taste. But only the main dining room and buffet are covered by your fare. We paid $3,691.04 not counting gratuities, drink package and internet charges. We had asked for and received on our booking (confirmed) late dining at a table of six or eight with other couples. We do this as we enjoy meeting others and the late dining gives us more time to enjoy daytime activities/excursions without a rush and no hurry to finish dining as no one coming behind you. The dining was a disaster. • Although we booked for the eight pm setting, we were given the seven pm setting. This wasn’t a problem and we adjusted our day. • We were sat at a table for two. We told the maître d’ that we asked to be seated with other guests. We were instructed to ask people at the next table if they wanted to pull the tables together. While all around us were larger tables with only one or two couple at them. The next evening, we were informed they moved us, without asking. Not expected, but Excellent!! Must be a table with others. No, it was another table for two behind a huge pillar. We told the maître d’ that this was unacceptable, and we were leaving the restaurant. Finally, he put us with a table of three other couples, who turned out to be fabulous people. • This is the first cruise ship where the waiter comes around with a basket of various types of breads. Normally this is laid on the table in fine dining restaurants and cruises. We were told we could pick from the basket and if we wanted more, we had to ask. • Once again, simple things like water and coffee in the dining rooms, are charged to your account. This is normally free on ships. • The menu was unbelievably bad. It looked great on the menu, but the food was substandard. On their web site, they say, “MSC Bellissima's main restaurants serve first-class Mediterranean and international specialities in elegant surroundings. Menus change every day, and exquisite dishes have been created for the Elegant dinners by awarded-winning Spanish Master Chef Ramón Freixa and the Internationally acclaimed German Master Chef Harald Wohlfahrt.” It is the first time I’ve seen a full table send back their food. And we were not the only ones. The food was disgusting. (See the picture of the chicken breast supper). The portions were smaller than a Weight Watchers frozen dinner. Both in the main restaurant and the buffet. The chicken breast was a slice of chicken served with a handful of fries with no vegetables. The beef was served the same way. I would be horrified to serve either to a guest at my house. In each port of call, the restaurants close to the ship’s terminal were full of passengers all with the same complaint of being hungry. I also had two bouts of food poisoning on board. • In the evening we would go to the buffet to see if the food was any better. The buffet closed between 10-midnight. So, we had to wait until midnight for food. The only things served were pizza, fries, fruit (most of it was rotten – see picture) and tiny sandwiches. They had salsa but no chips. • There was no surf and turf night, which is a standard on cruise ships. • The main complaint from everyone we spoke to on the ship was the food and how hungry people were. • It was quite common to find rotten fruit in the buffet. (See picture.) Service: Besides the awful food, the service was just as bad. • On our first excursion day, we had to be at the meeting point by 8 am. We ordered room service. The earliest they will deliver is 7:30 am. I take medication that requires I eat after taking it. The food never turned up. No one called to apologize. It just didn’t happen. When we notified the cabin steward he just shrugged and said, “I don’t know.” • I told the staff that I needed water in my room to take medication. I was charged for the water. (As a point of interest, I made the same request in Las Vegas and they delivered a bar fridge to our room stocked with water free of charge.) • On the first day we boarded we had to go to the buffet until our room was ready. While picking up food two people cut in front of me and pushed me to the side. When I looked, the two were crew members wearing officer’s uniforms. I chalked it up to they were in a rush to get the ship going. But this became the norm. During the ship’s big jewellery sale, I was looking at a watch. Once again, I was pushed to the side by two crew members who were buying up the watches. I have never seen the crew do something like that on any other ship. • The crew are also hard to find and difficult to deal with. If you want one, you’ll find them sitting around the buffet tables talking or on the smoking deck. I have never seen a crew member on another ship smoking with the passengers. • I went to the excursion desk to ask about the excursion we did that day. It was advertised as including lunch and several stops. But that’s not what we got. This was ten pm. The man at the desk said, “We closed five minutes ago, and I can’t deal with you right now. Come back tomorrow.” Then he walked away. There was no more to it than that. Usually on a cruise ship staff will bend over backwards to help you. • In Malta, my back gave out. I have two titanium rods and six screws in my back. After four days of walking I had to return to the ship early to lay down. We approached the first door on the ship and was told by a crew member that that entrance was for ‘elite cruisers’ only. I explained that I was in pain and couldn’t walk. He told me, “Your entrance is down there.” He pointed to the end of the ship. I explained again, thinking maybe he didn’t understand, and explained my medical situation to him. He pulled the rope across the entrance and said, “I told you your entrance is down there.” My husband had to help me walk the length of the ship to get on. • Having said that, not all crew were bad. We had one waiter and one bartender who actually tried their best and did give us good service. • Customer service was non existent. On other cruises, on exiting for an excursion, someone would be on the jetty providing directions to where you needed to go, offering you water or just being available in case you needed to ask a question. None of that existed for MSC. Entertainment: The entertainment was a joke. • There was a piano player and a violinist in the main lobby playing classical music – all week! There was no band to dance to. • The main bar did have a band who were quite good. But they had two singers who had to read the words from sheets on a music stand. They sang the same songs every night but still didn’t know the words. They also couldn’t sing. It became a joke at the bar to see who could identify the song. • Children were also allowed to be in the bars. Which meant half the seating was taken up by bored teenagers and the dance floor had toddlers and young children jumping up and down in between adults who wanted to dance. • The only adults only bar is a jazz piano bar on the top deck (If jazz is your thing). There’s no dance floor. Each night it was full of adults saying, “I’m so bored.” • During one evening the crew were dressed up in these cheap, cheesy costumes like cupid, Popeye the Sailor Man and Jessica Rabbit. I walked by one male crew member who was dressed in a red heart costume with white tights. I honestly though it was a bachelor party and he had lost a bet. It was actually creepy. • The evening shows were excellent and the talent in those shows were amazing, but the shows were only a half hour long. On other ships, the evening show is an hour or more. It’s like you just sit down and you have to get up. And, there is no bar service available at the “normal” shows. Bar service was available at the Cirque shows, but was extra, not covered by a beverage package!! They nickel and dime customers: One of the drawing points for us was the Cirque due Soleil shows. They advertised that twice every night, six nights a week, guests on MSC Bellissima have the unique opportunity to see two original shows by Cirque du Soleil, the world leader in live artistic entertainment, and savour a superb culinary experience in the same glamorous venue. What they don’t tell you is, you have to pay extra for this. • The Cirque shows cost 17.25 euros to see 37.25 if you want dinner with it. You can’t use your drink card in the Cirque theatre. • I believe the food is bad to force you to go to the specialty restaurants on board and spend more money. • They advertise bowling but don’t tell you it costs about 10 euros to play it for 30 minutes. • Everything on board costs extra money. There’s nothing all inclusive about this ship. I estimate it will cost 100 euros a day just to keep your kids entertained. Overall, the ship is absolutely stunning. But the service and food are just not up to par. This is the first time we took a cruise and couldn’t wait to get off. We considered staying at our last port of call and trying to fly back from there. Two other couples warned us about MSC the problems with the food and service. We thought they were just being difficult. Well I can tell you I will never cruise MSC again. We went on this cruise with the intention of booking their Rome to Miami 20 day transatlantic in November. Now I wouldn’t take the cruise for free. I believe you get what you pay for, but we paid more for this cruise than any other cruise we have ever been on. It’s the first time that I felt so hungry on a ship that I was frustrated. It was also quite common to find there is no toilet paper in the public washrooms. The ports of call were fantastic, and we are already planning to go back to explore more of Spain, Italy, France and Portugal, but I will be sticking to Royal Caribbean this time. Out of ten, I give this cruise a three. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
