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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
On the boat they are constantly trying to sell you addition services. For example, when we were dining someone came up to use trying to sell a steak plate for an additional 25 euro. This was insulting as we were dining in the restaurant. ... Read More
On the boat they are constantly trying to sell you addition services. For example, when we were dining someone came up to use trying to sell a steak plate for an additional 25 euro. This was insulting as we were dining in the restaurant. On check-out we had to contribute 70 Euro per person as a service charge (for what we do not know) and they automatically put in our contribution to Unicef. I do not need a third party to force me to contribute to charity. The staff were friendly but at one point they said we had ordered too many drinks on our package. We had the unlimited drinks package and this is what you get. This company is very tricky and once on the boat expect to be a victim to their attempts to extract money from you. For example, the photographer will come up to your group take photos and later you may purchase these for 35 Euro each. We were so tired of being asked all the time. We will not travel with MSC ever again Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
We live mainland Spain and wanted to escape our town's 10 days fiesta, so booked from Palma where we flew to, had 4 days there first. Left hotel 1pm on Monday 29 July, and were onboard by 2.30pm, great. Suitcases arrived soon ... Read More
We live mainland Spain and wanted to escape our town's 10 days fiesta, so booked from Palma where we flew to, had 4 days there first. Left hotel 1pm on Monday 29 July, and were onboard by 2.30pm, great. Suitcases arrived soon afterwards. Took ages to find cabin though. Unpacked, spent the afternoon exploring and missed dinner so we ate in the buffet. It was OK, heaving, and found a nice chicken curry. Went there for breakfast every day but wouldn't eat main meals there. We were booked into the C.D'Oro, and shared with 2 very nice couples, one couple were Gold card members. The other couple had only cruised once before, so nice not to have to talk about cruising all the time. The food was superb, and all cooked to perfection, and our drinks package included a nice bottle (not glass!!) of wine every night, and water. Pool a bit small and because of the time we travelled, full of children but heyho. We always got a sunbed, lazed about, enjoyed the ship, and took no excursions at all. It was too hot to trawl around dusty cities plus we had visited some on previous land-holidays. The full day at sea was manic and the pool entertainment really juvenile - but at least the shops were open. They are not allowed to open in ports. However, said shops were very disappointing. Mainly over-priced but out of date designer gear. Nowhere to buy say, a tube of toothpaste if you forgot to pack it!! so much for shops where you could get all your holiday essentials. also the shops at sea when open had constant sales, outside, on tables, making everything very cheap and nasty. If you smoke and run out of fags, you can only buy them, one pack per card, behind a bar and ONLY when at sea. The spa, well, my fault. I booked a Bali massage, it was an offer haha, same offered every day, but was lied to as the very miserable chap said the offer was just for the day I'd booked it. Anyway, it was nice, so agreed to pay another 15€ for a facial. Then I was "sold" a jar of face cream (sucker me). 90€ and back in the cabin I opened the 6 inch square box to find a 3 inch square jar of cream, inside which was a hole for about 2 teaspoons!! My fault....haven't used it yet, probably come out in a rash!! The 2 men at the spa reception were without doubt, the most miserable condescending people I have ever encountered. Need sacking. We didn't bother going to a show, went to the Casino one night for fun, but got into a nice routine of pre and after dinner drinks in the Cigar Lounge (as we smoke)...then up to the buffett to fill up the flask I had taken, with boiling hot water. This stayed hot enough to make a cuppa every morning. I also managed to get a half litre of milk on board bought in Palma...and, my travel hairdryer. Huge relief!! We normally like a good quality hotel, with pool maybe beach, as our idea is to relax on holiday, and do cities as short breaks. Well we did manage to do that every day mostly, and loved sitting on our balcony while we were at sea. The boat was SO smooth, and always on-time. I would have liked to get off at Marseilles but that was the hottest day, so glad we didn't. The Gold card members had done every excursion, but always on their own, which they recommended rather than pay the high prices and be herded around like cattle. Or miss the boat as someone did in Livorno!! Since we booked the trip, which was a long time ago, we did read a lot of reviews. Every one to their own but some are quite misleading, and some quite wrong! Think it's best next time we do a cruise, not to read anything, and just make the most of it. We wouldn't do it again in the high season though. We knew there would be a lot of children, but there were also a lot of groups of student ages teenagers, mostly Italians. We did like that though....not too many Brits....made it all a bit more continental. All in all, a very enjoyable holiday, as I said we will cruise again, liked MSC, thought the organisation was great considering we booked independently and through the Spanish site. Oh....one thing, had several photos taken but could only find one taken on the Gala night whilst in the photo shop. Talk about photo-shopped, cost 40€ for one large and one small copy! Wifi worked not too bad on laptop but the smartphone wasn't brilliant considering we paid for the wifi package. Apart from that and the drinks package (well worth it) we also paid up front for service, so no need to tip anyone. Customer service desk always busy bout plenty of staff, we used to get our account updated and everything was always correct. We also found that the whole ship had more than enough staff, always helpful, except those 2 in the Aurora spa!! On our first night we had to go to the theatre for the drill with our lifejackets. Took about half an hour, glad we didn't need them as I couldn't get mine on! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
We booked this as a last minute decision and before reading reviews on here, we may not have booked had we read reviews first but we found that MSC were excellent to deal with and had a wonderful time. Embarkation- is very efficient and ... Read More
We booked this as a last minute decision and before reading reviews on here, we may not have booked had we read reviews first but we found that MSC were excellent to deal with and had a wonderful time. Embarkation- is very efficient and as they have no set start port for the Cruise there are people embarking at every port of the Cruise meaning there is far fewer at each port in the queue. Crew/Staff- were top notch, despite the fact that there were very few English speaking passengers on board we never met a crew member that could not speak English, they were super helpful and always courteous. Facilities- there were so many things to do onboard for both adults and kids that there was never a danger of boredom, everything from multiple pools and jacuzzis to a State of the Art gym, video games, football pitch, table tennis, and a squash court. There is also a Hair salon, Spa and other pampering available at an extra cost. There is a Casino, a Sports Bar along with plenty of Cafes, Bars, Restaurants and Ice Cream Counters. Excursions- are available at an extra cost, these can be quite expensive especially if you are booking for four but having done both official and self-organised excursions there is not a huge cost saving in the difference but the self-organised tours allows for flexibility such as choosing the time slot for climbing the Tower of Pisa. NB* please note that tickets to go up the Leaning Tower of Pisa are NOT included in that tour and you NEED to book in advance to ensure you get to go up as it is super busy and limited in numbers allowed. Dining- This was one worry we had but we could not have been more impressed, there was a different and varied dinner menu each night in the Red Velvet Restaurant, you could also go there for breakfast and lunch or you could go to the Zanzibar Buffet on deck 14 which opened 18-20 hours per day. The buffet however didn't have food between 17.00 & 18.30 due to the crew partaking in the daily Emergency Evacuation Exercise for new passengers which we found was a strange time to close the food part? The food was always top quality in the A La Carte Red Velvet and while there was a huge choice in the Zanzibar some of the food was tepid if it had been out for more than a couple of minutes. Passengers- Mainly Italian, French, Spanish & German but with a good sprinkling of other nationalities. One drawback that I must mention as it can colour the judgement / enjoyment of some people is that we found that passengers of certain nationalities appear incredibly rude in terms of an inability to queue in an orderly fashion, an unwillingness to give way while passing in tight spaces and even common courtesy of thanking you for holding a door open for them. I had to ask passengers at one of the shows to be quiet as they insisted on talking their way through the show so loudly that everyone within 30m could hear their conversation and none of the show. The ship despite being 11 years old was in great condition and huge efforts were made to keep it looking well so overall we could not fault MSC in any way, indeed we were so impressed we have booked with MSC on their new ship the MSC Grandiosa for next year. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
This was my 20th cruise across many lines and my wife's 12th. With us was our 9-year-old daughter on her 3rd cruise. We booked in a balcony (non-Yacht Club) and had a rate I would call exceptional (helped out by the fact that our ... Read More
