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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
Sail Date: September 2019
If you’re looking for a bit of luxury, some good quality service, friendly staff, great entertainment and decent value for money, THIS IS NOT FOR YOU. The entertainment is a bunch of people singing, changing outfits and dancing, ... Read More
If you’re looking for a bit of luxury, some good quality service, friendly staff, great entertainment and decent value for money, THIS IS NOT FOR YOU. The entertainment is a bunch of people singing, changing outfits and dancing, EVERY NIGHT. The Market Place cafe is chaos 20 hours per day. Absolute mayhem. The staff and cruisers have very little to non existent manors. Pushing, ignorance, shouting and being generally rude is commonplace. MSC over charge on everything. 8euros for a beer.... PLUS 15% service charge on top. Buses at ports are all 4x the price they are when you actually leave the ship. One thing we didn’t think of was the fact people leave and start their holidays at almost every port. Imagine all of those safety drills, suitcases and so on all over the place, every day! If you’re in you’re room you have a ten minute lecture in every language about the safety procedure, almost every day. The food.... is ok. That’s it. Lack of imagination and small portion sizes but in the lighthouse during the evening it’s pretty good. They will try and get you to pay for speciality restaurants and drinks packages at every opportunity. The room we had, 12261 with a balcony was great however. Very large and much better than other ships we had been on. Our cabin steward was nice. Room always tidy. The boat is pretty nice. The layout isn’t great though and means you’re up and down stairs a lot, the lifts are always full. It’s designed and fit out a bit cheesy rather than luxury but I guess people like that. The best area of the ship by far is the Masters of The Sea. The staff are funny, friendly and personal. They remember your name, your drink and are super efficient. The live music is good and the pub has the best vibe of anywhere on the ship. One thing we should say is we are British. We’ve sailed from Southampton a number of times with different companies but this cruise fell far short and we certainly wouldn’t be booking with MSC again. Today is the last day of our cruise, looking forward to getting home. MSC if you’re reading | Areas to improve Adult only areas - quiet areas (no party music blasting) Some manors. Some organisation to the Marketplace. Restocking of minibar as standard. Entertainment - A new manager. The entertainment is simply awful. The same thing every night and every day. Very poor and a very basic standard. Try a different cruise liner and see what they do. Food leftovers left down the hallways on the floor. Pretty disgusting and often left for hours. The safety procedure. He has been talking for ten minutes In every language whilst we are trying to relax in our room. We’ve heard it 5 times. Make him stop, please. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
We chose this cruise as the ship was new and looked beautiful...and MSC is one of a few cruise lines we haven't experienced. The ship was beautiful, especially the galleria area, but: - the beauty of the ship could have been ... Read More
We chose this cruise as the ship was new and looked beautiful...and MSC is one of a few cruise lines we haven't experienced. The ship was beautiful, especially the galleria area, but: - the beauty of the ship could have been enhanced with art work - the cruise experience could have been enhanced with more activities on offer - the library was a couple of shelves with a hand full of books - the food in the buffet was boring after a few days and (surprising given the ship's Italian pedigree) not of a good quality - it felt like it was all about selling and getting more money from the cruise passengers - the promo video gives the impression of a sophisticated cruise experience .....the reality was most of the time it felt like hell on earth...noisy rude passengers All in all one of the worst cruises we have been on! Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Where do i start lovely shiny new ship comfy cabins and thats where the compliments stop staff no idea what they doing the ship is full of rude passengers who shove and push you in any queue i had one grab the tings for food out my hand ! ... Read More
Where do i start lovely shiny new ship comfy cabins and thats where the compliments stop staff no idea what they doing the ship is full of rude passengers who shove and push you in any queue i had one grab the tings for food out my hand ! These were not British people but other nationals one guy took the whole row of sun-beds with the cushions to reserve them this is at 7am arguing with the pool staff who removed them all inclusive drinks are like acetone and if you upgrade to premium package the run out after 3 drinks of your brand ! the buffet well if u like pizza burgers and hotdogs all day and all night this is the ship for you food repetitive and the deserts tiny and limited total chaos on board then theirs the excursions well they cancelled one of my trips booked by accident i went right down within minutes of booking and when i tried to cancel / transfer to another trip on tuesday for Thursday they told me i had to give 48 hours notice ! Well thats 48 hrs and i had booked it seconds ago but no they wanted 50 percent cancellation charge ! So we went on the trip the entertainment is awful for a new boat compared to other new boats who were out standing always some thing to do the boat rocks from side to side all the time even in calm Waters last night the coat hangers battering in the wardrobe drove us insane we had to take them all out so if you get sea sick take some pills With you the casino tiny compared to others i wont cruise msc again was first and the last ncl and royal Caribbean so much better 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