-For my parents´ wedding anniversary we decided to sail on the Bellisima. After a night spent in Barcelona, visiting the Sagrada Familia, we took a taxi to the cruise terminal, which was quite far away from the city center (and the Sants ... Read More
-For my parents´ wedding anniversary we decided to sail on the Bellisima. After a night spent in Barcelona, visiting the Sagrada Familia, we took a taxi to the cruise terminal, which was quite far away from the city center (and the Sants Train Station). Embarkation was quite smooth and easy. Check-in was really fast, and doing it in the phone App is not really necessary. After 10 minutes of waiting, we could enter our cabin, guided by one of the butlers. -The ship itself is stunning. The Bellisima Promenade is absolutley fantastic. The stores are quite expensive, but worth looking at them, especially the Chocolaterie, with stunning chocolate sulpture. Eventhough a couple of days are needed to adapt yourself to your new home, the MSC for me App and the many screens displayed throughout the ship help a lot. -The Marketplace buffet was quite good. For breakfast there is a huge variety of Continental, English, Mediterranean, or even Oriental breakfast. There is free coffee, infusions and water at all times and free juice at breakfast. Our courtesy restaurant was Posidonia. The waiter was quite slow, and most days we took from 19:45 to 21:30, and we could not go to the 21:15 show. On one hand, the entries and main courses were Ok, not very tasty in most cases. But on the other hand, the desserts were extremely tasty and well made. -The animation crew, especially Borja Vila and Sebastiano Avola, did a fantastic job to organise the thematic parties every night and the rest of activities onboard. Everything was very well organised you could definitly feel a special ambient thanks to them. Live music was excellent too, not just for dancing but to listen to while looking at other things. The band `` Nearly a Band ´´, who plays every night before and after the thematic party, had two singers worth listening to. -The shows were the most special part of the cruise. Everyday, a diferent show performed for three times. All of the singers were spectacualr, especially Lindiwe Bugane, who had an amazing voice, pretty much like Jeniffer Hudson. The generes of the spectacles were very variated, anywhere from Opera, or Rock, to Shadow Puppets. -The WiFi service was quite expensive, so I took it as a chance to disconnect. Be sure to put your phone on airplane mode unless you want exra fees charged from your mobile company. The SPA and Massage services were also very expensive and not worth it. Room service was quite efficient and useful. Cirque de Soleil was totalyy worth the price and It´s a must for those who want to experience such a priviledged way of art. The pools and jacuzzis were climatised and confortable, but a bit overcrowded. Dance classes were very easy and the dance teachers were very nice. Gym was free, very good and equiped, and not very crowded. -The shuttle buses are very expensive, and you can get a shuttle bus and a tour for the same price, if booked with another company. Same with excursions. - Our children made friends in the Teen Club. Attention for them is provided throughout the day; but I must say they charge for many things such as the F1 simulator or the arcade. They also had a Kids menu in the Courtesy Restaurant which was quite an advantage for ``difficult´´ kids when it comes to eating. -I would go again and again. Everything was really special. When put together, everything made a truly unique experience, and I have no doubt that this has been one of the best experiences in my life. Thanks to all the crew for making it so special. MSC stands for its name and without doubt I can affirm that after sailing in the Bellisima. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
My husband and I have cruised before on Carnival and Costa. I wanted to take my two sons and daughters in law as well as our 4 grandchildren to Europe and a cruise was an option to visit more than one destination. This was to be a trip of ... Read More
My husband and I have cruised before on Carnival and Costa. I wanted to take my two sons and daughters in law as well as our 4 grandchildren to Europe and a cruise was an option to visit more than one destination. This was to be a trip of a lifetime. We were 10 people in 3 cabins and had the Aurea package. After booking, I started reading some of the reviews and was worried that our cruise would not be up to our expectations. Well I need not have worried. We got on in Barcelona on Easter weekend and the ship was sold out. Embarkation only took minutes and was flawless. We immediately went to the front desk to ask questions and get the locator bracelets for the little ones. We could not have had a more patient person to answer all our questions. The ship itself is stunning. There are lots of spaces to either be alone and quiet or be with people. This is a cruise line that caters a lot to families. If you don't like kids, then this is probably not for you. it was perfect for us. The MSC app was fantastic for knowing everything that is going on, for booking shows and specialty dining. We did not use Zoe so I can't comment on it. We all loved the spa and having the Aurea package allowed us to use the spa every day. it was wonderful after walking for hours. It was very relaxing and beautiful. There was some confusion over the drink package every so often because there had been changes since we booked but we were usually able to get something we wanted. I see some reviewers complaining about having to pay for water. We had to pay for water on Carnival. Our water was included in our drink package and we had no issues. The food was not extraordinary but it was not awful either. i would not say it was much different than what we had elsewhere. We were always able to get something we liked. I fully expect to pay for things like bowling and the F1 simulators. One would never get access to those activities on a ship with this many people unless you pay. Once you are on the ship, there are packages that you can buy for any of those activities that reduce the cost. The Cirque show is excellent but I would agree to not get the dinner package. Just do the show. The other entertainment on stage is varied to appeal to the mixed population on the ship. The other activities like the white night, or tropical night are fun but you don't have to go if it is not your cup of tea. Comments about the staff being rude totally boggles the mind. Being in the hospitality industry, I know these people work hard. A smile and a kind look usually gets you great service and I would have to say that we never had a rude staff person. Some even called us by name. The cabin is small but still 20 square feet larger than the same grade on some other ships. The bathroom is lovely with lots of storage space and shelves. If you tuck your suitcases under the bed, you have enough space. In any case, most people don't spend a whole lot of time in a cabin. I cannot comment on the tours as we booked private tours for our group. Our group was big enough that we did not want to get in with bigger groups and we wanted some flexibility to shorten tours if need be because of the children. All in all a great experience. I would use MSC again if it was going to destinations I wanted. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
My family of 25 decided to celebrate my mother birthday on a cruise to Europe. What a disappointment. We flew from New Jersey, New York, Florida and Georgia for this joyous occasion. This ship seems to be only concerned about packing ... Read More
My family of 25 decided to celebrate my mother birthday on a cruise to Europe. What a disappointment. We flew from New Jersey, New York, Florida and Georgia for this joyous occasion. This ship seems to be only concerned about packing people on a ship and dropping off to different stops without having space to have any entertainment. 1. They nickel and dime you for everything (soda, ice cream, tea, lemonade) previous ship we sailed all was included 2. The nightly dinners were tasteless and not a great variety. After a couple of nights we stop going to dinner and went to the market place 3. The Marketplace wasn't must better but we had no other choice. The do not have a variety of foods and most of the time you had to wait for them to replenish 4. Nothing to do at night except take in a 20-30 minute show (different every night), Karaoke 3-4 nights and different dance training every night. We are use to having a selection of entertainment every night be it comedy, games etc 5. The Casino is very small and roped off for smoking/non smoking If you have issues with breathing do not go in because the smoke comes over the rope. 6. The reception desk can only answer questions but not take payments. You have to go to a kiosk to make payment and if you need a receipt for the credit card payment you must go back to the reception desk for printout. 7. We attend the Cirque du Soleil show, very disappointing This experience has changed my mind about cruising and I will never cruise again. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Family group of 12 in 5 cabins. This was our first cruise and it didn't get off to a good start. The security staff at Marseille managed to lose one of our passports which caused all sorts of issues getting on the ship and then ... Read More