This was my 20th cruise across many lines and my wife's 12th. With us was our 9-year-old daughter on her 3rd cruise. We booked in a balcony (non-Yacht Club) and had a rate I would call exceptional (helped out by the fact that our daughter sailed for free). Overall Review: Our cruise on MSC Fantasia was a great vacation but mainly due to the itinerary. The ship is fine, seemingly heavy on bars and lounges with (as expected) a heavily-European crowd, mainly French and Italian with some from the UK and a limited few from the US. The cabin was in great condition and looked identical to those we've had on Celebrity and other lines (minus the TV which as other reviewers have noted was comically small but we only turned it on once). Should be noted that Fantasia is due to have a refit sometime in 2019-20. The crew as good overall... top-tier managers and supervisors really get customer service and there are some at the rank-and-file level that do as well but generally service is average at best and can have issues. Our dining room service experience, though, was exceptional and one of the absolute best we've had on any line in a main dining room. Food, as noted in other reviews, was average at best and could be below average in areas. Pastas and pizzas were good as expected but cost-control methods elsewhere take their toll on the overall quality. The upside was really the itinerary which was amazing but the downside was the constant feeling of being upsold, even more so than on other lines. From the drink package being pushed at the beginning to the specialty dining to - and this was a surprise to me - a €24 upgrade to add a lobster tail to your entree on Gala Night. The increases, in my mind, were extreme on some notes (such as the lobster or a €68 per person Chef's-Table tasting menu in the specialty) but some things were surprisingly low. While a can of soda (Pepsi by the way) was €3.50, a glass of wine was only €5 and bottles of wine were from €25 to €50 with a strong list of decent Italian wines. In short it was a great value and itinerary. We would consider sailing MSC again on an itinerary that gave us in-port dining options but would avoid the line for itineraries like the Caribbean where in-port dining is more difficult and/or expensive. Dining: Putting this first because, frankly, this is the one with the most ups and downs and as a self-confessed "foodie" it's an important part of my vacation experience. Food in the dining room for dinner was good to very good - the pastas were the natural highlight for an italian cruise line. Cooked to perfection with delicious sauces... if you see a pasta dish you might like, order. Portions could be small (one dish had three medium-sized ravioli) but waiters understand and are ready with backups. Meat dishes are hit-and-miss... all are sliced, mostly very thinly, with good to very good sauces. Give up the concept of ordering your steak to temp (unless you opt for the €24 T-bone upsell) - you're getting a slice. If you skip the sauce be prepared for dry meat... not the best. Seafood is good but they're obviously cost-conscious with their portion sizes - a seafood risotto featured one langostine, two shrimp and about 5 small bay scallops. Desserts were OK - but there are always free pastries next to the gelato bar (delicious and priced the same you'll see in port). In an odd twist though – there was a stunning lack of chicken dishes on any menu. Not a downside, just an interesting note. Now... beyond the dining room.... essentially, you're going to have the buffet. This is an insane zoo of a place with a feel that’s straight out of Lord of the Flies. The crowds are everywhere even at non-peak times and the flow is poorly laid out. Essentially there are 6-7 areas (pizza, hot items, bakery, salad, desserts, vegetarian/healthy) that are repeated throughout the expanse of the space. The food there is average to below-average with the exception of the pizza which is quite good (skip the charcoal though - bad attempt IMO). Breakfast is repeated daily so if you don't like it on day one you're gonna be in for a long week. Juice is offered at breakfast… should be “juice” as the orange juice tasted suspiciously like Tang. But the big fun was to happen on the at-sea day – which was chaos from about 7am until 3pm. The food was average as noted but what was insane was the pushing, shoving, shouting and lack of order of the other guests. All three of us – including my daughter – were shoved or pushed or had people cut in front of us in buffet lines as we waited patiently for our turn in a station. There was neither a right-to-left nor a left-to-right flow of the pax in each section but rather an olly-olly-oxenfree cacophonous scrum. Beverages at lunch were limited to water or the bar – unless there was some leftover “juice” from breakfast. However, service in the buffet though is good - lots of waiters around ready to take your money for a beverage. We attempted lunch in the dining room on the at-sea day (our 2nd day) but based on the choices and quality we opted to eat in port on the rest of the days and that - not shockingly - turned out to be the absolute highlight of the food on our trip. We did not attempt dinner in the buffet but a walk thru there showed some of the entrees in the dining room available with some other regular choices - and the aforementioned pizza available from 11am until Midnight so if you're in a pinch grab a slice. Lastly, one of our group needs a gluten-free diet. We had selected MSC in part knowing that they dedicated themselves to a quality GF diet and options. While generally true in the dining room there were elements that were phoned in… for example the same exact “dessert of the day” was served three days in a row. It was a simple sponge cake with chocolate cream (days 2-4 after the first day being the same cake with a strawberry cream) which was fine but by the third day it was redundant. It wouldn’t have been hard for the staff to swap chocolate for other flavors daily at a minimum. GF options were present but limited in the buffet and we didn’t note any GF pizza options. GF bread was always available in the dining room and some wasn’t bad. Cabin: Shortest section... it's a fine cabin. We had a balcony on deck 11 and found it to be just like any other standard balcony. No complaints on the cabin. However, our service in the cabin was a low point. Staff on the cruise, much like many of the guests, rotate on and off at each port meaning sometimes your waiter or room steward will leave mid-cruise which happened to us. Our attendant got off mid-cruise and was replaced with someone who actually smiled and was accessible. However before that we had a request for an extra blanket for the pull-out bed my daughter was in... which took four calls and over an hour to happen when we were initially promised 15 minutes. In typical fashion on the 4th call we were told a supervisor was notified and we had the blanket within 2 minutes (see below). Embarkation/Disembarkation: Really one of the hidden highlights of the cruise. Since the ship has a rolling embarkation/disembarkation as it sails there wasn’t a huge crush. We arrived in the terminal in Mallorca about 11:30am and were on the ship by about 12:30pm. One nice touch – you just turn in your paperwork and have your ID checked and then walk on the ship. Keys are waiting in your room and you simply visit a self-service kiosk to activate payment on your cruise card. Very efficient. One note – when you get to the terminal make SURE to get a check-in number. Find an MSC rep and get one – some people snuck past only to get to the embarkation area and find themselves without a number and pushed to the back of the queue. Disembarkation was by deck and was equally fast…. At least we think it was. We had an issue with formal photos not being ready (see below) that held us up. But we walked off the ship, found our luggage in the terminal and went on our way in about 5 mins from the time the photos were sorted. Ports/Itinerary: This is why we loved the cruise. The itinerary was amazing. We left from Mallorca then to Ibiza, at sea, Naples, Livorno, Genoa and finally to Marseille. We flew into Mallorca the night before and overnighted there before checking into the ship on Monday. After Embarkation we decided to go into town. In a silly move we opted for the MSC shuttle to the town – WOW, what a ripoff. We paid nearly €50 for the three of us to ride in and out – that’s more than a round-trip to the AIRPORT would have been in a taxi. Lesson learned. Palma was amazing, great to walk thru the city and shops and stopped at a little café for some great tapas. The next day was Ibiza… we planned on doing very little and decided to go into town. This time we skipped the shuttle and instead of spending €48 for the three of us we spent €12 on a local bus that was a 2-minute walk past the MSC shuttle. This was a pattern we saw in every port – a VERY expensive MSC option that should be avoided at all cost. We expected very little and had a great visit to the cathedral/fort on the top of the hill and lunched at a café in the old section of town. If you have kids there’s a nice little playground right along the main street by the bus drop off – great to let them burn off some energy! Then we had our at-sea day. This is where the other passengers really “shined.” The day started in the gym which opens at 6am. There’s a limited number of cardio (6 treadmills, 4 bikes, 2 elliptical and 2 arm bikes) and a decent set of weight machines and dumbbells. I never saw a wait for devices but each has a computer-enforced 20 minute time limit. Once that was over at 6:45 the crew was setting out chairs for the day and just about as fast as they were being sat down people were reserving with towels. We were ready for this but it was a near feeding frenzy. It should note that the starboard side of the pool deck is smoker-friendly so if you’re bothered by smoke it can be troublesome. The bigger problem on the deck was the music. Starting about 7:30 with “stretching” and then going well into the morning the crew was BLASTING music at concert-level volumes. If you’re looking for a quiet day poolside look elsewhere. We actually moved from the outdoor pool to the quieter indoor pool to avoid the deafening roar. Formal night was this night and there was a wide variety of attire. A few men were in black tie and some women were in gowns but they were the exception. I wore a black suit and tie, my wife was in a lovely dress and our daughter had a very cute semi-formal gown and we were at- or slightly over-dressed. Despite the “no shorts” rule in the dining room we even saw people in shorts in the dining room on formal night. Most guests were wearing jackets or dresses but there outliers on all ends of the spectrum. Photographers were set up around the ship and were very available. The photos they took were good to very good and prices were reasonable for cruise photos – they have a €30 option to add on to any package that gives you digital copies of any photos you buy which is a nice option. In Naples we had opted for a Family tour of Pompeii. When we got back from the pool on the at-sea day a note in our room informed us that our tour had been cancelled. A visit to the shore excursion desk later it was determined that there weren’t enough people who were interested in that tour so it was cancelled. We were “offered” to join the more expensive standard Pompeii tour without any discount or apology. So we took the larger tour. Note on tours on MSC – they are LARGE. Typically 45-60 people per group with a single leader. Guests are given headsets so they can hear the guides (par for the course really) and the guides are informative. However. We quickly learned the difference in the “regular” and “family” tour when 1/3 of the 2 hour tour in Pompeii focused on the brothels and prostitution in the city. Fun explaining that one to a 9-year-old. More on that later. After the Pompeii visit we had time to wander into Naples and visit the oldest pizza restaurant – dating back to 1738 – for a delicious lunch, opting to skip past the more tourist-oriented places in the city square. We did wander past the beautiful castle in the city center through the square for an amazing Italian coffee and gelato before returning to the ship. Next was Livorno and we had opted for a Florence & Pisa combination tour. Again, 50 of us were loaded on a coach and herded into Florence. Given that both the tower and the museums in Florence have timed tickets and the tour couldn’t tell us if we were going to Pisa and then Florence or the reverse we were unable to visit the museums or walk up in the tower on this tour. Not the end of the world but if I had known that right in the cruise terminal there were several car rental companies I would have rented a car and done a self-tour. The tour was informative but S L O W. Once we did get to Florence it took 5 minutes to get the group to cross the street given the number of people, their lack of speed and the shortness of traffic lights. Sensing this we left the group opting to meet back at the meeting spot later in the day… which was a wonderful choice. Our daughter wanted to see some specific sites (she’s a science fan so seeing Galileo’s grave and other sites were a must) including the Duomo exterior and the copy of David in the city square. After Florence it was back into the bus for the ride to Pisa – after we lost 30 mins waiting on several couples to get to the bus. Our guide simply extended the overall time of the tour which gave us more time in Pisa but necessitated