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Chose as Thomas Cook rep said it was fantastic and that MSC were throwing loads of money into their cruises to try and bring them up to Royal Caribbean standards. Sure the staircase and decor in the public rooms was glitzy but I would have preferred to be at a tumbledown ranch style bar in order for the money to have been redirected towards better quality food ingredients. A friend told me that it’s a different ball game if you book via their MSCUSA website. Apparently the Americans were not booking because of the food and no free water. If you aren’t bothered about hot tasty food, like both the sit down restaurant and the buffet to consist of the same ingredients but plated differently then it’s a good ship to use as a ferry to see many ports around the Med. Good bits: Balcony cabin cleaned very well. Top marks to Sandra. Ship constantly being painted and public areas well maintained and clean. Tips: If you want to take water ashore in bottles, like a couple of ice creams a day, two bar freshly brewed coffees (nicer) a day and at least 3 drinks each of a night then pay for the drinks package (£26pppd). Just for the sake of seeing what we might have spent otherwise we kept the ‘chittys’ and it was £500s worth of the above. The higher package entitled you to fancier cocktails, bottles of wine rather than the glass they give you (wasn’t too bad, a Cabernet Sauvignon for the red choice) and bottles of lager rather than on tap Heineken. Up to your preference really. Food: fruit is fresh. Salads three quarters fresh and one quarter what seemed like recycled veg from the earlier meal ie cold broccoli. Lots on these reviews about the food. Once we discovered that the food in the restaurant was the same as the ‘daily specials’ in the buffet but that the buffet also had other sections such as the pizza counter, the chips/hot dog/burgers counter, the roast meat counter, the pasta counter, all the desserts from which you could only choose one in the sit down (Red Velvet) restaurant on one counter, we stuck to the buffet. But... boy do those other counters get boring and only once did I see steam rising from a plate to food in there. It was a pasta dish so I walked over and took a spoon of it... unfortunately it may have been hot but the sauce was bland and watery and the meat tough. Ditto the roast beef... could have soled my boots with it! The ham another day was like those old fashioned oblong/triangular cans from the 70s, very rubbery. It’s not as if we didn’t try everything just to check, we did and the fresh fruit was the best bit. Comically on our departure day we sat talking to fellow Brits (only a few of us onboard) and one said it was like a blinged up cross channel ferry. I had to smile as I had said the same thing to my partner earlier that morning. Annoying bits: lifts took too long and the British way of standing back to let others out doesn’t wash on this boat. When in Rome..... If you have a baby buggy, a wheelchair or can’t walk too far this isn’t a good boat to choose. Too many people and long walks to get about. We did 700 steps just going to reception and back one day. Pool area packed from 3pm onwards. So you have to decide shall I miss going ashore to trade for more peace by the pool. Excursions: did our own thing but stayed on boat in Genoa. At La Spezia we got the local train to Vernazza (CinqueTerre) as Google said it was the prettiest of the five villages and it cost €4 each way per person and a doddle to do. Vernazza hoaching with tourists but lovely and still got a table by the harbour for a beer and lovely Italian food! Why can’t the Italian ship do the food as well as the mainland? Needs Gordon Ramsay for menu ideas and more money given to the head chef for ingredients. On this cruise I would suggest if you can to choose a balcony cabin with an even number as those numbers were in the sun more often in port (it travels mainly at night so that didn’t matter so much) and they also faced the town more often. If we had been able to sit in the sun privately on ours maybe the noise and numbers of people might not have been so disappointing. Dress: very relaxed, even saw men in shorts and t-shirts on gala night but a good number had got glammed up. Queuing: lots. Lifts, Cannes launch there and back and for a ticket for it, bars, departure morning, reception. Choose a quiet time if you need to go to either reception desk but as everyday people got off or joined it was busy. All the coming and going made it really feel like a ferry. No hot water all day on day 6 so service charge was taken off the entire extras bill. Others had paid it on the day of their initial holiday purchase (as that got a discount) so maybe hold off in case you have any problems. Internet: slow from 3-11pm in fact often wouldn’t load in those hours. Maybe not worth bothering with unless you haven’t researched your shore trip before leaving home. Cost €60 so too much for little chance to load it. Used 530mb of 2000mb. All in all was expecting much more from the enthusiastic way the travel agent described the ship but it was too noisy, too crowded, the food was luke warm and made from cheap ingredients. Wasn’t relaxing at all. We loved our time off the boat sitting on the beach, sitting at little tables in cafes, exploring Gaudi’s architecture but dreaded meal times and evenings. Music got boring after two nights as same musicians circulate the bars. Good job the World Cup was on as an alternative amusement. Pools shut early. Forgot to say they even managed to ruin the hot dogs and burgers (over heated somehow (was it a microwave or the hot plate, can’t tell) but bun was crunchy and hard on one side and temperature still luke warm!) but the ice cream everywhere and the cake in the piazza courtyard were lovely. Enjoy the fruit, it was good. Beware price of their excursions. Do a comparison before you leave. Poor embarkation score only because the rep in Rome Airport kept us all standing for 80 minutes whilst she waited for two passengers from another flight who turned out to be standing behind her. Coach to ship was excellent. Oh dear, we were so looking forward to a luxurious time with super meals but this experience has put us off cruising. Another couple we met said the same on departure. I thought it was just us. When you read the reviews check you are reading about the European cruises and not the ones leaving from America as the two are different.

MSC Med Cruise different to MSC cruise leaving an American port, disappointing.