Family group of 12 in 5 cabins. This was our first cruise and it didn't get off to a good start. The security staff at Marseille managed to lose one of our passports which caused all sorts of issues getting on the ship and then involved a lot of emails, form-filling and calls to the Consulate in Malta. It was finally resolved by leaving the ship at Malta, a night at a hotel there, a visit to the consulate, a flight to Barcelona, a night in a hotel in Barcelona and rejoining the ship there. Although the loss of the passport was due to the chaotic security system at Marseille, MSC did not seem to make any efforts to locate the passport. Lesson 1 - Don't let anything out of your sight at the security/x-ray area. Coming aboard was fine, the cabin suited the two of us and having a balcony was great. In the cabin there is the MSC version of Alexa/Google/Siri/etc called Zoe. We found it to be useful in telling us the weather, but nothing else. It was laughably bad, just responding with 'ask a member of crew' to the most obvious of questions. Surprisingly, for a ship just a few weeks old, the pillows smelt a bit of smoke at the beginning of the week. Not enough to make you discard them, but definitely noticeable. On the penultimate night we found that the air-conditioning was blowing smokey air into the cabin. Not nice at all. I told reception the following day but was instructed to report it when it happened. When you are half asleep in bed you don't want to be ringing reception to report issues. Lesson 2 - report issues immediately if you can. In advance of the cruise MSC try very hard to get you to spend money on one of their drinks packages. So much so that they do not show the price of drinks on their website. Any search on the website like 'what is the price of a drink?', or 'what are the bar prices?' return you to the drinks packages page. So if you want to compare having a drinks package with buying individual drinks, you can't do it. I contacted MSC to ask the price of drinks and they refused to let me have any information for quite a while with excuses like, 'Because our stocks are subject to availability, prices might change', and 'We don't have a bar list, so I can't give you the prices'. It is a shame that they were dishonest here because the real reason for not telling me was that MSC wants everyone to buy their drinks package (they make more money out of you that way). After quite a few emails dancing around the question MSC were able to tell me the 'approximate' price of some drinks, which enabled me to see that a drinks package was not good value for us. The basic package does not cover a gin & tonic, or most of the cocktails, so if you want anything like that you need to be buying the higher priced packages. We spent a lot of money on drinks, but it was still cheaper than the drinks package. Bear in mind that most days we were ashore so not buying day-time drinks from the ship. To help out others in this respect I have taken photos of the bar prices and will attach them below. Remember they add 15% to these prices to cover the cost of putting the drink into a glass (!). Lesson 3 - MSC want you to buy their drinks packages because it makes them more money Having spoken to various people before setting off I was expecting something a bit classier than what we encountered. The ship itself is very new & shiny, but we found that lots of people are happy to wander around in wet swimming trunks carrying plates of pizza from the buffet. Often we shared a lift with people wearing pyjamas taking a plateful of sausages or similar to their room. The gala night was a lot more formal and many people dressed up for that, which made it much more special, but on the whole I was surprised at the casualness of it all. There was a 'white night' where we were encouraged to wear all-white, but perhaps 10% of passengers bought into this. Given the amount of clothes space available in the suitcase and cabin; I guess a one-off white outfit was not going to be a priority. Lesson 4 - This is more of a party ship than a classy cruise, pack accordingly. I was also expecting there to be informative/educational presentations (I guess I had heard this from people who had been on other cruises). There were none on this cruise. In the evening there were basic dance classes which were good fun and the crew did a great job of encouraging and helping people along. Aside from that it's Karaoke or a band or a 35 minute theatre show. The cirque-de-soliel show was excellent and worth the price. The other (free of charge) shows were also good and worth booking in to. You can book into these things on the interactive screens around the ship or you can use the Msc-4-Me App on your phone. Both systems worked well for us. Lesson 5 - It's all showbiz, nothing cerebral. But do go to the shows. We didn't use the MSC shore excursions at all - they seemed to be crazily expensive and we are not afraid of negotiating for a taxi. For example: before arriving at Barcelona you find a shuttle-bus ticket in your cabin for 9.99 Euros. This is for the bus that saves you a 40 minute walk into the city. As soon as you get off the ship you can see the shuttle buses lined up with the 4 Euro fare shown on the front. A few prices we found: Naples to Pompeii return taxi 17 Euros per person Messina to Taorina return taxi 15 Euros per person Marseille to Airport taxi 10 Euros per person Lesson 6 - Don't use the MSC excursions unless you really can't be bothered to do anything by yourself. Food on the ship was good. Our children enjoyed the all-day availability of the buffet and the range of options there was very broad. Our evening meal was in the standard deck 6 restaurant and the food was varied, plentiful and well presented buy the attentive staff. Really enjoyed having the same servers each evening and they very quickly got to know us and our drinks choices - excellent. They were happy to hold half-used bottles of wine over from day to day. Lesson 7 - Food is plentiful and good quality Finally, just before you join the ship they get you to stand in front of a picture of the ship and hold a pretend wooden ships wheel. Part way through the cruise an envelope containing 6 of these comical pictures arrived in our cabin. The idea is that you tick a box and leave the photos for your cleaner to take away. All of our party returned the photos in this way, but nevertheless 3 of the 5 cabins had 35 Euros added to the bill for the pictures. That seems to be more than just a coincidence to me! Just 10% of people overlooking this on their bill brings nearly 16,000 Euros a week to MSC. Lesson 8 - Watch out for the hidden costs Would I go on this cruise again? No Would I go on another cruise? Possibly, if there were more grown-up activities going on. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Bellissima is truly a wonderful ship. Awe inspiring. It has every available resource that you could wish for. It truly is magnificent. The cabin (inside) was so much nicer than portrayed in photos and pre cruise videos. It ... Read More