us going from the bus directly to dinner. After Livorno it was on to Genoa. We opted to take the train to Portofino on our own which was wonderful. A quick walk to the train station about 5 mins from the ship and we hopped a train to Santa Margharita where you take a bus to Portofino. The train was about €12 per person round trip and the bus was another €4 per person each way. Portofino was insanely crowded and expensive but having checked that off our bucket list we came back to Santa Margharita and had a fantastic seaside lunch before taking the train back. One note – if you do take the train you MUST validate your ticket on wall-mounted time punch machines BEFORE boarding the train. They are not well marked and you need to seek them out or face a €50 per ticket fine on board. The last stop was Marseilles. Another booked tour, another cancelled tour, this time the Avignon/Aix-en-Provence duo tour. This was cancelled for a lack of English-language participation. So, again, we went on our own to Avignon which was WELL worth the visit. The tour at the Palais du Papes was the best self-guided tour we’ve ever done anywhere with an amazing virtual-reality-type tablet experience that gave the history and perspective of the amazing palace. The second formal night was on the Marseille night – slightly inconvenient as we were disembarking in Mallorca the next morning but still nice. Service: As noted we had an issue with the shore excursions with two cancelled and the non-family tour of Pompeii not preparing us nor noting the content. I discussed this with the Shore Excursions staff and was initially told that nothing could be done. When I escalated this to a manager my issue was quickly and efficiently handled and a reasonable credit was posted to our account. This was a trend we saw throughout the ship. One night at dinner we were approached by a photographer who instructed us to cluster for a photo – which we politely declined saying “No thank you” to which he audibly scoffed and uttered a curse word under his breath as he turned and left. When I raised this to the photo manager as a point of information he was appalled and pledged to make sure the employee was instructed differently. Lastly, we had photos made on the 2nd formal night and ended up picking a package of photos from both nights. Since we were early seating they had proofs done by 10pm and promised to have final prints ready in the morning at reception. In the morning we found that one of the three pictures we needed to get was of us but the other two most clearly were not of our family. When I raised this with the agent at the reception desk it was met with a “I’m sorry” and nothing much else. However, when I raised this to a manager she worked diligently to find someone from the photo team to finally answer the phone (took 30 minutes just to find someone with the keys) who then re-printed the photos including a couple of “extras” slipped in for goodwill. It seems clear that MSC is working hard to establish a culture of service at the top levels and has trained senior staff to embody this culture. However, it’s not made it all the way down to the full crew. Some are amazing (like our dining room staff) while others are uncaring. As a passenger know that when you escalate politely and professionally things will be handled quickly and effectively. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Firs the positive, the embarkation was smooth. But the company lacks in communications with the guests. It has no processes to keep the guests engaged after they book the cruise. They live in an old world where communications with your ... Read More
Firs the positive, the embarkation was smooth. But the company lacks in communications with the guests. It has no processes to keep the guests engaged after they book the cruise. They live in an old world where communications with your customers was nil. But the most important point is they bring in your luggage in batches. So you will get some pieces first and for the rest you will have to wait till the ship sets sailing. My bag which contained toiletries and shoes etc did not arrive even after we checked in at 12.30 am, the earliest time one could check in. I complained, but the cruise officials were not helpful. They said it would take time and they cant help. Second, if you have purchased internet, good luck to you. The speed sucks. They cant do anything about the speed. Third, there is iron for basic pressing in the room. If your clothes have wrinkles, there is nothing you can do but give them to the laundry for ironing. It will cost your a princely 4.90 euros for a dress. Overall, not so good experience on day one. I will do a full review after the cruise. This is just the initial impressions. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
MSC Fantasia Review Intro I have read quite a few reviews of this ship (few of them positive) and thought I would add my own. We are a large family group and between us have probably cruised nearly 100 times on many different lines, ... Read More
MSC Fantasia Review Intro I have read quite a few reviews of this ship (few of them positive) and thought I would add my own. We are a large family group and between us have probably cruised nearly 100 times on many different lines, so I'd say we have a broad range of cruising experience. We chose this cheap and cheerful cruise for our annual family holiday because, well, it was cheap. We travelled by train from London and sailed from Marseille, via Palma de Mallorca, Ibiza, Naples, Livorno and Genoa. We were concerned, to say the least, after reading so many poor reviews but overall, the experience was acceptable. Embarkation was surprisingly all right. I think it is because for this particular cruise, people are boarding and leaving from every port so you don't experience the usual huge lines and long waits for your baggage. A couple of things to note, however, is that firstly you need to validate your cruise card and link it with your credit card *on the ship* rather than at embarkation, and at checkout you need to physically go to reception to receive any refund due on your credit card. This isn't something we knew about before boarding and not something that was made clear to us on board. In fact a lot of the things we knew about the ship were down to reading Cruise Critic boards, and because a few of us had sailed with MSC before. Generally, information is not particularly forthcoming. You are either expected to know, or find out for yourself. In addition, the answers you get from the crew depend entirely on who you ask. At times it felt like a crew training cruise, when just about every query was received with puzzlement and a long discussion with someone else. A major point which I think others have also made is regarding smoking. If you cannot tolerate smoking, do not cruise with MSC. Smoking is officially banned on balconies and only permitted outdoors on Deck 7, one side of the pool deck and in the cigar bar and casino. However, despite numerous complaints, nothing was done to stop our cabin neighbours puffing away on their balcony, constantly, and indeed taunting us about it. There are plenty of hidden corners where people can and do smoke, and little is done too prevent it. Tacitly, it seems that this is a smokers' cruise line in spite of the obvious fire risk this poses. The Atlantico bar is directly above the casino and connected with a grand staircase, so that too is quite a smoky area. Another point of concern was the random way in which rules were applied. I left the ship every day with my daughter and niece (who was travelling with her parents) – some of us went for a run, and we walked to meet up with them in each port - with no problems except on the last day when I was informed that I could not take her off the ship as we had different cabin numbers. This sort of thing should not come as a surprise! We had no idea this was a rule of the ship and it was embarrassing, to say the least. Ship environment and layout Perhaps uniquely among ships I've travelled in, the Fantasia has almost no internal clues as to where you happen to be. For example, on NCL, the design of the carpets and art in the stairwells indicates whether you're fore, aft or midships, and little fish point to the front of the ship. There are no such design elements on Fantasia – there are few maps on the wall and paper maps of the ship are only available at reception. This led to a great deal of getting lost. This is a ship of dead ends and going round in circles. I would advise anyone travelling to get a deck plan in advance and study it carefully. This is an older ship and there were stained carpets and leaky air conditioning, flickering lights and broken toilets. Most of the water park was closed for refurbishment. Overall it was clean but it has seen better days. The room stewards were highly overworked – they never get a period of time when there are no passengers on board on a schedule like this one and the ship is permanently full. Our cabin was cleaned daily but sometimes it wasn't turned down until quite late in the evening. Facilities/entertainment We used the Kids' Club – this was fine but if there aren't many kids there, the staff put on a movie and this may be in a different language to the one your kids happen to speak. This may not bother your kids – it didn't bother mine, but it bothered her cousin. Registration, drop off and collection all happen in the same queue, rather than having registration take place at a set time every day. This led to very long lines at busy times. Children get either a red or green wristband. Red means they are not allowed to roam the ship alone, green means they can check themselves out of the kids' club whenever they like. If your child is sensible and can navigate the highly confusing ship, that is.. The pools are fine – they do the job! There is a large indoor pool, an outdoor pool complex, a water slide (with random opening hours), a pool and hot tubs at the back, and a water park which was under refurbishment and therefore closed. The theatre shows were pretty good, if at times incomprehensible. At the poolside, there are often dance classes and other fun activities. There's a tiny library and cyber café, hidden by the reception area. The bars are OK, with little to distinguish one from another. There's a constant pressure to buy drinks packages but these can only be applied to everyone in the cabin – there's no way that between the three of us we could get through €90 worth of drinks a day for the most basic package. Our travel agent negotiated a deal where we could have sparkling water at the buffet or dining room, which was all we really wanted anyway. The photo gallery was incredibly crowded and finding your photos was haphazard – people seemed to be moving photos around. However, the photographers were really good and we actually bought quite a few, which we don't usually. We had a small balcony cabin which was fine, it had enough room for us and our stuff. It got quite noisy at night with stuff going on in the corridors and neighbouring cabins but nothing too bad (apart from a big fight next door one night for which we had to call security…). Staff The staff are nice, they all speak basic English and do their jobs well, but I refer to my earlier remark about how it seemed that this was a training cruise. Food We ate in the dining room and the buffet. We did not try any of the speciality restaurants so I can't say anything about those. The food was a bit hit and miss – nothing horrible, but few things were amazing. The prime rib was great. I really missed the sort of hot puddings you get on NCL or Princess. The dessert section of the buffet was mostly little cakes and jellies, but there was plenty of fruit available. The buffet had a good selection most of the time, the pizzas were excellent. There's little enforcement of the hand gel and often the dispensers were broken, which probably explains why most of us now have colds. In the dining room the portions were very small – my nine year old had room for two main courses from the adult menu one night. Ports of call We did like all the ports we visited. Most of the time we walked off the ship and did not use the shuttle buses. It's worth noting that in Livorno, there is a €5 bus that takes you to the centre of town, or a slightly secret free bus that gets you to the entrance to the port, and then it's a 10 minute walk to the town centre. If you're able to walk for 20 minutes, you don't really need the shuttle buses, but they are heavily promoted. Additionally in Livorno, the town centre itself is OK but a bit boring – however the area around the aquarium (worth visiting, much cheaper than the large one in Genoa) is a newish development with some interesting shops and cafes, a lovely park, lido and playgrounds. It's only a 15 minute walk from the port to here and it's where we wish we'd spent most of the day. We didn't book any excursions. What we tended to do was find a central point of interest and wander towards it – this paid off well in these dense, rambling towns. We hired bikes in Palma de Mallorca (but note that the cycle lane along the seafront can get busy and isn't great for novice riders). The beaches at Palma and Ibiza were really nice, clean and with decent facilities. In summary If you're looking for cheap and cheerful, you don't mind smoking and you're OK with haphazard customer service, then MSC is fine. However, if you have high expectations then you're going to be disappointed. Do your research first and go in with your eyes open. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We had a week to spare while on holiday in Europe so picked a 7 day cruise to suit our dates. The MSC Fantasia leaving from Palma de Mallorca was chosen and we flew to the island. On arrival at the cruise terminal at 4pm it was chaos, ... Read More
We had a week to spare while on holiday in Europe so picked a 7 day cruise to suit our dates. The MSC Fantasia leaving from Palma de Mallorca was chosen and we flew to the island. On arrival at the cruise terminal at 4pm it was chaos, passengers waiting to board jamming the main reception area. We were told by the local cruise services operator that he did not know why there was a delay, there when questioned again, Pedro told us there was no check in as there was no Spanish immigration official. As tensions between the waiting passengers and MSC representatives increased there was a general announcement advising that once immigration had finished with the disembarking passengers they would start with embarking passengers. After standing around for an hour a fellow irate passenger told us we should have been given a number by Pedro ( he had forgotten) so that once check in started we would be called in groups. After standing around for 2 hours the numbers started to be called and you had to fight to get through. At 6pm some of the MSC check in staff left for the day. After the MSC staff checked your passport and ticket in the main cruise terminal building you then had a walk of about 800m to the cruise ship where you went through the actual check in process (photo id etc). Once through the security process and into the lower lobby the Drinks Package and Speciality Dining staff were onto you. It was now 6.45pm and after nearly 3 hours of stuffing around they were told where to go. At dinner we found out the truth of the chaos, the ship could not berth at Marseilles the day before due to bad weather so went to Cannes. The passengers due to join in Marseilles were bussed to Cannes causing a delayed departure. The ship arrived late into Mallorca but MSC would not tell the truth. The ship was modern and clean. The food average, the alcohol expensive. MSC like to grab your money whenever possible, shuttle buses at ports are a good example. Walk an extra 150 metres and catch a local cruise terminal bus or local service for free or at about 25% of the MSC cost. Generally, the guest service staff need to be re-educated in customer service. They obviously need to speak many different languages but in speaking English their wording came out as rude/arrogant/offensive. The wait and cabin staff were excellent. Entertainment during the day was minimal and poor. Evening shows were not that good, we only went to see Tin Tin but was confused as it seemed like Pirates of the Caribbean with no story. The disembarkation process was badly organised. Meet in a bar at the back of the ship (nearest the cruise terminal - 800m) then walk through to the front of the ship to get off and be as far away from the cruise terminal as possible- an extra 200+ metres then the 800? So, if you like lots of shoving and pushing by fellow passengers this is the cruise for you. I will not be sailing with MSC again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
The ship itself is very nice, with lovely public spaces but rather cramped cabins. The entertainment shows, every night, were really first rate. Some of the service is very poor, those crew members who were very good probably came from ... Read More
The ship itself is very nice, with lovely public spaces but rather cramped cabins. The entertainment shows, every night, were really first rate. Some of the service is very poor, those crew members who were very good probably came from better cruise lines. Food was OK, can't really rate it any higher than that. Excursions were poor value, one in particular we paid around 70 euros for, took over half a day with only 70 minutes spent at the destination, the rest hanging around waiting for things to happen. Despite complaining about it five times on return to the ship no recompense at all was offered, just buck passing and blaming 'external operators'. MSC are happy enough to make money from excursions though. The drinks packages (7 of them!) are very confusing and lead to much embarrassment when you constantly get told you can't have certain drinks in certain bars. Disembarcation was an absolute disgrace, I would even say dangerous, with thousands of people including elderly, disabled and young children were caught up in a chaotic scrum after being ignored at the 'meeting point' by crew for an hour. Unfortunately, many of our fellow cruisers were rough types who appear to have paid very little and don't know how to behave, so don't expect good manners or civilised queues. Of other cruise lines we have used Princess most often. I would rate them 4 star and MSC would be lucky to scrape a 3. We will not be using MSC again, at any price. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
MSC Fantasia is a great ship, well maintained, with an average staff. We had a good room steward, but he was just too busy with too much rooms. MSC has not enough staff, and that is why the service is below average, and too slow. That ... Read More
MSC Fantasia is a great ship, well maintained, with an average staff. We had a good room steward, but he was just too busy with too much rooms. MSC has not enough staff, and that is why the service is below average, and too slow. That is also why there is a constant line at customer service. The first night there was a huge toilet problem for about 40% of the ship. From 23.00 to 07.00 all toilets at the back of the ship (cabins, staff and public) did not flush! That night we also had a bumpy sea, so you can imagine the poor cleaning party that morning..... This flushing problem was never completely gone, but it lasted never over an hour.... The new drink packages were just okay. Luckily we still had some drink coupons from previous cruises, and the bar staff did not know what to do about it...so we could drink almost anything with the combination of the Easy package and the drink coupons. Although they are fased out, on this ship they had still value. The ports were all so so...but that was because of the weather. Normally in this period of the year (April/May) the weather is much better (Where is Global Warming when you need it?) but that did not spoil our cruise. This Spring the whole of Europe has a very bad climate...so it is better to stay at a cruiseship (with a covered pool) than in a hotel..... We had a great cruise fare. We never payed less for a cruise than this one, and for this price I am not going to get very critical...you just have to be happy with what you get...and we were.... It was not our best cruise, but we still loved it...in comparison with the camping in Tuscany the week after the cruise, it was heaven! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
Working in the Hospitality Industry for over 20 years and also been an officer at the Hotel Department for many other cruise lines, been a Travel Agent well traveled and used to from budget to luxury experiences, having an Experience on ... Read More
Working in the Hospitality Industry for over 20 years and also been an officer at the Hotel Department for many other cruise lines, been a Travel Agent well traveled and used to from budget to luxury experiences, having an Experience on the MSC Fantasia in one of their great Yacht Club Suites was something amazing. A part for those who are always trying to get advantage of the Greatest Hospitality that the Cruise Line Industry try to strive giving their best, having the experience at the Yacht Club on the MSC Seaview was superb. Besides the Hostess Concierge Anna and the Future Cruise Consultant Flavia have made the cruise even more special. Even the theater was not one of those gigantic ones, the artists and performances caught all our attention and we were thrilled. The only disappointing item that, coming from RCCL, PCL, DCL is the food quality that really left us behind the expectation. we rarely say steaks and shrimps. The risotto had regular jasmine rice on it and not arborio as Italians are used to. This thing does not bring down all excitement we have had onboard. Congratulations. TfT Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
As a very experienced cruise, thought we would try MSC. Never again, worst cruise line ever, nothing good to say about it. Service not existant in all areas Food served warm, never hot Cabin staff very rude Staff just walk ... Read More
As a very experienced cruise, thought we would try MSC. Never again, worst cruise line ever, nothing good to say about it. Service not existant in all areas Food served warm, never hot Cabin staff very rude Staff just walk into your cabin without knocking No point in complaining as you just get fobbed off with false promises and actions Muster drills at nearly every port, where all bars are closed for over an hour They feel a woman singing Queen songs is entertaining. Bad enough it was a woman, but she could not even sing. Elvis impressionist walking around was a joke There is not one thing i enjoyed on this cruise. Complained again to MSC when home, but they just give excuses. Took my money, but delivered nothing! They should not be allowed to get away with it Steer well clear of MSC if you want an enjoyable cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
The embarkation process was catastrophic, it took me 6 hours to get onboard. Unacceptable. The cruise was fine, with some good points during the trip, such as the animation team, and bad ones, such as the pool water color (green) during ... Read More