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
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
I'm not writing a cruise blog so don't expect a lengthy ramble of the pros and cons - this is a review so short(ish). Background - we have done 44 cruises. 7 have been on MSC of which 5 have been in Yacht Club. This inaugural ... Read More
I'm not writing a cruise blog so don't expect a lengthy ramble of the pros and cons - this is a review so short(ish). Background - we have done 44 cruises. 7 have been on MSC of which 5 have been in Yacht Club. This inaugural sailing was in YC too. Displaying the Union Jack upside down at the official launch of the ship was never going to be a vote winner but MSC managed to make what should have been an exciting, awe inspiring first cruise into the most boring, disorganised and disappointing cruise we have ever taken. People say - never go on a new ship for the first 6 months while they iron out the issues ans staff find their routines etc. What a load of rubbish. This ship boasts ZOE the first interactive AI virtual assistant at sea. Well, if you asked a question she was able to advise speaking to a staff member and she did try to turn on the TV but failed miserably. I did try to put her in the wardrobe but she is screwed to the desk (taking up extremely limited space) so we just unplugged her. Normally, the TV is the first place to pre-book all the shows for the week, make restaurant reservations, check your account, watch ship webcams, find the weather forecast, listen to the annoying safety briefings but none of that worked either - there were a handful of TV channels and that was it. Now, back to the "never cruise in first 6 months" argument. All of MSC ships have interactive TVs - they are not new to this ship - they are tried and tested and there is no reason for them not to work given they have been building the ship for 2 years. The same for Zoe, did they suddenly invent the thing a week before the cruise? None of the shows were announced until the night before the performance - why? Did the artists get on the day before their appearance? Given that the shows were so poor, I think they were too embarrassed to announce them. Our very first nights "entertainment" was a video of the launch party. That built the excitement ready for a mime artist, a couple doing a shadow show and a ventriloquist - all of which should have been condensed into one show (if at all). The whole thing was incredibly boring for the entire 9 night cruise. There were 3 "MSC shows" which at least added some sparkle and colour (they were nothing special but that is quite normal and manageable for their 30 min duration). We had some pretty rough seas for 3 days and the captain was absent from the PA system - in fact the PA system was used ONCE during the whole 9 days - no weather updates, no location updates, no amusing one-liners from any crew member at all. So, Yacht Club - billed as "an exclusive haven of refinement". I have always liked YC - it has never been as good as the hype but it is far, far better than a standard MSC cruise (or should be). My main gripe was the food - or rather the lack of food quality. YC menus are normally full of exciting exclusive dishes - not dozens of choices but better quality meals. Not on this cruise they weren't. Elegant Night choices were particularly disappointing - lobster tail was the only highlight but even that was a battle involving my wife and then the waiter in an attempt to remove it from its shell. MSC had announced a signature dish from Raymond Blanc for this ship - nope, they were probably still trying to get Zoe to find the Raymond Blanc cook book. A "complaint" the the restaurant manager was met with "well, I don't write the menu". That guy did not smile once during the entire cruise - I have never met anyone with so little personality in 44 cruises. Shocking. I watched as he approached guests and just stood there creating an uncomfortable "stand off". The YC Grill on the sun deck was limited and they were clueless - one day, a small choice of warm (never hot) dishes were suddenly removed and replaced with chips and fried food plus four tall hatted chefs trying to cope when more than 10 guests appeared at the food counter - these are professionals? Staff would not allow you to select your choice of food and insisted they serve the food from the dish to your plate - that alone resulted in long queues and was a joke when trying to select salad items. "Chefs" appeared every day to take dozens of photos of the food layout; only to re-arrange it by millimetres before taking dozens more photos. It was laughable to watch them as they worried more about presenting the food than they did the taste and quality. These were experienced crew who had vast experience on other MSC ships - but they were just clueless. RAJ at the YC Concierge desk was amazing (I hope MSC don't zap his enthusiasm as they appear to do with so many). Did we get an amazing experience in YC - definitely not. Did we feel MSC had pulled out all the stops to make this inaugural cruise something special - do I even need to answer. We have one more MSC cruise booked, but are now looking to cancel it based on how shockingly bad this March 4th sailing from Southampton was. I'm not prepared to spend my hard earned money on a cruise line with such a laid back, couldn't care less attitude toward its guests. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Firstly ours was a last minute booking approx 10 days before sailing, We have cruised on 20 plus cruises on most cruise lines and have never been loyal to any one line. We had never been on a maiden voyage before and when we saw this much ... Read More
Firstly ours was a last minute booking approx 10 days before sailing, We have cruised on 20 plus cruises on most cruise lines and have never been loyal to any one line. We had never been on a maiden voyage before and when we saw this much publicised launch advertised on MSC website at £249 pp for a 10 night maiden voyage in a balcony cabin, we felt we couldn't go far wrong for an extra £220 pp we upgraded to fantastica which gave us an excellent cabin location and also premium drinks package too. So that said for the price paid the cruise was ok, but compared to all others we have been on it was quite poor. The ship itself being brand new was sparkly and very light and airy, Dining was ok, quite good if you like seafood, with Squid, octopus and cuttlefish often appearing on the menu, the food was certainly more Mediterranean than other lines we have sailed previously, The entertainment was diabolical, really really poor, i know it must be difficult to cater for passengers from so many countries and languages, but the very short 35 minute shows were really poor. Maiden voyage!!! there was NOTHING at all was done to acknowledge the fact, no sail away parties, no fireworks, no glass of sparking wine on embarkation just nothing at all different than any other cruise. So all in all it was not a cruise i would repeat but at the price i guess we had no complaints and got what we paid for. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
This was our first MSC cruise and we chose it as it was an inaugural cruise and we wanted to experience the best of MSC. We have taken many inaugural cruises from Southampton with NCL and RCI and have thoroughly enjoyed them especially ... Read More
This was our first MSC cruise and we chose it as it was an inaugural cruise and we wanted to experience the best of MSC. We have taken many inaugural cruises from Southampton with NCL and RCI and have thoroughly enjoyed them especially the extra effort the cruise lines make for inaugural sailings. However with this cruise it had all of the special feeling of a North Sea ferry trip, no effort was made by MSC to make this memorable, not even a glass of bubbly when you arrived on the ship. The ship is generally OK, the hype MSC made about how beautiful it is is way over the top, some parts are very good, others distinctly average. We had a balcony cabin which was OK for space but the storage facilities consisted of a single small wardrobe, OK for 2 people for a week but anything longer and you would be struggling. The cabin did not have any tea or coffee making facilities and strangely for a new ship only 1 USB point next to the power sockets. The new MSC toy “ZOE” an Amazon Echo type device did not work throughout the cruise and seemed a pointless gimmick. The cabin creaked and groaned continually with any movement of the ship, speaking to other guests most of the cabins had the same problem, no sleep one night due to the noise. We had an “All Inclusive” drinks package included in the fare when we booked with the travel agent, this “All Inclusive” package turned out to be extremely limited in that the only beer was Heineken and the wine selection was the cheap Italian rubbish. You could have spirits excluding the premium brands, however what constituted a premium brand was unclear and even the staff gave contradictory advice when asked. We had booked 6 months before the cruise and they had changed the packages after we booked, instead of moving everyone to the new packages they wanted people to pay to upgrade, very cheap and money grabbing. This change in packages brought much confusion with cruisers and bar staff not knowing what was in or excluded from the packages, we had 4 visits to the service desk to remove extra charges to our account. The weather in the first 4 days was not good and the visit to La Coruna was cancelled as the ship slowly sailed directly to Lisbon, the weather was poor but the sea conditions did not look particularly bad as we were on the edge of the storm. The ship however rolled continually and appeared to have no stabilisers or if they did they were completely ineffective. We have done many transatlantic cruises with much rougher sea condition and never experienced this amount of movement. During the rough weather the Captain made no announcements in fact he never bothered to make any during any part of the cruise. Similarly the cruise director was missing except to make an appearance in the theatre to introduce the acts. Overall