Bellissima is truly a wonderful ship. Awe inspiring. It has every available resource that you could wish for. It truly is magnificent. The cabin (inside) was so much nicer than portrayed in photos and pre cruise videos. It was stylish spacious comfortable and a great space to enjoy. As a new ship the whole ship is immaculate as would be expected. The restaurants included in your cruise offered a great choice and quality of food. However restaurants felt busy and somewhat manic, speedy food was kind of thrown at you as a chore to be gotten through. In no way is it a reflection on the staff who are run of their feet. Rather a issue of numbers. The individual restaurants you may pay to dine in are unhurried relaxed and offer good service. Particularly impressive was the butchers cut food and staff. Circus solei at sea what a amazing not to be missed experience. Can’t recommend it enough truly great. Downside of this cruise was the sense of hard sell everything has its price. All the facilities on offer that attract you to the ship are expensive extras. You feel that you really add a significant spend to your initial outlay. People are forever in your face trying to sell you additional experiences. I bought a full drinks package, weekly spa package, full WiFi package, 3 restaurants speciality meals and circus solei show with dinner and show with cocktail all before the cruise. I spent the first day and a half of my cruise having to run about from one service to another to finalise packages meals etc. My advice is bar the spa package wait till you get on board. Any package bought pre cruise can not be recompensed when on ship. One real gripe is the WiFi it’s truly atrocious and best forgotten. Certainly not worth paying for the full internet unlimited download. The service hardly works and fully unavailable a serious amount of the time. So exhausting trying to keep resolving problems until I finally gave up and realised it’s a rubbish service and no amount of trying to make it work would. The much vaunted Zoe online assistant is rubbish no use nor ornament. The cruise felt like a cattle market 5000 people. Little space to relax in but really liked the adult only bar. All in all a fanstastic ship with every amenity but to busy to full on not relaxing enough and hard sell really off putting. Glad I did it but wouldn’t do it again. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Cruise critic, notes from the brand new MSC Bellisima... The newest of the MSC fleet, Bellisima is massive, wide, and very, very crowded. Ship. There are advantages to its size, but many disadvantages too! The price for its size, ... Read More
Cruise critic, notes from the brand new MSC Bellisima... The newest of the MSC fleet, Bellisima is massive, wide, and very, very crowded. Ship. There are advantages to its size, but many disadvantages too! The price for its size, comes as opposite to your logic, the balcony suites!! Shoe boxes, (better) have been reduced in width to accommodate more rooms (boxes)! The design has changed the interior to putting the bed near to the window and the sofa next to the heads. On that front, there has been no shortage of hot water, at night the sound of those rooms above, having a shower or running water, can be loud. Everything is bright and new, yet only weeks old, signs of blistering rust, fester in awkward places. The crew as always, are Great! really helpful and accommodating. Some we have known from previous MSC cruises, don’t like the larger ship. It has lost its personality. For the the girls, women and wives, there are plenty of shops! If your in the market for watches, some extremely expensive(€53k)!! Down to tacky 2x €40! This ship was designed specifically for the Med. and less dangerous seas, not for open seas, ask those who travelled out from Southampton! Not good. The shopping plaza will blow your mind! It’s roof is an LED, picture scope, changing scene every few minutes, similar to that seen on the Dancing on Ice back drops. A wonderfull sight to see! Truly beautiful. From previous cruises, the traditional leaving port to Andrea Botchelli and Sarah Brightman singing ‘time to say goodbye’ has been deleted, no longer to thrill the passengers as this Cruise Director ( probably the worst we have ever witnessed), refused to play it!? Andrew Botchelli was in Southampton for the christening ceremony with Sophia Loren, he will be less than enamerored, when he finds out! He was so pleased to learn of the accolade. Shame really, out loud on the tannoy, it fits well with the MSC image, as the ship leaves the port, the recording blasting away! Other cruise lines now do the same, but MSC was first! The food is Good, really good for bulk cooking. The most picky eater would not go hungry. I have no intention of being rude, but how some of the foreigners stack up their plates,only to ditch it 10 mins later. With such a very large passenger number, queueing for food is a nightmare. This very much is the same for getting on and off the ship! Long waits! Double the passengers, but not the staff or exits and it’s a disaster waiting to happen! As above, there are quite a few other matters that can apply too! The theatre, emergency practice, let alone forbid it should ever happen for real! Hey? Perhaps the captain will get off first! Costa on the rocks sir? With ice? One of the other nigly small items is the changing of the drinks packages. One thing other lines should have followed(Cunard)! Obviously MSC found they could screw you out of more money this new way! and the new fantastica package goes far less further than it did! The once formal evening has gone. Not one evening suit to be seen. Shame! Yes shame, we forget the ladies love to dress up! On the Gala night, shorts and tee shirts were seen on many! Bad news is, the staff did little or nothing to stop it. The ship! Yes too big! Too crowded, too many queues, oh yes! There was enough deck chairs, but no staff to organise how far they could go! Main areas were jammed in 2 cases. The ship? An absolute joy to sail in. Even the most sea sick person could manage! Very little roll or pitch! Well done the designer or ship architect. NOW YOU CAN TAKE YOUR MOTHER! There is some good entertainment on board. The nightly shows are well put together as are specialty shows like ‘Circ Du Soliel’, but the ad says, specify! Gourmet food. It is not! Wet, over cooked veg, hard over-baked specialty Potatoes are part of this act! Now in the bin. I did have cause to complain that one time, as my plate went back with no other replacement in sight. But those artists Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Booked this cruise nearly 2 years ago. I have sailed with MSC a couple of times beforehand so I had an idea what to expect. We embarked at Genoa, as we had stayed overnight in a local hotel we boarded early so that part was very ... Read More
Booked this cruise nearly 2 years ago. I have sailed with MSC a couple of times beforehand so I had an idea what to expect. We embarked at Genoa, as we had stayed overnight in a local hotel we boarded early so that part was very easy. What we did not like was we were hassled to have our photo taken prior to passport control. We told the photographer the we did not want these as we would not buy them as we were in our travelling clothes (not a good memory) in order to get past them we eventually let them take our photos (more on this later in review) On boarding the ship we were impressed with the interior all nice and sparkling, we took our hand luggage to the cabin. First impressions very fairly positive. We got changed and quickly headed for a hot tub as we thought ship was going to get very busy later on. We headed for the buffet, seemed to be a good selection to choose from. Later on we looked at the daily program, this advised as that our 8.00pm dining time had been put back to 8.30pm, so we decided to watch the show. when the show had finished we made our way to the lighthouse restaurant on Deck 6, we met the lady at the front door and she said that we were late and the restaurant was closed. We told her that the program said dinner was at 830 but she did not know this. She called over the restaurant manager and explained the situation. he eventually let us in together with about 50 of us that had also read the program. Food was OK but portions small, as most days the food was warm but not hot. The menu makes food sound spectacular but it is as most places nice patterns on a plate with a bit of sauce applied with an upside down spoon, We went back to cabin to unpack, by this time the bed located in ceiling void was down, only problem was poor design that the ladder stopped the wardrobe door from opening (if wardrobe had been located 1 foot nearer to door the would not have been this problem) Bathroom is small but adequate, nice shower but not enough room to dry yourself. We could not find the bin at first but we eventually found it under sink by giving a panel quite a tug. As the cruise progressed we wanted to try out some of the things on offer on top deck, I wants to do the Himalayan ropes course so I got up there quite early. when it was my turn the chap said where is my blue wristband (I had no idea what he was talking about) he told me to go to reception on deck 5 to get this. (I was not happy) Later in the day I went to reception to get this wristband, reception did not know what I was talking about. I went back up top and saw a different person and he said I had to go to a little table the was hidden by the top of the slides to sign some for of waiver. (I did a ropes course of the Carnival Horizon and there was no such hassle, they even had little lockers to but your pocket stuff in as you were not allowed it on the course). I said can I leave some stuff here but was told this was at my own risk. It was soon noticed that there is a lot of charging for the extra activities. this annoyed me as I had been on the Splendida a couple of years ago and to do the bowling, racing car and 4d cinema was a fixed price of 35 euros for everyone in cabin for the whole cruise (7 days) no such luck on this, MSC operate a thing called fun pass which I think is the wrong choice of phrase. it is not a pass in any way. It is a scheme where you but so much credit a you are given a little extra for free, only trouble is that the racing car is 10 euros a go and only lasts 5 minutes so entertainment will not last long unless you have very deep pockets. the 