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4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We were a group of 8, some seasoned cruisers some for the first time. We are long time cruisers with Celebrity Concierge Class. We booked a year before the ship went in the water. Unlike other cruise lines, we had no pre cruise ... Read More
We were a group of 8, some seasoned cruisers some for the first time. We are long time cruisers with Celebrity Concierge Class. We booked a year before the ship went in the water. Unlike other cruise lines, we had no pre cruise communication via email from MSC. The MSC app only worked half the time. We all booked a balcony stateroom Aurea Class with Premium Plus drink package. MSC changed the drink package in October, however since we paid the upgrade prior to this date we were to be grandfathered into the maximum drink package available. Which we were not. MSC miscommunicated this info to our travel agent 6 times. We found this out during our first dining experience. Not a great start. Our room was 13119, and although the closet space is very limited, the balcony was huge. Zoe never worked for any of us. There was a smell from the shower drain that at times was unbearable. Our stateroom attendant was amazing however the smell remained. Unacceptable for a new ship. There is no account access on the TV, so if you need to confirm on board charges you must stand in line with everyone else at Guest Services, waste of time. The mini bar was convenient and well stocked daily. The walls seemed very thin, I could hear guest next to us often as well as the room above us. Unfortunately I had to complain, it was 3 am. We were never advised that the ship only holds 250EU on your account for on board expenses. This may be due to the card being in Canadian funds, but no explanation was ever given. This amount was spent quickly at the spa, so when it came time to buy a 7.00 gelato we were refused. Off to Guest Services once again to swipe our card. Food in the dining room was a 2 at best. We witnessed no dress code being enforced even on Gala Nights. We saw passengers with jean shorts, t shirts and ball caps allowed in the Lighthouse dining room. Our table attendants were fantastic, very attentive however the food came out at different times. Not the dining experience you would expect when you read the marketing statements on the MSC web page. We had one specialty dinner at the steakhouse and all but one entrée was perfect. Really enjoyed the food and service. We ate breakfast and lunch in the dining room, and service was hit or miss. Food was average. The Market Place Buffett, sub par with a small healthy food selection for such a large space. The Spa is beautiful and worth every penny. The staff were incredible and treatments are priced comparable to most spas at sea. The main pool...well if you like your deck chair to be packed in like sardines, a drink at the only pool bar next to the smoking section, enjoy very loud music and pool games, screaming kids in the pool as well as kids running on deck with no adult supervision, and not being allowed to sit on the pool deck with a drink in your hand and feet in the water then this is the cruise for you. Again reading the description of the pool deck for the Bellissima this is not what we expected. The second pool was the same and the aft pool was so small that again the kids took over, while the parents reserved empty pool chairs. Deck 19 reserved for Aurea Class does not have a pool, only a hot tub , no bar, but deck chair bar service. Great views but anyone can buy a day pass. The main pool is located two decks below. The gym is very small for the amount of passengers on board. We enjoyed the Champagne bar at night, and the staff were excellent. However they only serve Champagne so if you want a mixed cocktail you need to go to an other bar. We all enjoyed the F1 race car experience, 10.00eu p/p per ride well worth it. We did two excursions booked direct with MSC. Portofino and Capri. Both excellent once you get there. However we were sent back to Naples on a local ferry from Capri which was standing room only. Locals and tourists had suitcases that took up seats. I believe when you book a tour with the ship then the transfer back to port should be on a boat for that tour only. Yes the ship is beautiful but for the 5000.00usd price tag for 7 days, it did not meet our expectations based on the information provided on the MSC web. MSC does a great job marketing this ship with no execution. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this cruise because the ship was brand new with an amazing itinerary. We went to great ports, Barcelona, Marseilles, Genoa, Naples, Messina and Malta. Embarkation and disembarkation were super easy. Here are some of the positives ... Read More