The embarkation process was catastrophic, it took me 6 hours to get onboard. Unacceptable. The cruise was fine, with some good points during the trip, such as the animation team, and bad ones, such as the pool water color (green) during some days. The cabin was very good. The restaurants handled well all the people onboard, and the food variety was very good. However, the Red Velvet restaurant does not match the intent to have a more intimate and full service restaurant. Very crowded, the opposite of the idea. The schedule was not met in any destination. As a result, one of the planned stops, at Ilhabela, could not be done, resulting in a $100 credit for all cabins. I found it unfair, as one passenger could be alone in a cabin while others, such as myself, could have a family of three, for which $100 is almost nothing (3 drinks and 3 hot chocolates during the day and that's it!). The shows inside the ship were OK, with some better than others. In summary, the trip was fine but nothing beyond average. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
The bars and restaurants structure are beautiful, lots of yellow marble and Svarowski crystals. The maintence of several areas are very bad, roof gutters in some places, the pool area always dirty and the swimming pool very dirt all the ... Read More
The bars and restaurants structure are beautiful, lots of yellow marble and Svarowski crystals. The maintence of several areas are very bad, roof gutters in some places, the pool area always dirty and the swimming pool very dirt all the time. The service is mostly bad, unfrendlly attendants, exception the attendent of the sollarium bar, I Putu and Ana, an watress from the pool restaurant, they are very kind and funny. The aurea experience not worth, the price is very high and the exsclusive package have very little things. The food on board is good, the service os drinks is very bad, Few waiters. Very few sea food, lots of chicken and pork, cheap meats only. All the public bathrooms are very dirty and have maintence problems. The activities are very poor, The itinerary is the same as every ship that come to Brazil Is a ship to go once and never go back. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
My wife and I embarked on the MSC Fantasia on December 8, 2018, on a cruise that departed from Rio de Janeiro, heading for Buenos Aires, returning to Punta Del Este and Ilha Grande. The trip was my wife's birthday present, and what ... Read More
My wife and I embarked on the MSC Fantasia on December 8, 2018, on a cruise that departed from Rio de Janeiro, heading for Buenos Aires, returning to Punta Del Este and Ilha Grande. The trip was my wife's birthday present, and what should have been of the dreams turned out to be a big disappointment. But I prefer to start with the good points: the cabin cleaning service was excellent, the waiters and, in general, the employees who occupied the most humble functions, mostly of Asian or Brazilian origin were kind and helpful, Chinese cooks and cooks, rude and moody. As for food, raw fruits and vegetables were of good quality. In addition, the trip was limited to delays, exaggerated mercantilism, bad food, animation and mediocre shows. Starting the week before the departure of the cruise. Affordable drink packages, which went on sale on the internet that were no longer cheap, were taken from the site. These same packages, traditionally also sold at the time of shipment, this time were not offered, being offered only on the ship for abusive prices. On delays, these occurred in all shipments and landings, damaging the stays in the scheduled ports, which were no longer long. The departure, scheduled for 5:00 pm, only happened around 8:00 pm, after an 8-hour wait in an uncomfortable terminal with huge queues for baggage check-in, entrance to the terminal, passage through the police and access to the ship. On the way from Rio to Buenos Aires, there was an unforeseen event. One passenger who needed medical attention had to be removed by helicopter, which entailed an additional 2 hours delay. The arrival in Buenos Aires scheduled for 9:00 am on December 13, only happened at 5:00 p.m., and we were only able to leave the ship at 7:00 p.m. A stop originally scheduled for the entire day of arrival plus the night and the half of the following day was reduced to the night of arrival, plus half the next day, harming both passengers who purchased excursions and those who planned independent tours and purchases . In Punta Del Este it was worse, in the landing made by boats that should be ready to transport the passengers, since the small time of stay on land, made us wait more than 2 hours, using a minimum number of boats, shortening the duration of the excursions and making it impossible to land many passengers who had to stay on the ship. Finally, having already compensated for all delays, the commander informs the cancellation of the landing in Ilha Grande, alleging bad weather and anticipating the arrival in Rio scheduled for December 16 at 7am, to December 15 at 9pm, unilaterally crediting the cabin bill, ridiculous $ 100 ($ 50 per person) without a simple apology. At the landing, in another giant row, I, who turned 60 this year, was prevented from entering the preferential line, since, according to the MSC employee, the queue was reserved for people over 65, contrary to Brazilian law . In the luggage shed, we took out our suitcase, without anyone having checked our tag number. In addition, I can summarize: - Second-class meats, served at the buffet and restaurant, except on the last day they served a better menu. - "Grilled" dipped in oil and sausages of very low quality. - Service charge charged on drinks taken at the counter, although this is already included in the ticket price. - Net price of drink charged on the order above that set in the menu (in my case, wine glasses). - Repetitive theater shows, always with the same numbers of juggling and acrobatics, changing only the costumes and songs. To conclude, I decided to make this trip under the influence of my brother who lives in Europe and made several cruises there, including MSC and was surprised by what happened and commented that incidents such as these reported would never be accepted, but with a large financial compensation or with significant All this burden caused by delays, lack of planning and logistics incompatibility was passed on from the company to the customer. The conclusion that I have reached is that these companies organize their trips according to the classification of passengers, and unfortunately for them, we are considered second class citizens and we are also reserved 2nd treatment, either in food, in shows or in treatment dispensed, which causes me great indignation to consider that this treatment was given to us in our yard. I advise anyone who has never done a cruise to not buy routes in Brazil or South America, because it will buy remains from Europe where it is winter and these ships would be idle if they stayed there. They sell their trips for the same price charged there and offer a misleading and low quality product. If you want stewardship, go to an "all inclusive" resort, or travel through Brazil or abroad and truly short the cities and beaches without time limitation, choosing your tours, accommodations, food and with much less probability of unforeseen. But if you still insist on taking a cruise, avoid this company. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Overview: Cancelled ALL final airport excursions Had an issue receiving water each day Loud and pushy passengers Everyday passengers ON and OFF ship (Cattle run) 7th Floor walking deck (especially on sea days) was also a ... Read More
Overview: Cancelled ALL final airport excursions Had an issue receiving water each day Loud and pushy passengers Everyday passengers ON and OFF ship (Cattle run) 7th Floor walking deck (especially on sea days) was also a SMOKING deck? No Washie-Washie Happy-Happy (80% of Ship was SICK) Cabin phone stuck on German Front Desk missed confirmed wake-up call on final morning of cruise Elevator's slow, packed, and random if they stopped on your floor Pool deck microphone was WAY TOO LOUD, and disturbed everyone when they played their games Passengers waited up to 6 HOURS to EMBARK the ship at the start of the cruise Took our passports at start of cruise Docked farthest away...less expensive Evening Ship entertainment was 50/50 Bugged by staff to buy "Drink Packages" Medical Staff...FAIL Constantly bugged by some of the Photographers Breakfast - Juice ONLY AVAILABLE at breakfast...blocked-off lunch and supper Brazil's computer screen map was white and blue...they chose WHITE for the WATER when they could have chose BLUE...just about sums-up their Company Overall Ship - Good Crew - Great (especially the hands-on workers) MSC Company - FAIL - Illogical standing orders, lack of support to staff, and the staff had to always compensate or take verbal arguments Suggestions: 1. I am sure there are more fun games to be played...perhaps using the pool...and a better volume on the pool deck microphone while playing activities 2. MANDATORY - Washie-Washie Happy-Happy 3. Same language guest party at start of cruise - English, French, Portuguese, etc...get to know people who speak your language...the rest you will meet by smiles and hand signals throughout the cruise...lol Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We have cruised about 15 times prior to this cruise so we knew what to expect. Our embarkation went smoothly in Barcelona, but no amount of prior cruising knowledge could prepare you for this cruise. Our room was probably the best part ... Read More
We have cruised about 15 times prior to this cruise so we knew what to expect. Our embarkation went smoothly in Barcelona, but no amount of prior cruising knowledge could prepare you for this cruise. Our room was probably the best part of our cruise. We paid for an inside room and received a balcony. The beds were clean and the bathroom was adequate. There was gum all along the cupboard and the TV cut out right before our 5 straight sea days when MSC decided to give everyone 10 free movies. After calling front desk more than once and them never sending anyone to look at the TV we told the cabin attendant as a last resort. The TV never ended up working. In the barfet (previously known as the buffet) we saw an Italian woman holding a banana up to her ear pretending to talk to MSC staff... nothing could sum up this cruise better than that image I have of her doing that. No one is there to listen, you might as well be talking into a banana. The barfet itself was just as the name implies. We had pizza every day (which was actually pretty good for ship pizza) as everything else was cold or inedible. The desserts were so unappetizing I may have lost a few pounds on this cruise. The barfet repeated the meals pretty much daily. You could consider yourself lucky if you didn’t get pushed out of the way while waiting in line for food by the hungry Portuguese, and even luckier if you could find a seat that wasn’t all the way at the back. If you try ordering water from the back bar they give you a hard time trying to convince you that you’re only allowed to at the other bar. The water at dinner was a whole other story. We have cruised only this once with MSC (and believe me this is the last time) and we received bottled water every night at dinner. Our dinner mates however weren’t so fortunate. They have cruised with MSC multiple times now and MSC couldn’t even supply them with one bottle of water every night. We ended up sharing ours with them and eventually they even started bringing their own water. We have never seen a cruise line that doesn’t provide water at dinner. The dining room experience was much better than the barfet as the food was actually proper temperature. The waiters were very accommodating despite everything falling apart around them. We missed the drill on the first day. We read in the newsletter when it would be taking place so we waited for an announcement in our room but it never came. Turns out they made one announcement but it was only heard in the hallway. We then got a letter to attend the next day but it was during the time of one of our excursions. We never made it to the drill. Our cruise