4D cinema was excellent but again very expensive as was the 10 pin bowling. Only on the last day did I do any of the activities (my son 1 go on the racing car and each of us 1 go on the 4D cinema and boom 15 minutes later you are 25 euros worse off. A few days into the cruise there was a photo package on our bed, we had a very quick look and realised that these were the photos they had taken when we boarded, they looked awful. We put them in the pocket shelf under the TV. A couple of days later. I noticed there was a charge on our account of 35 euros from the photoshop, we went to reception to complain as we found there was also a little slip of paper in this folder that said I had to tick a box to say If I wanted them or not. The reception said that I should fill this in. I pointed out that this practice is unfair, I told them that if I want something I will go to the place, pick it up myself and go and pay for it in the standard tradition. I did say to them that if a were to leave a dirty sock in my cabin with a note inside asking for 10 euros with a tick box yes/no (same difference). Zoe (the in cabin assistant is a total waste of space, less said the better on this so called technology) Plenty of storage space in a relatively small cabin, 2 large wardrobes and a very small safe. Buffet food during the day times could be a bit hit and miss Breakfast was plentiful but the 2 downsides of the buffet are 1/ People wandering aimlessly about, not realizing that a queue is forming 2/ The button to press when you want a drink you might have to press it at least 6 times. We had the Cirque du Soleil including in our booking. It was Ok but nothing to write home about. The Galleria Bellisima is quite spectacular looking but that is about it, the tiny area where entertainment takes place is too small With such a large ship I think they need to have 3 decks of entertainment as the galleria is a huge void of space covering two floors where on smaller ships the are more bars and areas to watch something a little different. This does not exist on the Bellissima so that is a big no from me. The theatre is Ok, thankfully the shows are only 35 minutes long and too samey too much dancing. When shows finish the galleria gets packed very quickly, I found it easier to go up to deck 7 and walkalong With a ship of this I was surprised that we were bobbing up and down from Malta to Barcelona via a sea day. on board Activities via games and quizzes were virtual non existent We had the Easy package which you are limited to Heineken if you wanted a beer, Bar list state 40cl but when you get your drink you find the glass is only just over 3/4 full. We did order a smoothie but when we saw the banana they put in it, there is no way we were going to drink that. Be careful if you have allergies in the MDR as the waiters seem to be a little vague on what this means. 2 on our table had a nut allergy. so the head waiter had to really look after them as some of the items bought out DID contain nuts. My wife booked a hair appointment, she attended on time but was told she was an hour late. they did realize that they were wrong but did not apologize, to a woman getting your hair done is supposed to be a pleasurable thing, but my wife was not happy with this experience. Disembarkation was very easy. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose this cruise as it was stopping at ports we wanted to visit on dates when we wished to be away. The Bellissima is a stunning looking ship and has something for everyone. Our cabin was on deck 10 midship and was lovely with a ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it was stopping at ports we wanted to visit on dates when we wished to be away. The Bellissima is a stunning looking ship and has something for everyone. Our cabin was on deck 10 midship and was lovely with a balcony, reasonable space and being a new ship did not show any signs of wear and tear. Our cabin steward Genesis was attentive, friendly and always happy to see us. He maintained our cabin beautifully and recognised a particularly special date that we celebrated whilst on board ship. At this location on the ship it was difficult to know whether the ship was moving it was so quiet with no noise from adjoining cabins or fromthe engines. Our allocated restaurant was The Lighthouse on deck 6 excellent choice for us as we had a table for 2. The menu was varied and offered something different every day to suit most requirements. Meals were well presented and of good quality. Service was excellent and the staff who served us each day at table 479 were Carissa and Abdul and are worth a special mention for their professionalism and attention nothing was too much trouble and again went out of their way to celebrate our Ruby Wedding Anniversary. Breakfast and lunch served in the Marketplace was a challenge. There was plenty of choice and something for everyone but the shear numbers of diners at any one time made the experience quite stressful. The staff were as efficient and patient as they could be given the logistics of numbers and seats available at any one time. There were good shows on board and plenty of entertainment for all ages. The musicians who played in all of the areas were first class with music choices to suit all tastes we particularly liked the Jazz trio who played each evening on Deck 16. We purchased the Cirque Soleil show and dinner at 40 euros each which was very good value for money . The show was excellent, food very good and Alwyn and his team served everything beautifully so that dinner was served before the show commenced. We have scored food at 3 because of the breakfast and lunch experience. Weather whilst on board ship was not particularly good so consequently much of the outdoors facilities were not in use. They were however very clean and well presented with water facilities to suit all tastes the water park on deck 18 would be great fun for families. We enjoyed our holiday we would cruise again but not for cruising sake but to see particular places that are included in the itinerary. We did not book MSC excursions but instead booked with local providers in Naples we did a tour if Naples and went to Pompei in a small group of 6 with a very knowledgeable guide. In Messina we did the same and rode the cable car to the top of Etna and visited Tourmina. Again an excellent excursion with small numbers and a local guide. Every other port we did our own thing and really enjoyed. This cruise met our expectations and we would consider MSC in the future provided the itinerary met our requirements. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We embarked on at Genoa. The cabin was a good size, the bed and pillows are very comfortable. Everything we needed was at hand. The bathroom although small, served our purpose. Unfortunately Zoe was unresponsive. The ship is ... Read More
We embarked on at Genoa. The cabin was a good size, the bed and pillows are very comfortable. Everything we needed was at hand. The bathroom although small, served our purpose. Unfortunately Zoe was unresponsive. The ship is beautiful and lived up to the hype. The personnel were friendly and courteous at all times. I know the waitrons and entertainment personnel work exceptionally hard in ensuring the client enjoys the experience. Our dining experience was good. We had interactive personnel which we appreciated and engaged with every evening. Food was excellent as well. We unfortunately missed out on the captain’s dinner since we attended the Circ du Solei performance which was entertaining. The buffet areas were a bit noisy, but then that is expected. We only did one excursion and that was to Pompeii, which was well organized. The downside was we were not able to enter certain sections since the operators had not informed the tour operators in their new times. We will most definitely plan our next MSC cruise Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Food and Drinks The whole dining experience was a disaster, and is the main reason that trigger me to write this review. The MSC website boasts a "12 distinct VENUES". Go on board and you'll find out that 3~4 of these ... Read More