the entertainment was poor compared to other cruise lines, all of the main theatre shows only lasted 35 minutes. Food in the complimentary restaurants and buffet was of a generally poor quality and the choice limited, we heard good reports from the speciality restaurants. A typical restaurant dinner service took around 2 hours for 3 courses, given the size of the portions it was hardly worth the time and effort. We found the staff to be pleasant and helpful, what let down the service was the poor organisation and systems in place. After this cruise we have decided not to use MSC again, we will be sticking to NCL, RCI and Celebrity for most of our cruising. MSC do some things well but overall they need to up their standards of organisation and customer care before we would cruise with them again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
The embarkation at Southampton was very smooth, we arrived early and we were allowed to board straight away. When we first boarded it was clear to see that it was a beautiful ship, however we soon noticed it downsides. When we arrived at ... Read More
The embarkation at Southampton was very smooth, we arrived early and we were allowed to board straight away. When we first boarded it was clear to see that it was a beautiful ship, however we soon noticed it downsides. When we arrived at our Balcony Cabin it was very narrow and the bathroom was very small. There was tissues in the wall right next to the toilet which we thought was very unhygienic, the wardrobe hanging space was very small and there was no tea or coffee making facilities in the Cabin. The food in the main dining area was not enough and we had to ask for vegetables to fill the plate, what you did get was tasty but you had to wait a while for it to be served. The Market Place Buffet on deck 15 was like a Cattle Market so we did not use this very much. The entertainment was very poor and only lasted 35 minutes each night, in fact when we had at sea days we were very bored because there was nothing much to do. The main entertainment throughout the day was in the Bellissima Lounge which was too small and people were dancing in the main walkway because there was not enough space on the dance floor. We found the service in most of the bars to be poor and we actually walked out of three bars because we had difficulty getting served. Although I must say this did seem to improve on the last couple of days. We could not stop at La Coruna because of the poor weather conditions, not once did the Captain speak over the PA System to advise his passangers to expect adverse weather conditions, in fact we never heard or saw of him at all, even though it was really bad. The overall service was unorganised and the information given was very poor. The MSC App for your phone was good when they managed to supply the correct information. There was not enough seating areas in the Champayne and Cocktail bars, the Sky Lounge was ok but only if you liked Jazz music. The Liabary was a joke, it consisted of three shelves but only one shelf was full, this was next to the Champagne Bar. Overall I think MSC are relying on the beauty of the Ship and are not paying enough attention to the Fare paying Passengers. We will not be cruising with MSC again for sure. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Inaugural cruise promised so much and delivered so little. Here are just some of the issues: * Wardrobe doors. Very cheap sliding doors that constantly jam! * Wardrobe depth too shallow to hang clothes unless hung diagonally. * ... Read More
Inaugural cruise promised so much and delivered so little. Here are just some of the issues: * Wardrobe doors. Very cheap sliding doors that constantly jam! * Wardrobe depth too shallow to hang clothes unless hung diagonally. * Costantly creaking cabin, banging within walls and creaking balcony door frame. * Limited food options without paying upto €30+++pp in specialist restaurants. * Very poor customer service . * Few lounges apart from those reserved for Yatch Club. * Zoe completely useless, cannot answer any on board of off board questions. Bluetooth will pair to be device but it's bluetooth is too slow to be of any use. * No cabin extras such as toiletries,  not even pencil. * They should have spent more on a decent cabin structures rather than Bling in the public areas. * Untested and or unfriendly technology Zoe etc, tv, interactive screens on deck. No English entertainment channels. * 6 March glasses smashed and bottles fell off shelfs. Chairs slid across the buffet restaurant. In my opinion this ship was close to its limits that night. * TOP ENTERTAINMENT! Hand shadows was the gala night entertainment!!!!! The main restaurant staff were brilliant despite the small portions they had to serve up to guests. I have taken 20 previous cruises across 6 now 7 cruise lines, and MSC has been by far the worst in terms of entertainment, food, facilities, and staff. The Captain did not address the guests once despite abandoning one of the ports of call (La Caruna ) Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Chose this as a short cruise for a last minute break. Was looking forward to travelling as one of the first passengers on a brand new ship. As seasoned cruisers, this was our 15th Cruise (RCI, Princess, NCL, TUI) but 1st on MSC (my 2nd but ... Read More