We chose this cruise because the ship was brand new with an amazing itinerary. We went to great ports, Barcelona, Marseilles, Genoa, Naples, Messina and Malta. Embarkation and disembarkation were super easy. Here are some of the positives and negatives: Positive Nice clean new boat Buffet food very good quality Excellent pizza Great ports to visit Guest services - spoke English Many handwashing stations around buffet area NEGATIVE REVIEWS: No self service laundry - plan on handwashing or bring plenty of clothes Pool closes 8pm - no time to enjoy the pool after a day in port Complimentary restaurants - seafood and veal and lamb food was terrible Food is not labeled for seafood/nut allergies. I missed seeing Naples due to seafood allergy because MSC does not label their foods. Buffet is like a stampede - rude people; Buffet area not big enough for amount of passengers No communication or announcements about activities and such They keep you guessing about time off and on the boat Not enough public bathrooms Beds are hard as a rock No adult pool/hot tubs Zoe did not work at all They took my plates and cups while I’m eating Safety briefing was not an English Disembarkation meeting Not in English Read Less
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
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
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
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
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Where to start? Embarkation and disembarkation were fairly smooth. No wow factor when boarding. Our cabin was fairly comfortable, but there was a lack of storage. Zoe, which was touted as the new best personal assistant was a waste of ... Read More
Where to start? Embarkation and disembarkation were fairly smooth. No wow factor when boarding. Our cabin was fairly comfortable, but there was a lack of storage. Zoe, which was touted as the new best personal assistant was a waste of time. Didn't work once. We wasted far more time than necessary trying, unsuccessfuly, to get the system to change to English. Bed was comfortable. Food was average but avoid the buffet. Too many people fighting to get in first. There was very little entertainment, and what there was proved to be very poor. Activities were very poor unless you were willing to pay extra for them. MSC could learn from other cruise companies. Not what you expect from a cruise when you book it. Everything except for specialty dining should be included for the cost. We have now cruised with MSC twice. The first cruise was extremely bad, but we decided to give it another go as we had spoken to other people who said that our first experience was not up to the usual standard. That, coupled with the allure of a brand new ship, persuaded us to give this cruise a go. We will not be going for "third time lucky". Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
They say you shouldn’t ignore history and it’s advice I should have heeded myself. I had my first MSC experience last year and came away vowing I would never cruise with them again, then I saw the opportunity to join Bellissima’s ... Read More
They say you shouldn’t ignore history and it’s advice I should have heeded myself. I had my first MSC experience last year and came away vowing I would never cruise with them again, then I saw the opportunity to join Bellissima’s inaugural voyage. Maybe last year was a one off and I was unlucky, I thought. An inaugural voyage will be something special, I thought. It started well as the check-in process in Southampton was far smoother than in Genoa 13 months ago but that’s probably down to the better organisation of the port than MSC’s doing. We boarded a brand spanking new ship, it smelt new and was clean and gleaming. Arguably too gleaming as the Swarovski encrusted staircases in the main atrium certainly glistened but were they too chavvy and tacky. Much fanfare has been made of the 260’ long LED Skydome and, yes, it looks impressive but 95% of the time it has a static display, changing occasionally it is visually impressive. However more use could be made of it – it only comes to life three times a day when a much vaunted video display is shown – don’t stop doing anything else to watch one as it is distinctively underwhelming. Rather than using the video ceiling to its full potential it looks as though the mini-shows, rarely lasting longer than three minutes, have been produced by A-level students as part of a media project. If you’ve ever seen the LED show in Freemont Street in Las Vegas you will be bitterly disappointed with this effort …… it may be an idea for MSC to send someone to Vegas to see how the screen can be used to its full potential. Anyway, I digress, we made our way to the cabin which was easy to find but challenging to get into. Controlled by an NFC card, which doubled as a cruise card, the door seemingly unlocked but resolutely would not open. We tried both our cards several times but were still stuck outside our cabin. Luckily a passing cabin steward appeared and we explained the predicament and he showed us how to open the door. You present the key, press the handle and basically shoulder charge the door to gain entry ….. yes the door was so tight it was the only way to open it, although it did ease after a few days. The opposite of this was you had to give the door a hard push or slam to ensure it closed properly. The cabin itself was very narrow, there was only just room between the foot of the bed and the opposite wall to pass by comfortably. The wardrobe was small. The redeeming feature