Food and Drinks The whole dining experience was a disaster, and is the main reason that trigger me to write this review. The MSC website boasts a "12 distinct VENUES". Go on board and you'll find out that 3~4 of these VENUES serve exactly the same food, but just that the name of the restaurants are different. Some are even right next to each other, but use different names. Now we know why they use the word VENUE, clever! Specialty restaurants: As soon as we boarded we bought a package to dine in 4 different specialty restaurants, it was 115 Euros total. We soon found out that the package means eating the set menus at each restaurants and that we could just walk into any specialty restaurant without a package and pay the price of set menu. A set menu usually means 3 course with very limited options to choose from. At the end of the four days we were very disappointed to find out that the values of all four set menu added together was only about 7 euros more than 115 euros that we had purchased our package for. Specialty restaurant 1 (Bistrot): The waiter obviously had no training as he spilled wine everywhere on the table while pouring. Every single glass he poured he spilled. The decor looked cheap. Set menu options very limited as compared to a la carte. Specialty restaurant 2 (Butcher's Cut): Everything was great. Specialty restaurant 3 (Japanese): The set menu comprised of around 9 items. First came the miso soup and the appetizer. Then the food stopped, and we had to wait 40 minutes for the next dish. Items 2~8 came together in one platter. We almost missed our Cirque du Soleil show. The food was mediocre, it was just a western version of Japanese food using disposable chopsticks. The waiter asked for our room numbers and he entered it into the machine, but it didn't work so he asked again our numbers. This process repeated 3 times. Had he asked one more time I should've probably write it big and clear on my forehead. Specialty restaurant 4 (Tapas): We were given an a la carte menu as usual, but this time it got 10 times more complicated for ordering a set menu. There were around 30 items total on the menu, but only around half can be ordered if you are on the set menu. The tricky part was that the menu didn't indicate which ones can be ordered and which ones not. So the waiter had to point them out again and again. On Board activities Perhaps it was our own lack of experience, but after seeing the promotional video on Belissima with the water slides, bowlings, F1 sitimulators, and all the cool activities, we somehow thought that all these were supposed to be free. - The jacuzzis were always packed, even on a non-sea day. - The gyms had no yoga classes that we wanted to go. Service & Staff Waiters are generally not friendly. Room stewards are much more friendly. Ship design and cleaniness It is a very nice new ship and well designed with high techs. Would have been 5 stars but on the main public deck (Promenade deck), the walkaway is quite narrow for a ship with 4000 passengers. On top of that they place photo shoot stands, tables selling perfumes, etc. to block the way and make the main walkaway even narrower. This especially affected the speed people disperse after a show finish. I guess making money out of photo shoot and perfume is much more important to MSC. Cabin Our cabin was right under the buffet area and the sound of people moving chairs was very very loud. The sound could have been much reduced had they put softer rubber paddings on all chairs. At night when the buffet chairs were silent, things were even worse... The cabin had this constant high pitch plastic or wood crackling sound everywhere. It was even worse in our relative's room. Review summary We were excited and overjoyed the moment we got on this stunning new ship as we saw the glamorous high tech interior. This was our second time cruising, with the first being in Alaska with HAL line 'Noordam', but the ship was very old and even had CRT TV in each cabin. However, we had a very enjoyable time on it and so we decided to cruise again, this time choosing a newer ship the MSC Bellissima, what could go wrong? Unfortunately, over the course of 7 days on the Bellissima we felt that MSC puts a higher priority on making more money out of guests in every way rather than making guests happy so they would come back again. For example: - Staffs would hard sell packages, souvenirs, lemon cello, photo shoots, etc. every chance they see you. - Basically apart from buffet, main dining rooms, shows, otherwise nothing is free. Even water is 3 euros/liter and guests are technically not allowed to take water with our own bottles in the water dispensers in the buffet area. - It is written by MSC that tipping to individual staffs is 'discouraged', and that tips are encouraged to be tipped to the company as a whole. After getting to know MSC's mentality we suspect that this was so that they could keep those tips and never pay it down to the staffs. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
This was my children’s first cruise experience and my husband and I had been on two much smaller cruise ships over 20 years ago, so this was a whole new experience for us. Transfer from Marseille airport was good, a driver was waiting ... Read More
This was my children’s first cruise experience and my husband and I had been on two much smaller cruise ships over 20 years ago, so this was a whole new experience for us. Transfer from Marseille airport was good, a driver was waiting in Arrivals for us and we shared a mini bus with another family on our flight, so we were on our way straightaway.  The port was only 20 minutes away.  On arrival at the cruise terminal our cases were tagged and taken from us and we went through to the check in area.  We still had an hour and a half until check in opened, but there were plenty of seats and a café if you wanted to buy a snack or drink.  An announcement was made when check in opened, Aurea experience guests were asked to come up first, but nearly the whole waiting area of people stood up.  We made our way through the crowd of people and soon got checked in and were given our cruise cards and wrist bands.  There was a table with fruit juice and then you had to stand for a family photo.  After the photo, you went through security screening and then on the ship you presented your cruise card and had your photo taken for ID purposes.  There were a lot of staff standing around with posters advertising the drinks packages, but we tried to avoid these, as we already had the premium package which was offered as a promotion when booking our holiday.  We made our way to our cabin (12005) a duplex suite at the front of the ship. The cabin was great; upstairs there was a double bed which we had asked to be twin beds, but Mellissa our friendly cabin steward came to introduce herself straightaway and told me that she would change the bed arrangement while we were at dinner.  The bathroom upstairs was bigger than I thought with a full-size bath with shower over, also upstairs was a TV, a small safe and a large walk in wardrobe with vanity unit and hairdryer.  Downstairs there was a shower room, a walk-in wardrobe, dining area, large TV and a sofa bed which quickly turned into a very comfy double bed.  There was also a vanity unit with hairdryer, coffee table, mini bar and more storage.  There is room for cases under the beds upstairs or under the staircase.  The cabin also came with two Zoes, like Amazon’s Alexa, but we only used them as a Bluetooth speakers, as we couldn’t get them to work when asking questions.  The TV’s in the cabin show your account details and give information on what is happening on board plus you get a paper daily planner every night to look through.  You can also download the MSC for Me app to use on your mobile, you don’t need the internet package for this to work on-board.  There are also screens around the ship if you want to book shows, etc.  The balcony was a good size with two sun beds, two chairs and a foot rest.  The hot tub was always warm enough to relax in and had a hot/cold tap to fill it up.  Two bathrobes and slippers were provided and 4 pool towels. We also got a free diffuser to take home. The buffet area was busy, but at all the times we visited we always found a table and there was a good selection of food which we found was good quality.  You could press a button at your table and request drinks from the bar which was a great idea.  The other areas of the ship never seemed over busy, you could usually find a table to sit at.  We also had access to the Top 19 Solarium which was reserved for Aurea and Yacht Club guests.  There were towels there to use and comfy sunbeds with thickly padded cushions and a large hot tub.  There wasn’t a bar at Top 19, but someone did come around serving drinks, although he was on his own, so it sometimes took a while to get a drink. He also came around with fruit skewers which was a nice touch.  The outdoor pool was heated so could be used even if it wasn’t a very warm day and there were plenty of beds and a snack bar, drinks bar and ice cream bar.  There was a huge screen above the outdoor pool, but as the temperature at night was very cool no films were shown on this during our cruise.  We had My Choice Dining in the Lighthouse restaurant so we could turn up and get a table straightaway.  Our waiter, Julio, was very friendly and soon got to know the drinks we liked and was very efficient, we were never kept waiting too long for our food, the menu had a good choice and it was different every night of our 7-night cruise.  The food was not al a carte but was a good standard, we enjoyed all our meals.  One night my husband got a steak that was very fatty, but Julio noticed this and brought him another one.  We had to ask for butter a on a couple of occasions, but this was soon brought. On our first night at the restaurant we were told that we were on the Easy drinks package although we knew we had the Premium, so we were told to go to Guest Services after our meal to check.  We soon got it rectified and were assured we hadn’t been charged for anything.  