Chose this as a short cruise for a last minute break. Was looking forward to travelling as one of the first passengers on a brand new ship. As seasoned cruisers, this was our 15th Cruise (RCI, Princess, NCL, TUI) but 1st on MSC (my 2nd but 1st for my husband - I was looking for a vast improvement in the entertainment from last msc trip last year). I’ve only given 2 stars ‘cos I’ve come home really disappointed with the cruise and quite glad it’s over. This is not my usual reaction after a cruise, you’ve usually to shoehorn me off and I’m planning the next one before I’ve collected my luggage. I will definitely cruise again but NOT with MSC. First thing to say was that the weather could not have been much worse for the first 4 days of this cruise. It was so bad that we could not port for the first stop and so had Monday to Thursday at sea. It was extremely windy and boy did the ship roll! Glasses were falling, chairs rolling across the deck, stuff falling off shelves and people learning how to walk in a zig zag pattern. The outside doors were kept shut. This was actually quite worrying at times and there was no reassurance from the staff at any time. The only announcement made was to tell us we were not going to La Coruna. The staff were not very helpful either, choosing to ignore trays of tumblers falling and let passengers clear them up. The weather was not MSC’s fault, obviously, but some reassurance from the bridge that the ship was well equipped to cope wouldn’t have gone amiss. Staff were in general fairly non engaging. Didn’t meet the cabin steward and no card in our cabin with their details. Usually had to go looking for bar staff for a drink around the pool area (inside) and always waited ages to get served in bars. This was something I also experienced on Magnifica last year. Buffet staff generally looked bored or tired and restaurant waiter was inconsistent, sometimes rushing and at other times really slow and generally didn’t speak much other than to take our food orders, We always had to ask to have a drink order taken. No one really seemed to make an effort. Even when we went to have a look at the thermal spa area we’re were only allowed to look at the door from a distance, not allowed to look in to see if it was somewhere we might want to pay to use, needless to say we didn’t! Onto the rest of the cruise- THE CABIN - inside 10290. Small sized cabin, very comfy bed, nice layout BUT.....VERY small wardrobe space. Two doors about 50cm wide each, one side full length other side half length with 2 small (undies only sized) drawers and a high shelf across both sides. That was it for storage! Was just enough for 2 of us for 5 days but hopeless for much longer. No other storage in the room apart from a tiny drawer with the hairdryer and a small bedside shelf big enough for the pj’s. Fortunately room under bed for suitcases and we kept all swimwear and other not used much clothing in them. Only space for my shoes in the wardrobe, hubbies had to line up on the floor. There was also the smallest safe I’ve seen in a room yet. Big enough for phones, wallets and passports but couldn’t get in Ipad, jewellery box etc that I would have normally had locked away. Shower room was very nice, large shower with glass door. No better storage here tho. Small shelf unit for makeup bag etc but only tiny cupboard under the sink so one toilet bag always on the floor. Goodness knows what it would be like for 2 people both with makeup and the accompanying toiletry products! Good magnifying mirror on the wall. THE FOOD - main restaurant (we had 6pm sitting in Lighthouse). When busy it will be impossible to get to the tables right at the back. Seemed really tight with no room between the tables. Had a table for 4, would normally ask for one for 2 but we were very lucky and had 2 lovely table companions. Menu was fairly limited, not to our taste as we’re not fish lovers, and didn’t really have a ‘safe’ option for each course. Hubby skipped the starter as nothing appealed which is fine, his choice, but the staff didn’t seem to understand this and despite requesting that he just wait till the rest of us were finished our starters he was served his main course at the same time as our starters and then sat with nothing while we had our main, happened 3 times and we saw it happen at other tables too. Market place buffet - Fine for breakfast (don’t expect Kellogg’s cereals tho’) and lunch. Full buffet area used and good choice available. Opens late afternoon for snacks and late night for pizza and sandwiches. Dinner was a real disappointment tho. We usually eat at the buffet for dinner at least a couple of nights on a cruise but this was a real let down. It’s on the door plan as ‘alternative dinner’ and I think they may mean ‘last resort’. Only about 1/4 of the area is open and the choice is very limited. Would normally expect to be able to try a variety of different things but ended up with grilled chicken carrots and chips. Was very nice, can’t fault the quality, but boring! Didn’t try speciality restaurants or outdoor eating on this cruise. ENTERTAINMENT - was what I now assume is typical MSC entertainment and certainly one of the reasons we will NOT be taking another MSC cruise. The Huge build up in advertising pre cruise for the 2 Cirque Du Soleil shows was one of the main reasons for booking this cruise. Had not been able to pre-book those shows on the cruise planner before we left home but wasn’t too