friends met this woman with a rash. They decided to tell the ships doctor about it as it was contagious. We went down there with them and got there at 2 pm. The doctor was not there until 4 pm. We had the unfortunate experience of talking to the nurse. I’m convinced she was the was the most incompetent worker on this entire ship. She told us MSC can’t do anything about it, if she wants to come down to get it checked out she can. They asked what if it spreads to other passengers? She opened the door for us and told us to leave. We were so disgusted with the experience we told front desk. They told us to fill out a form... it never got acknowledged. After reading other reviews I should’ve known better not to expect any call back. As far as entertainment goes, we did trivia a few of the days. One day one of the women cheated. The next day we got the same amount right as the winners of trivia (7/10) and the entertainment staff didn’t acknowledge that we won (they took our paper to mark). We asked to see it and she refused. Clearly the English speaking guests were on the back burner. I can’t say the shows were much better. They ended up repeating a lot of the acts. The excursions were ok... a little disorganized but that is to be expected from MSC. We left an hour late for the 6 hour drive (3 there, 3 back) to Marrakech. We also had no free time there.. all very structured. On the ride back there was no stops for bathroom during the whole 3 hours, and no bathroom on the bus. For another excursion in Ilheus, they took us to a beach with Portuguese man of war (one of the most dangerous jellyfish), seems like they wanted one less person at the barfet. Our third excursion we got taken to the city in Tenerife. There was no way they could mess up dropping us off in the city, right? Wrong... as our bus pulled off to head back to the ship, the tour guide realized she left two passengers behind. The only reason she realized it was because they were running up to the bus. The elevators play tricks with you, it is really just better to take the stairs on this cruise. Not that you’ll be eating much since the barfet doesn’t have many options. This cruise would make a good cruise if you’re looking to go on a diet. All in all, we won’t be cruising with MSC again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
The enticement? Interesting ports in Europe, Africa and South America. Our first cruise experience. We agree it might be the last one. Looking back it was frantic from the moment of embarkation in Genoa. Long line ups, hours of waiting. ... Read More
The enticement? Interesting ports in Europe, Africa and South America. Our first cruise experience. We agree it might be the last one. Looking back it was frantic from the moment of embarkation in Genoa. Long line ups, hours of waiting. It's true that the ship houses over 3000 passengers, but knowing that beforehand, the process should have been smother. The cabin we had , with balcony, was really nice. Crew attendant for the cabin was hard working and really personable as were the people serving in the restaurant. The rest of the staff was silent, in general not very friendly. The food in the buffet wasn't so bad, but very salty and considering that most passengers were seniors, not healthy. Menu in the buffet section was almost the same every day and this was a 20 day cruise. The quality of the water and coffee was bad. However, the most problematic circumstances of all were the contaminated air circulating in the ship, with the result that the majority of people were sick. Another really vexing situation was the total isolation we endured during the crossing of the Atlantic, almost six days. No TV, no internet, no information. Movies offered in the cabin, did not display well. The price of the internet connection offered in fliers to the cabin was misleading as they would charge more if you signed for it. We believe that the economics of scale for such a huge crowd have something to do with this situation. We probably will think twice before signing up for this kind of cruise. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
I am writing to report my experience in the MSC FANTASIA Cruise from Genoa to Santos between November 4th to 24th 2018. This was our third cruise, but the first with MSC. We have never experienced or expected a ship being run so poorly by ... Read More
I am writing to report my experience in the MSC FANTASIA Cruise from Genoa to Santos between November 4th to 24th 2018. This was our third cruise, but the first with MSC. We have never experienced or expected a ship being run so poorly by the Master and his crew. I will provide the details below. The embarkment took place in the port of Genoa on November 4th; from the beginning it was a complete chaos, a process that should take a couple of hours took at least six, they even have started the embarkment two hours earlier to make it easier. Numbers were distributed to the passengers to assist with the registration, but they were not followed; the staff members will jump numbers and then will go back again, a total chaos. Many crew members were rude and have no customer services skills, the majority look very unhappy. There were some crew members very polite and did a good job, but it was the minority. The safety box was not working in the cabin, I called the front desk and they sent a technician to fix it, he replaced the batteries. After about 30 minutes it stopped working, I called again, and they told me they will send a technician within 30 minutes, nothing happens, I reported at least five times in the next few days. Finally they sent a technician, according to him it was the cover of the batteries that was interfering, he removed it, put a piece of paper to make it tight and left, after one hour the safety box stopped working again. I checked myself and to my surprise I found one of the battery contacts sulfated, I scraped it and clean it and never have any problem again. The light in the night table burned out, I told the cabin assistant and he reported at least in two occasions. I started calling the front desk asking them if they could give me a bulb so that I could replace it, they told me they could not, and they will have to send a technician to check it out. I have to wait five days to have the burned-out light replaced. We had a balcony suit, located beside the deck and outside stairs. During the cruise they left a note in my cabin that they will be painting the balcony and to keep the curtains closed. They did paint, but they also spilled paint all over the two chairs, table and floor, they never cleaned it. I never have seen a sloppy job like this. During the cruise they left at least in four occasions notes that they will be doing maintenance in the balcony, in one occasion they flooded the balconies from one extreme to the other and left the water standing until the water evaporated by itself. One of the last evenings, they poured lot of water from the top floor, we could have been totally soaked if we were in the balcony. They cleaned the outside stairs and deck every morning about 4 am, and every time our balcony will be left with water and dirt on it. They never cleaned the balcony, we have to clean the hand rail and chairs our self. It was great to have a balcony, but because of their neglect we could seldom use it. When we cross the ocean, which lasted six days, the satellite services were disconnected, we did not have any news and were totally isolated. The explanation given was the satellite services did not work because we were too far away from land, but this happened even when we were 50 kilometres from the coast of Brazil. This never happened in any other cruise we have taken. They offered 16 free movies that you could watch in your cabin, but the audio of the movies was absolutely terrible, you could not understand anything; when I called the front desk, they said they have problem with the system. The hygiene practices in the cruise was terrible, there were dispensers with sanitizers, but most of them were empty, the crew members never encourage the passengers to use them. Some passengers will pick with their hands bred or other food from the buffet areas and the crew members never told these passengers not to do it, they will not get involved and ignore it. Some passengers will fill their personal bottles in the water or juice machines directly into the faucet touching them and of course contaminating them. Painting was performed in corridors and food dispensing areas; the smell was extremely strong. Painting in areas were food is dispensed and people are walking by is totally unacceptable. All the tours obtained through MSC started late. The crew members in charge in the meeting places were confused and they did not provide proper information. After a week people started to get sick. Many crew members and passengers got sick, sneezing, coughing and with flu symptoms. The situation started to get worse when we start crossing the Atlantic, the ship had to disembark a sick passenger in Cabo Verde in front of Africa because the passenger was too sick. The situation got worse and by the time we reach Brazil most of the passengers were coughing, sneezing and with flu symptoms. We were eight people travelling together and seven got sick. The passport return process was another chaos, two crew members were doing this process, but they have difficulties to find the passports even that they were classified by countries. During the last couple of days, we noticed a change in the attitude of the crew members in relation to hygiene in the food areas, the sanitizer dispensers were filled, the supervisors started to give direct instructions to waitresses to remove dirty dishes and clean the different areas. When we arrive to Santos the Health Authorities were waiting; they recommended to passengers before disembarking to use the disinfectant their hands with the gel provided and see their personal doctors, they also informed us there was a possible case of measles aboard. The disembarkation in Santos was another chaos, they asked the passenger to meet in the theatre and wait for instructions, but the theatre have steps and all passengers have carry-on bags. After a couple of hours, the Health Authorities allowed the disembarkment; the passengers were asked to take shuttle busses to the terminal. The buses had very narrow aisles, and the passengers have to claim with their bags since they did not open the bag carriers on the belly of the buses. The Master of the ship is the person responsible for the well being and health of the crew and passengers and the training of the crew. Therefore, he is responsible for the poor service provided by the crew and the bad hygiene practices on his ship. I saw him only once in the entire trip when he welcomes the passengers assisting a function. He never talked to the passengers on the speakers to provide explanations or information; what a difference with other Captains from other companies that I have had the opportunity to travel with. This was the first time that we travel in a MSC Cruise and possible will be the last. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We chose this re-positioning cruise because of the itinerary which was incredible. The ship was typical MSC glitz which we expected. After may complications (which I will get into later), we got a starboard 11th floor balcony, which was ... Read More