The dome in the Galleria was very impressive and showed a different show on it every night of our 7-night cruise, it was on three times during the evening.  We had purchased the Fun Pass at £90 beforehand which meant that we could spend 180 euros on bowling, (30 euros for 30 minutes), F1 simulator (10 euros each), VR Maze (15 euros each), Interactive Cinema (10 euros each) and games in the arcade were between 1.50 euros and 3.50 euros. We soon got through our Fun Pass, I thought the bowling and F1 simulator and arcade games were priced OK, but the Maze and Cinema seemed a bit pricey for the amount of time you spent in them.  I would recommend getting a Fun Pass before you travel to save money. During our bowling session people kept coming onto our lane to have a nosy which we thought was very dangerous when we’re throwing a heavy bowling ball.  They had a blue strip of material at the bottom of the stair up to the bowling lane, but people just moved around it and small children went underneath it.  We had to ask people to move on a couple of occasions, I think a proper screen is needed to prevent this happening before there is an accident. We didn’t bother with an Internet package as we were hugging the coastline most of the time, so had a phone signal, it was only the at sea day that we struggled. We didn’t bother with the speciality restaurants, the sushi, teppanyaki and Butchers Cut seemed popular, but the French bistro and Spanish tapas bar were empty whenever we passed.  We were happy with the quality of the restaurant and buffet food so didn’t want to spend 120+ euros for a meal for four.   We did get charged 34.99 euros for photos that we hadn’t ordered. Some photos were left in our cabin which were taken when we embarked, you had a form to complete saying whether you wanted them or not.  I signed to say that I didn’t want them and the cabin steward removed them from our room.  This may have been a genuine mistake, but keep an eye on your bill while on board.  We had a free photo with the Aurea package, but when we went to the Photo shop we were told it had to be the photo taken in the restaurant on our first night and not the one from the gala night, so we ended up spending 39.99 euros for 3 photos from the gala night.  You do get pestered quite a bit by all the photographers to have photos, but we just said no thanks and carried on walking. Our drinks package was good, we got a good selection of wines, including sparkling, bottled beers, and cocktails and other spirits up to 10 euros.  We could also have water and tea/coffee in the restaurants.  The kids could get soft drinks, water and smoothies.  Just be careful because we got charged 6.33 euros for a child’s milkshake from the bar next to the waterpark, my daughter also got a shake from the indoor pool bar and it was included in our package, so beware.  Also, you get charged for using the minibar, which seemed nonsense because everything in it we could get from the bars and it was included in our package, so we never used the mini bar. We only went to one of the free shows in the London Theatre which was a Rock show.  It was 35 minutes long which was perfect for my husband who doesn’t do shows, but he enjoyed it.  It flowed well and the costumes were great.  My daughter and I went to the Syma, Cirque du Soleil show which was 14 euros each, it was a very good show and you got one cocktail at the start.  The seats were very comfy and swivelled and you had a small table in-between. It was quite an intimate theatre, which was nice, we were on the third row, but could see perfectly and were only a couple of metres from the round stage.  My children didn’t use the clubs, there was a young club for 12-14 years and a teen club for 15-17 years. A lot of the children in their age group were Spanish/French/Italian so they stayed with us and would occasionally have a wander to the buffet on their own or wander around the shops.  We only did one excursion to Pompeii which was £209 for the four of us.  It was a 4-hour excursion, but we were disappointed that we didn’t get more time at Pompeii.  It was about 50 minutes on the coach to Pompeii and then we stood around for the first 15 minutes waiting for the guide to purchase tickets and count us all in. Pompeii was very crowded and we were soon heading for the exit.  My son wanted to see the visitors centre, but we bypassed this and headed for the exit.  On exiting we were told we had 20 minutes to get a drink or visit a Lemoncello factory near the entrance with the guide.  I would rather have spent the time at the visitor’s centre or exploring more of Pompeii.  We then headed back to the bus that wasn’t there so we stood in the car park for at least 5 minutes or maybe longer and then on the way back to the ship we stopped off at a coral factory for 10 minutes.  The majority of people stayed on the bus.  It just seemed as if we had spent £209 to stand around and be sold Lemoncello and coral gifts.  We spent less than an hour and a half inside Pompeii. When we docked in Genoa, Messina and Valetta it was an easy walk to the centre, but for Barcelona it was a 2km walk, so we hopped on the shuttle bus it was 8.99 euros each for adults return and 5.99 euros for 13 years and younger.  We got charged 8.99 euros for our 13-year-old but we didn’t bother going to Guest Services over 3 euros.  All the staff we encountered were good, we just had one member of staff who was rude, she was in the Masters of the Sea pub, which we used every night, but she was only in there on one of the nights, so maybe she had been put there and wasn’t happy about it, although that is no excuse.   We had a phone call at 1am on one of the nights to say could we turn our balcony light off as it was effecting navigation.  Our cabin was located directly under the bridge. We found this funny that a balcony light was effecting the ships navigation.  We turned it off straightaway and had a chuckle about it. You use the hot tub at your own risk, my daughter sustained a very large bruise and a cut at the top of her thigh.  She was sat sideways on the ledge to gain access to the hot tub and was just about to get out of it when the filter kicked in, which is located at the entry/exit point, and it sucked her skin into the square cut out and she panicked.  I manged to prize her away and couldn’t believe what it had done to her thigh.  We have a hot tub at home but the filter is nowhere near the entry/exit point. My daughter enjoyed the waterpark and Himalayan bridge, she used them on our last evening while docked in Barcelona and there wasn’t much of a queue.  I needed to sign a waiver for her and she was issued with a wrist band otherwise she wouldn’t have been able to use the equipment. On the package we were on you could get a free breakfast in your cabin so we tried this one morning.  The order form for breakfast wasn’t in the cabin so I had to request this from Mellissa.  We filled out our order and left it on the door handle the night before.  It arrived on time, but we had ordered 3 bowls of cereal and only had enough milk for one bowl, so ended up going to the buffet anyway. I did use the spa to go for my free massage, it also said I would get a welcome cocktail and consultation, but this was never mentioned.  It was my first massage so they recommended the 50 minute Bali Massage.  I asked for the day at sea but they said they were busy that day so I went for 6pm on the Wednesday.  I enjoyed the massage but afterwards she recommended the hot stone massage and wanted to book me in the next day which was the sea day at 130 euros minus a 20% discount.  I had been told they were busy that day so I think they must get told not to offer free massages on the sea days.  I declined the second massage as I didn’t want another one the next day after just having one, it just felt a bit hard sell.  I did have a look around the rest of the spa which looked nice with lots of different areas. We did have a bit of rough weather one night and we did find it hard to sleep, not due to the rocking, but the creaking of the cabin.  I know this is probably normal for all cruise ships but thought I would mention it.  The sofa bed in our suite was very comfortable, it was big enough for my husband and myself, although my husband’s feet did hang over the end a bit, it was a firm mattress which we like. There were no announcements from the captain or anyone else about sea conditions during the 7 days.  I know they must relay in multiple languages but it would have been nice to know.  The only time you saw the captain was on the gala night when he made two appearances to stand for photos.   We didn’t bother to queue to see him though. The cruise had a very relaxed vibe, they had a couple of formal evenings and a lot of people had made an effort but there were others who were very casual.  I don’t mind it being more relaxed but it would have been nice if people had made more of an effort. It made the cruise feel more like a ferry trip. On our last night, we received our disembarkation details, we had to disembark the ship at 9.40am even though our flight was not until 4.55pm.  I was expecting to at least have the chance to stay on the ship until lunchtime.  