1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. MSC Cruises
  4. MSC Cruises Cruise Reviews
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Chose this ship as facilities look great and the pools were very warm but too deep for children and non swimmers.Hot tubs had broken jets. Boarding was very easy and although cabin not ready until 3 pm was able to use facilities as I ... Read More
Chose this ship as facilities look great and the pools were very warm but too deep for children and non swimmers.Hot tubs had broken jets. Boarding was very easy and although cabin not ready until 3 pm was able to use facilities as I put swimwear etc in hand luggage.We had a balcony room on deck 11,this was very clean and comfortable with a kettle in the room but milk never replenished.Our room attendant Nilson was very good. Food was just warm but good quality and lots of choice in buffet restraunt but finding tables was very difficult and ship was not full.Staff here were run off their feet and it ewas easier to go to bar for soft drinks etc,water is easy from machines. Entertainment variety very poor,shows only about 45 mins and though a lot of time and effort put in not very good,mostly singers and ballroom dancers. Plenty of bars but again you have to wait a long time often over 20 minutes as staff so busy.We did try to order at bar but waiters asked for your order and took card so not a choice really.Staff in bars were really nice but again rushed off their feet. We went to Zebrugga,Rotterdam,le Have and Hamburg,all docks miles from town in massive ports you can't walk around so shuttle buses sometimes put on but at €16 each very expensive.We did quite a few excursions but they were rushed with long bus journeys. All in all very disappointed a very expensive ship cinema €7 each for 5 minutes average drink €6 though we had drinks package pre paid at £186 each.Poor customer service ,staff tired and overworked crowded dining rooms never again will we cruise MSC Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
This was a short Cruise just to enjoy time away Embarkation: Was easy and quite quick with the usual queues. A few more desks open would have made the process of little quicker. Once on the ship you were greeted by the usual array ... Read More
This was a short Cruise just to enjoy time away Embarkation: Was easy and quite quick with the usual queues. A few more desks open would have made the process of little quicker. Once on the ship you were greeted by the usual array of special offers for the spas drinks and restaurants. Our cabin was ready so we headed down the drop cases. Followed by a pleasant drink in a bar and then sail Away. Having been on a few MSC ships this one is the newest there was plenty of space the pools and Jacuzzis never seem very busy. The ship itself is very clean we went into all the bars before settling and the pizza bar where they serve beer. Service was always good too long for a refill. Dining was fixed seating only at either 6:30 or 8:30 pm our dining room was over two levels service was always good the food was as good as we had anywhere *TIP* get to know your waiters ours exceptional in their attention to detail. Nothing is ever too much trouble with attention to customer service. There's a lot of talk about small portions we eat in the dining room to stop from over eating as is sometimes the case if we use the buffet, with restaurant dining a just order second meal be it a starter, main or sweet we on occasion order a second something from the menu to share there was never an issue. The talk of no tea and coffee following a meal all you have to do is request this and they will happily bring it and we have on occasion when in conversation with fellow diners. Beautiful theatre, the best I've seen. You can see the stage from wherever you are. Productions were average the shows were quite short but filled with entertainment the storylines were non-existent so as previously said by others, the shows were very random an introduction of a start middle and end would make these shows flow, and enhance enjoyment. Talking about shows there was a major shift away from the opera singing ballroom dancing kind of shows we have seen on previous MSC ships the Swiss magician was very good the fact all the acts are incorporated into the show I thought was a nice touch. All in all we had no problem with the ship or the service on board. My only running on the whole voyage was the photograph desk where they seem to work for themselves rather than the cruise line. Customer service seems to be at the bottom of their list, top of the list seems to be selling you overpriced photographs. The sooner MSC change the digital photograph sales the better across its entire fleet. All in all quite a good voyage. The people travelling to Europe I'm thinking of using a European cruise Line just remember that they are actually tailored to Europeans especially Italians and Germans. Who have very different ideas on queuing and pushing into Lines? Just remember when in Rome! Which is why we have started to do the same, or we worry about it less!. My *TIP* as always with getting good service treat the staff well and don't forget to add a tip where deserved, always works well for me to the point even returning to a ship I have met up with servicer that I have previously met and treated well on other ships and been given the first class service by not only them but their fellow servicer. Final words the ship is a beautiful ship with friendly staff and good service. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Just looked very nice from photos of which the decor was but the service was not at all great. The entertainment was really bad the shows were the same every night but with different costumes. Staff not at all friendly some actually rude. ... Read More