worried, we checked the onboard booking system once on the ship and couldn’t get booked there either. Went straight to the booking desk for the show onboard only to find that there were no shows to book, they had been cancelled!! They were only doing one of the shows on the last night of our cruise and they were apparently fully booked so we were put on a reserve list. We later found out from our dinner table companions that an email had been sent out about 4-6 weeks before (before we booked) informing them that the shows had been cancelled however MSC continued to sell the cruise after that still advertising the shows! We did however get to see one Cirque show on the last night, by luck I think due to being the second name on the waitlist. It was an excellent show (only 30 mins tho’ and costs at least €15 each). Music played periodically in the atrium area - violin, cello type - fairly subdued never seemed to change and nothing else really happened in this are apart from the captains photos one night. Upbeat Duo sang in the tv studio most nights and were okay but didn’t really get everyone up dancing. They stopped for the karaoke about 10:30 every night. Duo in the pub sang middle of the road stuff, for what seemed like most of the time in fact still sang while football was being shown on the tv. Bellissima lounge was where ALL the entertainment staff were. Main function of this area seemed to be dance lessons, through he day and also slotted into the evening. If you weren’t interested in learning how to samba, rumba or salsa then there was not much else. 2 video trivia’s in 5 days (we like quizzes) and it’s hard going in 6 languages and several ‘games’ which mostly involved joining a huge queue up the promenade to throw corks or balls at a target. For this to be the main entertainment hub of he ship it needed to be much,much...much bigger with many more seats. Music always the same and not the party type for just getting up for a dance. White party did spill out onto the promenade one night and was a good atmosphere but again not really the usual party songs, duo from the tv studio sang and were very good but during their rest we had more let’s learn dancing in ‘5 very very eeeasy steps’. PINK show one night in the theatre was good but only 35 mins. Singer next night and mime artist on fourth were fair but only 35 mins. A magician did one morning show on the second day and he was okay but the theatre production was shocking, not sure if that’s why he didn’t appear again. Theatre doesn’t seem to get used during the day, don’t know why, and the Bellissima band, singers and dancers have an easy ride, looks like they only do one night a week!! Production team are in need of a fair bit of practice! Also, 5 day cruise and we still don’t know who the cruise director is! I think he must have been the guy who stood up and introduced the theatre acts - in 6 languages, but he never told us who he was. Generally we just felt there was not much to do on this cruise, we usually find ourselves planning sea days and evenings around all the different shows and planned entertainment on board and this just isn’t what happens on MSC. There just isn’t enough going on and certainly not enough variety. I think one reason is that everything has to be done in 6 languages and that just kills the atmosphere. All in all a nice ship but not nearly enough attention to entertainment or cruise experience. Too much emphasis on having to pay extra for so many things, even the poolside ice cream. MSC are not for us. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
Pros ... lovely modern cabin lots of space nice size and balcony , Lovely ship and nice staff,Cons .. way too crowded marketplace buffet is hell on Earth it’s like a stampede no spare tables and people pushing into you and elbowing you , ... Read More
Pros ... lovely modern cabin lots of space nice size and balcony , Lovely ship and nice staff,Cons .. way too crowded marketplace buffet is hell on Earth it’s like a stampede no spare tables and people pushing into you and elbowing you , hard to get a drink , food not nice at all not enough choice..all in all an awful experience , food poor in restaurants also, we were glad to get off the ship to have a nice meal that we actually enjoyed , anything that’s any good you have to pay for cirque do soleil 15 euro each and you get an awful drink that’s supposed to be a cocktail, although the show is good, speciality restaurants very expensive but nice food the standard the food on the rest of the ship should be , bowling arcades and cinema not free total rip off 50 euros to use all 3, theatre shows average at best , drinks package needed to be upgraded as soon as we boarded as it soon became clear we could only drink Heineken and 1 wine and spirit , pools far too crowded and people reserving their beds with towels and not turning up for hours this should not be allowed , the ship is lovely but the crowdedness and standard of food really let our overall experience down, msc trips not worth the money a nice relaxing boat trip to Portofino was 500 people being crammed onto a dingy ferry and loudspeaker blasting out about 7 different languages all the way there’s and back really not a nice experience at all , if you are have kids and are a willing to spend a lot of money for extras and eat pizza and burgers for a week then this is the ship for you ! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