My husband went to guest services to see if we could stay on the ship longer and book our own taxi back to the airport, even though we had paid for a transfer when booking the holiday.  We were told that we would still have to disembark the ship at 9.40am and we would have to take it up with MSC cruises when we got home.  We had to leave our cases outside the cabin before 1am and then we got to stay in the cabin until 8.30am.  I do understand that they need you out of the cabin early but didn’t see the issue with staying on the ship for the full morning. When we got back after dinner on our last night the hot tub had already been drained although they didn’t tell us that, so if you want to use the hot tub on your last day make sure you do it before going for dinner.  At 8.30am we went for breakfast at the buffet and by the time we had finished it was time to go down to disembark.  The airport is not far from the port in Marseille so we ended up spending 6.5 hours at Marseille airport.  The family who we had shared a minibus with on arrival were not happy about spending 6.5 hours at the airport either.  Considering Marseille is a large city the airport is very minimalist and there were no shops to even look around.  The seating was hard plastic and not very comfortable, my husband ended up laying on the marble floor.  We have done package holidays before and have never been dumped at the airport like this, it ruined the end of a good holiday.  We were talking about booking another MSC cruise on our last day of the holiday but on receiving the disembarkation details and feeling as if they couldn’t wait to get rid of us off the ship it has put us off booking with them again.     Why couldn’t they let us stay on the ship until lunchtime even after we had offered to pay for a taxi ourselves? Or they could have offered to hold onto our luggage while we paid for the shuttle bus into Marseille for a few hours? After complaining to MSC about disembarkation it seems as if this is normal practise. They told me that my travel agent would of told me this, but I can assure you that this was not the case. This is something I will also bring up with my travel agent. If we had of known the procedure before the last night of our holiday we could have made better arrangements. There were customers staying on the ship until after lunch who had evening flights, we could see this from the disembarkation details they gave us. We felt as though they wanted to dump everyone at the airport as soon as possible and not have to pay for another bus/taxi. Overall we enjoyed our cruise, but it did feel a bit hard sell at times. We would like to cruise the Caribbean or Asia next and will maybe look at Royal Caribbean or Celebrity Cruises to get a comparison. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Check-in was quick and easy; less than 15 minutes as there were many staff available. There is a specific area at the Buffet for "children and family" which minimizes the amount of chaos during meal time. We also enjoyed the ... Read More
Check-in was quick and easy; less than 15 minutes as there were many staff available. There is a specific area at the Buffet for "children and family" which minimizes the amount of chaos during meal time. We also enjoyed the Adult's Only Lounge and Bar on the 18th floor where you will find a beautiful view and some relaxing time while overlooking the outdoors. Entertainment each evening was excellent. We never missed a show! Much to do on board; F-1 Simulator, bowling, Virtual Reality games, Cirque Soleil, just to name a few. Heated indoor pool and hot tubs along with outdoor pool/tubs. Spa Thermal area was small but also enjoyable. We found the staff to be friendly and always just a few steps away. Meals at the buffet and dining room were varied and enjoyable. We were given a table for two each evening. As far as the speciality restaurants, we tried both the Sushi restaurant and the UK Pub and found both to be good and reasonably priced. We enjoyed the meals on the ship so had we not had a chance to try any of the speciality restaurants, we wouldn't have been disappointed. We would have prefered more English speaking channels on the television for when we were relaxing in our room. Disembarking was easy and the most enjoyable of any cruises we've been on. The Bellissima has an area set aside where you can drop your luggage and they will hold it for you up until 1:00pm so that you may simply leave your room and enjoy the ship until you disembark... without pushing any suitcases around! WELL DONE MSC!! We'll definitely be back! Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Firstly this was our first cruise so we have nothing to completely judge against, however the things I will talk about was our experience. On arrival onto the ship we we’re badgered by staff wanting us to sign up to a drinks package ... Read More
Firstly this was our first cruise so we have nothing to completely judge against, however the things I will talk about was our experience. On arrival onto the ship we we’re badgered by staff wanting us to sign up to a drinks package which we had already sorted pre arrival. This also didn’t stop for a couple of days. ( by all means assist customers but make staff be seen but have customers approach staff ) We also were constantly bugged by the staff photographers constantly asking if we wanted our picture taken and even after a polite no they then pleaded ‘it will only take a few minutes ‘ whilst following us. My polite no’s were beginning to wear very thin towards the end. To add insult to injury the one time we gave in, we were then automatically charged £34.99 to our card before even seeing them. From the reception they told me it was down to me to say I didn’t want them to have the charge removed. So I was glad to keep an eye on my account on my tv in my cabin. Otherwise it would have been a shock on leaving. ( may be better for customers to say yes before charging). Each place we docked at we were badgered if we wanted taxi or sight seeing bus. All were stupid prices and you can do so much better sourcing your own public transport at great prices.... it got tiresome as they wouldn’t take no as an answer. I feel msc security/ dock security should monitor this and actively reduce this annoyance. Now the ship is an absolute beautiful design. Really took our breath away. The mid ship sky screen shows and displays were very good. The shows onboard were very very good and thoughly entertaining. And at 30 mins I feel it was too short but understand with time restrictions for the program it has to be that way. I had no issues with my premium drinks package and recommend this is purchased. The staff were all very friendly and pleasant and had no bad experiences in the dining room with food or waiting staff. The cabin ( we had a balcony) was a nice size and I would say it was a slightly smaller than the average Travelodge room but pretty much the same layout. Tv channels were slightly limited ( but who comes on holiday to watch tv ). The safe is quite tiny and we couldn’t put our iPads in it. But it was simple to use. The Bed was very comfortable with two pillows. Balcony size ok. Mini bar idea not so good. .... it is not covered on the drinks package. I think to enjoy the balcony it would be good to use from mini bar to save having to go to the bar for purchasing drinks to carry back. Most drinks in there can be from the bar anyway. ( just saves borrowing and restocking ourselves the next day early). The spa is amazing and well worth the visit. Spent most days in there for a couple of hours recovering from our days walking. However on the sea day it got very busy. Maybe it would be good if msc only allowed the package deal only people to access on sea days and offer no day pass. ( could earn more money for them and balance the numbers out for spa visitors). With the numerous relaxation areas jacuzzis and steam/ sauna rooms and ice room. Not forgetting the emotional showers there are plenty of places to relax and rest. Never gambled before and the casino was an awesome experience. Staff very friendly and when it was quiet we asked how to use tables and all was explained very well. There are serious gamblers there, and people like us who had fun with between 10-30 Euros per visit. We actually visited most nights and actually walked away with more Euro’s than we started with. The water slides were fun to use, and the pools were relaxing. And the external hot tubs on the deck were very nice also. Anyone in two minds about first time cruising, I think the ship will give you the experience that will help decide if it’s for you. And as for us......... we will stick with msc and look out for more locations this ship will visit and try out the other ships in the fleet. We have been converted to a life of cruising for sure. Read Less
MSC Bellissima Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.0
Dining 4.5 3.4
Entertainment 5.0 3.2
Public Rooms 5.0 3.7
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.6
Family 5.0 3.6
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.3
Enrichment 3.0 2.6
Service 4.5 3.6
Value For Money 4.0 3.3

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