Just looked very nice from photos of which the decor was but the service was not at all great. The entertainment was really bad the shows were the same every night but with different costumes. Staff not at all friendly some actually rude. Staff in restaurant not at all friendly enough to hold a conversation or even get to know your name. Thought the food in restaurant was very simple no coffee or tea offered after dinner. Shuttle service from ship was well over priced in fact other shipping lines offer free shuttle services. The only thing going for MSc is you offer drinks packages of which help a great deal. The buffet on the 14th floor had the same food every single day not enough verity for our needs so if you did not like the menu for the day in the dinning rooms the buffet was even worse. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
The itinerary was what prompted me to take this cruise, the ship was luxurious and the staff very professional. The average rating comes from the main dining room food, small portions, and average quality. Some excursion staff is ... Read More
The itinerary was what prompted me to take this cruise, the ship was luxurious and the staff very professional. The average rating comes from the main dining room food, small portions, and average quality. Some excursion staff is sadly lacking in experience knowledge and organization! Missing excursion tickets, after several attempts and frustrating times dealing with the excursion staff at their counter, after quining up the day prior to the excursion. The day arrived for the excursion, but still no tickets. Again a very frustrating time at the excursion desk trying to explain my predicament and then finally a different staff member, just "reprinted" the required tickets, of cause I asked why not so in the first place?? Some on ship meeting points were too small and too many people squeezed into this space for too long at the time, very bad! Instead of leaving the ship as 1 group on the correct advertised time, guests were already on the tour bus and those on time were almost late! Bella balcony cabin has no chair, a cube. The theatre entertainment started to repeat after 7 days on a 14-day cruise. The gangway was often a problem, whether it was only 1 in use for passengers coming and going with a lot of elderly people in wheelchairs or walking difficulty, so a very slow process. Then some times the gangway in use was just too steep, even for a healthy person. Upon your return from your excursion, unlike many other cruises lines, there was No refreshing welcome drink and cool handtowel waiting for you........... Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Although this was a beautiful ship the level of customer care was well below any other cruise we have been on, very few of the crew spoke and barged past as if you weren't there.When we were waiting to embark we waited fot 1 1/2 hrs ... Read More
Although this was a beautiful ship the level of customer care was well below any other cruise we have been on, very few of the crew spoke and barged past as if you weren't there.When we were waiting to embark we waited fot 1 1/2 hrs in the queue because there was only 1 desk open when we finally got on board we were faced with another queue to register a credit card why could it not have been done all at once as on other cruises. It costs nothing to be polite perhaps the people who train them need training also. The food in the buffet was very dryed out and tasteless because to much was put out before anyone could eat it. I had a hot chocolate snatched from my hand by the person in charge of the drinks station and told it wasn't aloud as it wasn't breakfast time. The casino was always very smokey and that carried up to the floor above not nice for non smokers.the wording in the brochure appeared to promise 2 days in Amsterdam our trip arrived there about 5 pm and we were picked back up at 7.45 the ship left the Dock at 6am definitely not 2 days. Every thing on board was at a charge the 3d cinema was a simulator 7 euros each for about 8 minutes all films on the TV were 7 euros each and the only TV programme in English was BBC World news and no music channel.The shows were very much of the same just using different costumes and the resident artists. Any information we were given at reception was usually wrong such as instruction on disembarking which deck and timings. Disembarking was made very difficult due to the steep angle of the gangplank. All in all we were very disappointed and we will not be cruising with them again. Non of the English people we spoke to on the cruise would travel with them again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
Free upgrade to balcony is why booked ,The embarkation took 2 hours of Queuing ,which seemed to be the way the rest of the cruise went,que for shore excursions to get on and off boat, the excursions were late and ... Read More