PROS: 1) Everything you had to pay for, Champagne Bar, Butcher’s Cut, Sushi resto, French Bistrot, 10/10, excellent food! Excellent service! 2) Brand New ship, quite modern. 3) Excellent itinerary, Malta, Messina, Marseille, you ... Read More
PROS: 1) Everything you had to pay for, Champagne Bar, Butcher’s Cut, Sushi resto, French Bistrot, 10/10, excellent food! Excellent service! 2) Brand New ship, quite modern. 3) Excellent itinerary, Malta, Messina, Marseille, you don’t stop there quite often. 4) Crowd of all ages, very sophisticated people to be around and make acquittances. 5) Easy registration at Marseille terminal. 6) Cirque du Soleil with the dinner, excellent! Magnifique! CONS: 1) Food very average, think Carnival. 2) Not very personalized approach, never heard the captain, never saw him, no chocolate on your pillow, even your excursion tickets weren’t delivered to the room. 3) Very crowded, and full of kids, a lot more than anticipated. No reserved adult pool, or reserved exterior smoking area. Very crowded buffet. 4) Cabin Stewart, very nice, but working alone. No ice in ice bucket, mini bar not automatically refilled, unless you requested it. No bathrobe. 5) NOISY, Many kids, many door slamming, no butlers around, no discipline. 6) Overall expansive. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
MSC is not a customer centric company and this is evident already from the stage of reservation when a complaint that we filled was never addressed and it relates to one of their customer service employees having hang up on our call ... Read More
MSC is not a customer centric company and this is evident already from the stage of reservation when a complaint that we filled was never addressed and it relates to one of their customer service employees having hang up on our call impolitely with the excuse that our french accent was not good and he could not understand us but at the same time he did not speak English to serve us. On board such lack on customer satisfaction continued and we had the feeling that we were constantly being ripped off even for basic stuff, like having tissues in the cabine. What was very annoying during the whole cruise was that we were not valued as a customer and what was offered on the price you paid is just the minimum (like your right to be on the boat) and then you need to top it up significantly to get what you normally get with the cruise fare in other cruise companies. A testament to what we have experienced is the fact that we were not provided with a customer satisfaction survey during the cruise or even at the end. Service quality is not measured hence it is very low compared to other cruise companies where the client is at the center of their service. The embarkation and disembarkation was smooth for us but in every port there people getting on and off the cruise which gave the impression of a hop on hop off type of cruise than anything else, as a result there was no real chance to get any bonding with your fellow travelers or even with staff as they treated you as walk in passager rather than a passenger that will spend a week on board. At the embarkation we were not taken to our cabine and not even shown wheyre the lifts were located to go to our cabine (a ship of 20 floors with 5500 passenger can be a little intimidating when you first set foot on so a little guidance would be much appreciated). Entertainment (shows) in the night was average but the timing was not well planned as the different time shows were conflicting with dinner options and we needed to rush to be on time and get a place. There was no library to get a newspaper or a book. Excursions were expensive for what they offered and on the first day we were 10min in advance to our meeting time, checked in for the excursion and informed the guide that we are passing to the toilet. Surprisingly the guide left us all alone at the meeting point on board because his procedure said that he had to go and he did not wait for us (it was still 5min before the meeting time, they were people who missed the excursion!). His behavior and attitude was unacceptable and rude to some extent but remember as above nobody is measured for their behavior and service. Last but not least we had to ask for everything as information provided was not sufficient and that was exhausting. Activities on board were limited and only around shopping and photos, which all resulted in passengers spending more money. Please note that free water was only available through water fountains (bottle water cost 3.5 euros 500ml) and free juice only available during breakfast. Unlimited pizza and pasta and fruits almost 24/24. Drinks packages were extra and cost from 20euros per person per day (for non alcoholic, eg water, juice, coffee) and from 30euros per day per person for beers and wine. That was the definition of rip off. Kids were happy as they spent most of their day at the kids club but excursions on shore were not adapted to kids. 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: 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
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 3.6
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.5
Family 5.0 3.5
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.3
Enrichment 3.0 2.6
Service 4.5 3.5
Value For Money 4.0 3.3

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