MSC Fantasia Cruise Review by golfmadnutter

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
Chose as Thomas Cook rep said it was fantastic and that MSC were throwing loads of money into their cruises to try and bring them up to Royal Caribbean standards. Sure the staircase and decor in the public rooms was glitzy but I would have preferred to be at a tumbledown ranch style bar in order for the money to have been redirected towards better quality food ingredients. A friend told me that it’s a different ball game if you book via their MSCUSA website. Apparently the Americans were not booking because of the food and no free water.

If you aren’t bothered about hot tasty food, like both the sit down restaurant and the buffet to consist of the same ingredients but plated differently then it’s a good ship to use as a ferry to see many ports around the Med.

Good bits: Balcony cabin cleaned very well. Top marks to Sandra.

Ship constantly being painted and public areas well maintained and clean.

Tips: If you want to take water ashore in bottles, like a couple of ice creams a day, two bar freshly brewed coffees (nicer) a day and at least 3 drinks each of a night then pay for the drinks package (£26pppd). Just for the sake of seeing what we might have spent otherwise we kept the ‘chittys’ and it was £500s worth of the above. The higher package entitled you to fancier cocktails, bottles of wine rather than the glass they give you (wasn’t too bad, a Cabernet Sauvignon for the red choice) and bottles of lager rather than on tap Heineken. Up to your preference really.

Food: fruit is fresh. Salads three quarters fresh and one quarter what seemed like recycled veg from the earlier meal ie cold broccoli. Lots on these reviews about the food. Once we discovered that the food in the restaurant was the same as the ‘daily specials’ in the buffet but that the buffet also had other sections such as the pizza counter, the chips/hot dog/burgers counter, the roast meat counter, the pasta counter, all the desserts from which you could only choose one in the sit down (Red Velvet) restaurant on one counter, we stuck to the buffet. But... boy do those other counters get boring and only once did I see steam rising from a plate to food in there. It was a pasta dish so I walked over and took a spoon of it... unfortunately it may have been hot but the sauce was bland and watery and the meat tough. Ditto the roast beef... could have soled my boots with it! The ham another day was like those old fashioned oblong/triangular cans from the 70s, very rubbery. It’s not as if we didn’t try everything just to check, we did and the fresh fruit was the best bit. Comically on our departure day we sat talking to fellow Brits (only a few of us onboard) and one said it was like a blinged up cross channel ferry. I had to smile as I had said the same thing to my partner earlier that morning.

Annoying bits: lifts took too long and the British way of standing back to let others out doesn’t wash on this boat. When in Rome..... If you have a baby buggy, a wheelchair or can’t walk too far this isn’t a good boat to choose. Too many people and long walks to get about. We did 700 steps just going to reception and back one day.

Pool area packed from 3pm onwards. So you have to decide shall I miss going ashore to trade for more peace by the pool.

Excursions: did our own thing but stayed on boat in Genoa. At La Spezia we got the local train to Vernazza (CinqueTerre) as Google said it was the prettiest of the five villages and it cost €4 each way per person and a doddle to do. Vernazza hoaching with tourists but lovely and still got a table by the harbour for a beer and lovely Italian food! Why can’t the Italian ship do the food as well as the mainland? Needs Gordon Ramsay for menu ideas and more money given to the head chef for ingredients.

On this cruise I would suggest if you can to choose a balcony cabin with an even number as those numbers were in the sun more often in port (it travels mainly at night so that didn’t matter so much) and they also faced the town more often. If we had been able to sit in the sun privately on ours maybe the noise and numbers of people might not have been so disappointing.

Dress: very relaxed, even saw men in shorts and t-shirts on gala night but a good number had got glammed up.

Queuing: lots. Lifts, Cannes launch there and back and for a ticket for it, bars, departure morning, reception. Choose a quiet time if you need to go to either reception desk but as everyday people got off or joined it was busy. All the coming and going made it really feel like a ferry.

No hot water all day on day 6 so service charge was taken off the entire extras bill. Others had paid it on the day of their initial holiday purchase (as that got a discount) so maybe hold off in case you have any problems.

Internet: slow from 3-11pm in fact often wouldn’t load in those hours. Maybe not worth bothering with unless you haven’t researched your shore trip before leaving home. Cost €60 so too much for little chance to load it. Used 530mb of 2000mb.

All in all was expecting much more from the enthusiastic way the travel agent described the ship but it was too noisy, too crowded, the food was luke warm and made from cheap ingredients. Wasn’t relaxing at all. We loved our time off the boat sitting on the beach, sitting at little tables in cafes, exploring Gaudi’s architecture but dreaded meal times and evenings. Music got boring after two nights as same musicians circulate the bars. Good job the World Cup was on as an alternative amusement. Pools shut early.

Forgot to say they even managed to ruin the hot dogs and burgers (over heated somehow (was it a microwave or the hot plate, can’t tell) but bun was crunchy and hard on one side and temperature still luke warm!) but the ice cream everywhere and the cake in the piazza courtyard were lovely. Enjoy the fruit, it was good.

Beware price of their excursions. Do a comparison before you leave.

Poor embarkation score only because the rep in Rome Airport kept us all standing for 80 minutes whilst she waited for two passengers from another flight who turned out to be standing behind her. Coach to ship was excellent.

Oh dear, we were so looking forward to a luxurious time with super meals but this experience has put us off cruising. Another couple we met said the same on departure. I thought it was just us.

When you read the reviews check you are reading about the European cruises and not the ones leaving from America as the two are different.
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Cabin Review

Cabin 10121
Balcony cabin on level 10. Lovely and clean. Comfy bed. Built in 1200 watt hairdryer in a drawer. Minibar but not included in the paid drinks package. Presume too time consuming to restock. Take earplugs if you are a light sleeper as corridors noisy with voices. We slept well... maybe all that walking
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