We chose this re-positioning cruise because of the itinerary which was incredible. The ship was typical MSC glitz which we expected. After may complications (which I will get into later), we got a starboard 11th floor balcony, which was awesome. The cabin was spacious and well-appointed with the usual amenities of desk, hanging clothes closet (roomy enough for two 28-inch suitcases) and a closet with 6 drawers, a safe and two shelves. If you are American, and not accustomed to the European culture of customer service, you are in for a shock. Communication regarding important announcements (i.e. when and where to pick up your Passport) are non-existent. The announcements are far and few between, except when to play Bingo or shop for handbags. Even in the Daily pamphlet, the instructions for picking up your Passports (which were collected upon embarkation for Brazil authorities), was in print 1/8th the size of the Bingo and Valentino handbag advertisements. Every announcement (even in the theater) is done in 6 or 7 languages (Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, and the shortest announcement time was in English; which was expected as this cruise went through 3 continents and 5 different countries). The food was disappointingly just okay. We expected so much more from an Italian cruise line! Entertainment: the entertainers were great, the shows not-so-much. Many of them were perplexing. For instance, one show was touted as The Totem and depicted a picture of cowboys and Indians, which made us scratch our heads to begin with and didn't get any better during the performance. The Woodstock Revival show had no songs from Woodstock, only one song from the 60s, the rest were more recent. I am beginning to understand why Europeans don't understand Americans after this cruise. Speaking of which, a lot of the patrons of this cruise, were pushy, rude, loud, obnoxious and disrespectful of everyone. The Cruise itself was one giant, "Hop-On/Hop-Off" cruise with new people getting on and off at every port. Apparently, this is what MSC does everywhere but the U.S.A. Our personal experience with MSC Europe was less than stellar from the start, with customer service being ghastly. We booked through MSC directly in Dec. 2017 and was told by their agent that by booking an inside guarantee, you always get upgraded. We followed that advice and in Feb. 2018 were assigned cabin 13200. We were excited as this was a rear-facing Juliette balcony spa cabin (we would not get the spa experience as we booked a Fantastica experience, but that was okay with us). However, in October, 10 days before cruising on a Friday night, we received an email stating that we needed to reprint out tickets. When we went to do so, we found that we were reassigned a new cabin, Inside, which was located (basically) inside the crew staircase and elevators. Anger ensued! We called our MSC agent (who was nowhere to be found), and over the course of a week spoke to three agents, two supervisors and had numerous emails with Miami Customer Service. One agent told us "too bad, so sad" and offered us a balcony for $4,000. This prompted us to cancel our upcoming MSC U.S.A. cruise in January 2019. So, we went to Rome to get on the cruise and found that on the MSC website our reservation was completely gone. We frantically emailed MSC Miami, to find out what was going on, but with the time difference, we didn't hear back from them prior to sailing. (One email from MSC Miami, did offer $50 OBC for each of us as compensation.) Fortunately, our reservation for the inside cabin was still good, and we were able to get on the ship. A trip down to customer service onboard had us so horrified with the attitude of one lady, who yelled at us that we "got what we paid for", that she "was in charge", and that we couldn't speak to her manager as she was "too busy" and had other things to do. After she frantically typed into her computer and hit enter, she informed us that the Customer Service Officer wanted to see us. Giada Mangione, was gracious, understanding, and had already sent a bottle of champagne and a note to our cabin to come and see her. She explained that there were a series of errors, apologized and said that she was unable to give us back the room originally assigned, and that the ship was full for the next two days. However, upon arrival in Genoa, we will be given a balcony cabin, with sincerest apologies for the mix up. Giada Mangione was the nicest customer service person we have ever met or dealt with on MSC (not because she gave us a balcony, but because she took to time to understand our frustration, was kind, and not demeaning), and we thanked her for her gracious offer. From a business standpoint, we fully understand that MSC has the right to change a cabin at any time for any reason; and that the "spa" cabin we were given was far more expensive than the inside cabin we booked. However, we have been upgraded, similarly, on other cruise lines and never had anything like this happen. On a side note, overall the crew were very nice and did try to accommodate whenever possible. Many of them did say that MSC's standard of service has diminished through the years, as their workload had increased leaving them only enough time to tend to their duties and not give the personal service they used to provide. This saddened them greatly. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
The employees are overworked, they all seem very tired. The services are overall very good, but they clearly have to hire more resources, everyone was looking exhausted during the entire cruise. The cabins look pretty good, the only ... Read More
The employees are overworked, they all seem very tired. The services are overall very good, but they clearly have to hire more resources, everyone was looking exhausted during the entire cruise. The cabins look pretty good, the only thing that I didn't like was the fact the the most of the tv shows were in Italian. The ship is a little crowded. Other ships with the same size have half of th number of passengers. Also, they don't have a lot of shops and most of the prices exceed the ones from the shore, so they're not real duty free. The games that they have for the kids are not free, which was an unpleasant surprise. The food is pretty good. The entertainment needs an upgrade, they don't have a live band so the experience is not complete. The activities that they have during the day aren't very so much fun and there's not many of them. Even though it was a 5 days cruise, I found myself bored during the day because of the lack of entertaning activities. I filled in a form in order to receive the survey from them, it's been 6 days since the disembarkation and didn't get it yet. The organization is terrible, starting with the checkin and disembarkation. We bought a transfer from them and because of the fact that we bought it on board, out names didn't show up on their lists. Due to this, ourselves and the rest of the passengers that were on the same transfer had to wait for them to clear things up. Some of the passangers lost their train because of this. During the discussions that we had we them they were just asking us to wait and explaining that they're very busy. Some of the guys that were coordinationg this were really rude to us. Even though the services were good, I wouldn't recommend anyone to go on a cruise with them, it's just not worth the stress and to be treated like they're doing us a favor for a service that we paid. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
My C/L and i are from Canada and joined Fantasia ship in Barcelona for a 7 day cruise. It was our first cruise ever! On a scale from one to ten, our trip was a 10! Everything is so well organised it was amazing! We were both so ... Read More
My C/L and i are from Canada and joined Fantasia ship in Barcelona for a 7 day cruise. It was our first cruise ever! On a scale from one to ten, our trip was a 10! Everything is so well organised it was amazing! We were both so impressed by the service offered by staff in making sure everything was perfect! Our cabin was very clean and a good size! Very happy to have piced a balcony stateroom. We had picked our daily escursion on line prior to doing it on the boat. Im very happy we did that. This saved us money and valuable time that we did not spend in lineups to be told that most cruises were full. We picked 6 cruises out of our 7 days on the boat. I would not change anything in that decision. The excursions were great, well organised and very comfortable on very comfortable motorcouchs. We also felt safer to book true MSC rather than local offers from various vendors who also offers different deals. We preferred to play safe and make sure to get back on the ship on time. Several passengers we talked to did not take any esscursions, prefering just walking of the ship and do their own thing. The food was very good a every meals. We had our daily breakfast in the cafeteria. Great choices and food was good. We went at every night in the dining room with assigned sears. This was great and very good food. The rooms were cleaned twice a day. We were too tired at night for any nightlife on the boat. We did not attend any shows other than one night. It was however very nice. Overall, we were pleases and return on this ship on a heart beat! And chage nothing. The only 2 things we can caution people is the dink package and the smoking on the boat. First, before and when we got on the boat we had read about this package and it was not clear what we were alowed to have free of charge and not. Well it tourns out that we were not allowed much. We ended up buying a drink package unlimited for both. We did not regret at all, altough i dont drink alcohol, my wife had all kinds of drinks, different very good coffee and we could have unlimited bottle water for our excursions. I would read more about it when you book and pick what package you prefer. On the boat, we paid 209 euro each for unlimited for our 7 day cruise. We felt we did not loose any money in this deal. The part of smoking is the one i could not get used to it! There are designated areas for smokers which i support 100% but we saw on several occasions that people would smoke were they felt like it. You cant smoke on your balcony for safety reasons of coyrse but everyday, we had hashs fron higher balconys fall on our balcony. We heard several people complaining about it but nothing seemed to change. That was our only negative for our trip. We will go back on this boat and will go back. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
MSC Yacht Club - Fantasia This review is for YACHT CLUB on the FANTASIA. Different ships and a different “experience” (that is how MSC refers to their different levels of service) may be quite different. Keep in mind our only ... Read More