of the cabin was the bathroom, which was clean and, for a cruise ship, relatively spacious. We had to share the cabin with Zoe, who advertised as being your intelligent assistant, I would describe her as Alexa’s dumb, inbred cousin, with learning difficulties. Unless you were enquiring about something that could be sold to you her stock answer was to speak to a member of the crew or the information desk. Intelligent she wasn’t, annoying she very much was. Interestingly she was screwed to the desk, presumably to stop passengers throwing her overboard. The cabin creaked terribly, so much so I woke up more than once thinking someone was walking across the cabin. I have never known a ship roll so much, I can only assume the vessel has not been fitted with stabilisers or if it has, they were not working. One night the roll was so bad our beds actually slid across the cabin and all the toiletries in the bathroom fell off the shelves. Yet despite the obvious bad rolling, despite the first stop in La Coruna being cancelled due to the bad weather we heard nothing at all from the Captain or the bridge, he may as well not been there. Indeed, the only time the Captain deigned to mix with the passengers was for the photo opportunity. I have to say this custom of being photographed with the Captain strikes me as being odd …… why do it. If I catch a train I don’t want a photo with the driver, if I catch a bus I don’t want a photo with the driver, so why would I want a photograph of me with the driver of a ship? Speaking of photography, MSC seem to have a breeding colony of photographers as you cannot walk more than a few yards without one of the official photographers trying to get you to pose for yet another photograph, which you can buy at an extortionate price. The only place you seemed to be free of the photographers was in the toilets, although they’ll probably set up there next. Now, a subject dear to my heart, food. Quality tended to be hit and miss with food ranging from sublime (interestingly in the speciality restaurants) to poor with average being the general standard. Portion sizes in the main restaurant can be best described as frugal and, even on special nights, the meals were only three courses ….. some nights we came away from the restaurant feeling hungry. The individual waiting staff could not be faulted and they worked hard. Dinner on the first night was absolutely chaotic with massive gaps between courses and wrong orders being delivered. However, it was the first night and such problems were to be expected. In fairness by the third night service was slick and the correct meals appeared. For me the biggest “rip off” are their speciality restaurants. Yes, all cruise lines have speciality restaurants, which carry a premium price tag. Having already paid for meals in the main restaurant proper cruise lines like P&O and Cunard will charge a nominal cover charge, usually in the £20 - £30 range to eat in a speciality restaurant, something most passengers wouldn’t quibble at. MSC, on the other hand, are crafty. They describe their main restaurant meals as “complementary” – that was a surprise when I saw it in blue and white on the TV screen in my cabin. That means if you eat in a speciality restaurant on am MSC ship you aren’t upgrading your dining experience and paying a supplement, you are being charged full price and more. We paid €125 for a three course meal in in their Butchers Cut steakhouse restaurant and that was basically going for the “cheapest” filet steak. Yes the quality was good and the service excellent but still a lot of money for basically a steak, especially when you have supposedly already paid for a main meal. Of course there is also the buffet, the ruck and maul of dining. MSC is an Italian based cruise line and a large number of passengers on board are, therefore, Italian. Whilst it is generally wrong to begin stereotyping ,this does have an adverse impact on the enjoyment of the cruise …… especially if eating in the buffet. Dress codes seem to be optional, at best. One aspect of cruising I like are the formal nights where you dress up for dinner. With, again what I call traditional cruise lines, the code is strictly enforced. With MSC there is no enforcement whatsoever. On this cruise there were three “formal” or as they call them “elegant” nights. On the first one I would say 70% made the effort, the second about 30% and by the third one only about 10% made the effort. On one of the nights I was wearing my dinner jacket and the chap sitting next to me was wearing jeans and an open neck shirt ……. It makes you wonder why bother? Turning to entertainment and I use the term loosely. The London Theatre is small for the number of passengers, so much so you have to book if you want to guarantee a place, otherwise take part in a scrum for any remaining seats five minutes before the show starts. The shows from the in house team were OK, they were reasonably good singers, although the choreography was limited. What did spoil some of the shows was appalling lighting. There were some horrendous strobe effects, without any prior warning and spotlights, more often than not missed the intended performer. The other shows were a