MSC Yacht Club - Fantasia This review is for YACHT CLUB on the FANTASIA. Different ships and a different “experience” (that is how MSC refers to their different levels of service) may be quite different. Keep in mind our only previous cruising experience has been Concierge Class on the Celebrity Silhouette. Overall: MSC touts Yacht Club as a ship within a ship, and it certainly is that. From the moment we arrived at port to the moment we disembarked we were looked after by our personal butler. We never stood in a line or searched for a lounge chair or a place to sit. Embarkation: Upon arrival at the port we were immediately whisked to a private waiting area where we were offered sparkling wine, and chocolate dipped strawberries. We did not have much time there as within minutes we were escorted past lines of people to have our picture taken for our cruise card. We were then escorted to the YC concierge lounge where we waited for perhaps ten minutes. We were then escorted to our room where our YC cards were ready and laid out on the bed. Waiting for us in our room was a chilled bottle of sparkling wine, a bowl of fresh fruit and a generous plate of chocolate dipped strawberries. Our room: I believe we booked a standard YC suite. It was larger and nicer than our Concierge Celebrity room, with a walk in closet and built in drawers. We had bathrobes and slippers. The large bathroom had a full bath. The mini bar was fully stocked – no additional charge. I think the balcony was a tad bit smaller than Celebrity. Service: Our butler Nures was amazing. You must insert your card in the card slot when you enter the room so the butler always knows when you are there. I swear they cleaned up the room every time we left. Our mini bar was always restocked; our ice bucket was always full and our towels always fresh. Food: In YC you can eat anywhere you wish but we did not care to. There was always food at our private pool area and also in the Top Sail lounge – also private. The food choice in these two areas is limited but adequate. The designated YC fine dining restaurant, L’Toile on the other side of the ship is a la carte and serves three meals a day. The menu has different choices every day, including lobster one day. We were told you could have whatever you wanted if you gave them notice. The service was excellent and the wine very good. We enjoyed the food. On the first night we were escorted to the dining room by our butler, which I thought was a thoughtful gesture. Pool area: Nice, small, great service. No competition for lounges- two hot tubs. No public washrooms! You had to return to your room if needed. Luckily our room was very close so we didn’t mind. Entertainment: We only attended one night, the first night, and we were not impressed to say the least. I had higher expectations after Celebrity’s entertainment. We heard from others that there was better entertainment on subsequent nights, but the entertainment on other MSC ships is better. Gym and spa area: I’m embarrassed to say we did not take advantage of this. The spa area is complementary for YC. The gym was large and well equipped. Disembarkation: As with other cruises you must have your bags ready and waiting the night before however once you have left your room you are free to stay in the YC areas and eat and drink as long as you like. When you are ready to leave your butler will escort you off the ship. Our butler escorted us right to our bags which had been removed from the carousel and were waiting for us. My husband asked Nures how he knew where our bags would be and he replied that he had gone down earlier that morning to collect them! Fellow passengers: YC is small and people embark and disembark at different ports, which surprised me, so YC guests could change every day. Our fellow passengers were from all over; USA, Canada, and Europe. We are social and outgoing so we managed to find a group to visit with. This could be a problem for some. Worth noting that it could be entirely possible to end up on a cruise where no one speaks your language, or cares to. Dislikes: We enjoyed all aspects of YC and it met or exceeded our expectations. However, the rest of the ship was a different story. The Fantasia is a beautiful and elegant ship, but it is HUGE; and there are so many children! We later found out that children are free and MSC can be quite cheap so there were lots of families. Our impression of the rest of the ship was chaotic, noisy crowds of people competing for food and space. We braved one of the other bars one night and people seemed to be enjoying themselves. We noticed MSC staff mingling and dancing with guests and keeping things entertaining. Would we go with MSC again? Maybe. We really didn’t care for the size of the ship or the crowds and outside of YC, yet we found YC a bit too quiet. Perhaps we would consider a different ship with a different itinerary that is not so kid-friendly. For the time being, Celebrity has not lost our loyalty. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
We spent a week on Fantasia and an overall experience was positive except few remarks. NO SMILE policy is something you notice in a day or two. As an ex crew member on a bigger cruise line i know how important a guest satisfaction was, ... Read More
We spent a week on Fantasia and an overall experience was positive except few remarks. NO SMILE policy is something you notice in a day or two. As an ex crew member on a bigger cruise line i know how important a guest satisfaction was, even if we only talk about greetings. English is not mandatory, so the more languages you speak, the better for you to get around. This doesnt count for crew on higher position, but does for the other 2500 crew members. The food in general could be better, thers no much variation, so after a week you kinda wanna get off and eat something good! Entertainment team is great and very professional. It still stays amazing how they have a show on 5 languages! So to summarize, id say you can have a pretty good experience on-board. If you dont compare it to the big fish like RCCL or Celebrity, you gonna be fine with some patience. The food is...nah....but its clean. Its very kitschy and not everyone is gonna understand you all the time, but hey...you came for vacation, so ....relax...... Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
Although I cruise more than 15 times a year, it is unusual that I took 3 cruises in Europe within the span of 30 days! The reason? I suddenly had some spare time and it is better -valued and trouble-free cruising than travelling on land. ... Read More
Although I cruise more than 15 times a year, it is unusual that I took 3 cruises in Europe within the span of 30 days! The reason? I suddenly had some spare time and it is better -valued and trouble-free cruising than travelling on land. The first was a Mediterranean cruise on MSC Fantasia, from Genoa, on 16 September. I did not pay the cheapest but was glad to find a Yacht Club cabin at a good last-minute bargain price. MSC’s Yacht Club, on which I made quite a few trips, is one of my favourites, as it offers first class service at a reasonable price. This cruise does not disappoint. From check-in in Genoa to disembarking with my good butler taking me to a taxi, and impeccable service all the time during sailing days, I was all VIP (that I am actually not, I am afraid). Have done various MSC ship many times (Gold member). Membership does not give more useful benefits such as free internet on Cunard and Princess at similar level, but ticket price is discounted as well as some onboard service. The food is good at the special YC restaurant, and service is first class like on luxury ships. Yacht Club cabins are not much larger, but it is the food and other services, such as special YC deck area on ship and lounge, inclusive wine, and most important the good butler service, that count to make YC an even better valued proposal than an ordinary cabin for me. The itinerary is well-travelled, only one port, Ajaccio, was my first call. Genoa is an excellent starting port, easy embarkation, and much to see, so I had a pre-cruise stay of 3 nights before sailing. Cannes was next and we had a long whole day to explore the city. Palma de Mallorca came next, then Barcelona, both I had too many visits and so it was relaxing for me. The ship is my destination, that’s why I booked Yacht Club. Often a little stroll on familiar streets, then home for a fine dinner. MSC offers good entertainment with production-type shows every night. Then Ajaccio, my first visit although I have called on Bonafacio and Calvi on previous cruises. It was still too much sun and too hot on Sept 20 to have an otherwise most pleasant stroll of this town. For me ports like this of compact size are most desirable for cruise ships. Then Civitavecchia, and I didn’t bother to add one more of many revisits to Rome. Civitavecchia has become a permanent bore to frequent cruisers like me who do not bother to take 3 hours in train travel to Rome. Last call was La Spezia. An excursion port to see Firenze, Pisa, or Cinque Terre. It was bad that as I landed late I miss the few transportation to the latter, which I have visited of course but want to see again one of the most picturesque places of the world. It was an all-port day busy itinerary, great for first time cruisers of the Med. MSC has many ships doing similar itinerary. The spectacular new vessel Seaview was next to us in Genoa for departure same time but I have chosen Fantasia for Ajaccio to have at least one port of touristic interest to me. Paying a good last minute fare for Yacht Club, it was always a good idea if you have time to spare And alas, I still had time, so I embarked Costa Fascinosa the day I disembarked.. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
I was very apprehensive about this cruise after reading the reviews, I was totally blown away from start to finish. We are a couple in 50's, who have traveled a lot. We did a cruise 6 years ago with P & O and I cried the first ... Read More
I was very apprehensive about this cruise after reading the reviews, I was totally blown away from start to finish. We are a couple in 50's, who have traveled a lot. We did a cruise 6 years ago with P & O and I cried the first week I hated everything about it ! Embarkation was so smooth and easy it was a joy !!! Friendly staff to greet us, welcome drink on arrival and a real WOW factor - just like a movie set with the glitz and glamour The Cabin was just what i was expecting, clean to a high standard and twice a day, large comfortable bed and the choice of pillows. Mini bar was not included in our room but it made no difference as i just went an got a drink when getting ready. Balcony was a good size 2 chairs and a table, don't need anything else. Food, again i was shocked after reading the reviews on here, we ate at the Red Velvet every night, yes it is small portions but it is ala carte, so i wouldn't expect anything else. The food itself was presented well and tasted great, there is a choice of starters, main and dessert. Even the table wine was good. We didn't try the buffet for dinner, we did pop in there for lunch, but it wasn't our thing. Breakfast again at the Red Velvet was extremely good, you have the option of buffet or table service. The level of service in the Red Velvet was incredible, they could not do enough for you. I ordered 2 desserts every night and extra potatoes, they never questioned it or pulled a face, these guys worked really hard and enhanced our dinning experience. We bought the all inclusive drinks package and it was well worth it, we added up everything at the end and it would have easily been double the amount We didn't do any MSC excursions, we did our own thing, again it was a straight forward process to disembark daily, no long queues. Cannes Don't worry about getting a ticket from level 7, go straight to level 4 and board the tender. There is a petit train if you wanted, but we wandered freely. Palma Straight forward, get of the cruise ship and catch the local bus from outside the port, it takes you straight to town. Barcelona. Again, catch the local bus from outside the port, a few minutes and you are in town. Corsica My favorite place, its just a stroll into the town, great place for wine and food Rome We did this ourselves through a cruise excursions it was half the price of MSC and had a full day here, just wandering around. Pisa We took a taxi from the port the train station 15 euros and had booked train tickets to Pisa before we left, the train was great, i think it cost us around 35 Euros return in first class. Not much there but at least i can say i have been. Genoa This is where we started our cruise, so didn't have any time to look round. Disembarkation, again a doddle, it was really smooth, the suitcases were collected in the evening, we collected from outside the ship went straight onto a coach and then at the airport. Entertainment was ok, better than P & O but bearing in mind they have to cater for at least 6 different languages it must be hard to please everyone. All in all, i am the hardest person to please, i have no complaints about MSC cruise , all i can say is I WILL BE DOING IT AGAIN. Read Less
MSC Fantasia Ratings
Category Editor Member
Rates 3.0 3.5

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