very clever and funny mime artist and the worlds worse ventriloquist – I’m not sure if he was deliberately bad or was just untalented, suffice to say many walked out and he was almost booed off stage. WE didn’t waste any money on excursions and we didn’t fall for any of the usual MSC cons. For example in Lisbon they were selling open bus tour tickets for the special price of €27, whereas you could buy the very same ticket on the bus for €22. They also still operate their big con job in Marseille where they charge €15.99 for a shuttle bus to the city centre and back, whereas if you’re prepared to take a 10 minute walk to the edge of the security area, the city of Marseille provide a free shuttle bus ……. of course MSC forget to tell you this. So, in summary, a new glittering ship, although it has to be said even after only a week the carpets in the corridors were beginning to look tatty. It is, however grossly overhyped and is very chavvy in places. It is the typical MSC experience where they set out to screw you for as much money as possible and you come away with a feeling of being ripped off. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Inaugural cruise of MSC Bellissima from Southampton to Lisbon. Boarding was easy and quick, although there was no special welcome onboard for the inaugural cruise. The cabin was small, storage space was very limited and toiletries ... Read More
Inaugural cruise of MSC Bellissima from Southampton to Lisbon. Boarding was easy and quick, although there was no special welcome onboard for the inaugural cruise. The cabin was small, storage space was very limited and toiletries were minimal MSC-branded shower gel and shampoo in dispensers in the shower). The wardrobe was very small, dresses and jackets had to be hung at an angle as the depth would not accommodate them hanging sideways. The most annoying aspect of the cabin was "Zoe", an Alexa-style voice-operated assistant. Zoe's sole response to any question was to recommend caling customer services. About as useful as a chocolate teapot (not that there was a teapot in the cabin!). There were no tea or coffee making facilities in the cabin. Signage to the muster stations was poor and confusing - not a good idea for emegency equipment and procedures. One marshall had his identification vest on inside out. When I pointed it out to him he shrugged. Not an acceptable attitude from someone who may be involved in evacuating passengers in an emergency! Food was average. We had a very good and attentive waiter at our table in the evenings and I couldn't fault him. However, there was not a sufficient variety of menu choices. Three choices of red meat and one of fish is not really the sort of balance that should be offered. The Market Street buffet was interesting. Why have signs above the serving stations indicating what is being served if the food at each station is different from the sign?( I wouldn't normally go to the "grill" station if I was looking for desert). Was the captain on board? We heard nothing from him throughout the five days of the voyage. The ship Dutch-rolled for the whole time we were on board. Admittedly, we were skirting round a storm in the Bay of Biscay and the weather precluded docking in La Coruna, but as an airline captain I wouldn't leave my passengers in the dark over the weather conditions and how long we expected them continue. The only announcement on the PA was to inform us that the port call in La Coruna would be cancelled - and that was from Guest Services. I don't know if the stabilisers were not deployed or were out of sequence, but they were not capable of dealing with moderate seas in the Bay of Biscay. It didn't roll as much as the recent Viking incident off Norway, but that ship had suffered a total power failure. MSC BEllissima didn't have that excuse. It just wasn't capable of dealing with the conditions, which weren't extreme by any measure. Not a ship for those prone to sea-sickness. The entertainment on offer was poor. Cirque de Solei was billed as the main attraction but did not perform or were not available. The only show we went to see was a mime artist. 35 minutes of my life that I won't get back! The final insult was on the morning after we arrived in Lisbon. We were due to disembark the following morning, so it was a lazy day, without the ship's rocking and rolling. At 8 A.M. we were woken by noise on our balcony. When we opened the curtains we discovered was cleaning staff hosing the balcony down and cleaning the deck furniture!!! One of them even asked if he could come through our cabin to go to the next one! (We told him where he could go with that idea!). Fortunately, we were sleeping with the curtains closed, otherwise the cleaners would have been able to look straight into our cabin. All of this at 8 A.M. I complained to the Guest Services staff and was told that someone would get back to me. Almost a month later and I am still waiting. Overall, this was a terrible cruise. I would not sail with MSC again. However, I am sure that, in time, we will look back and laugh at the whole dreadful experience. 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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