Free upgrade to balcony is why booked ,The embarkation took 2 hours of Queuing ,which seemed to be the way the rest of the cruise went,que for shore excursions to get on and off boat, the excursions were late and disorganized.Entertainment was in 5 different languages as were the trips,75 percent of ship were German and it was catered more for them all bars singing in German .The food is not catered for the British and what was like carvery meat tough and inedible roast potatoes oily and undercover Yorkshire puddings were rock hard . Hot water in urns not hot so Luke warm tea.Food dried up and not hot just warm .Food in restaurant menu very limited and not to British taste mostly meat not enough veg .Not enough lifts and we were constantly squashed .Cabin had no sofa so no where to sit only on bed which was rock hard and uncomfortable ,holes in curtain and sheets carpet had catches in .No extras had to pay for everything . Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Our fifth cruise but our first with MSC and certainly our last. I booked purely on the good reputation that MSC has, big mistake. No one informed us that the starting port for our 15 day cruise on MSC Preziosa from Southampton had in ... Read More
Our fifth cruise but our first with MSC and certainly our last. I booked purely on the good reputation that MSC has, big mistake. No one informed us that the starting port for our 15 day cruise on MSC Preziosa from Southampton had in fact been Hamburg and that every port we called at people would disembark and others would embark amongst the passengers getting off for the day, which felt like we were on a ferry and not a relaxing cruise. All it caused was endless queues and disruptions both on and off the ship. The ship itself is stunning and very clean with staff always cleaning wherever we chose to be. Our balcony cabin on the tenth deck was superb. However, where to start. I had prerequested a table for two in the restaurant and was told to confirm once on board which I tried to do, only to be told everyone in the long queue had requested the same and we would be on a waiting list, never to be contacted again. Now the lack of information about the starting point became clear, all the two seater tables had long since been allocated. Our cruise cards did not include our drinks package, so off to stand in another long queue at reception to get that rectified. Sat on a six seater table in the restaurant on the night with people we had never met and it took just short of two hours to serve us three courses of very small portions with very little choice. It was the last time we frequented the restaurant but listening to other couples later in the cruise they were ordering multiple portions with one couple even ordering a main for a starter and two mains for a main an not because they were greedy, I kid you not. We ate the remainder of our meals in the Inca self service where the food always looked desirable and well cooked with plenty of choice but alas none of it was ever hot. Full English warm, curries warm, carvery warm, the heated counters were never turned on, the later you arrived the colder it all got. Only hot food were pizzas late at night. Oh how I wished I had read previous reviews First port of call was Guernsey one and a half hours waiting and queuing to get off and one hour queuing to get back on. Can't believe someone got paid to design the sports bar, four bays with three not so big televisions in each all situated behind the heads of the people sitting in the fixed seats in front of them, please just raise the televisions by a metre. My wife and myself are in our sixties but the idea of having flamingo dance lessons in the disco at 11.30 pm came as quite a surprise, the following night was Irish dance lessons at the same time Shuttle bus charges at the ports were extortionate with no mention that some times there are free port buses and sometimes it is just a stroll into the city centre (Rotterdam springs to mind) We were disturbed to witness a lifeguard assisting a parent physically lifting his large teenage son out of a wheelchair and into a jacuzzi all on a wet floor in the bathing area ( a health and safety nightmare). A fitted hoist would be a good addition for such circumstances. Overnight stay in Rotterdam was a farce, arrived early afternoon and set sail early next morning, so not the long "explore the sights" stop that the itinerary impression gave. Four days before the end of our cruise we had a leaflet informing us that no duty free could be bought after Hamburg "the start port" for what reason we are still baffled. Once we left Hamburg "the start port" to continue our cruise we found we were now on a mini cruise with new people that had embarked there, calling in at Le Harve, Southampton (our finish), Zeebrugge, Rotterdam and back to Hamburg. Strangely the standard of entertainment and quality of food suddenly improved, I can only assume this was to encourage mini cruisers to book longer cruises after this taster. In my opinion the many negative reviews for this ship do not lie, we shall not make this mistake again Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose MSC because it looks luxurious inside and we wanted to try something different. We've been on 10+ cruises from one week to 5 weeks each. Unfortunately, this cruise is geared for the German and European markets Staff at ... Read More
We chose MSC because it looks luxurious inside and we wanted to try something different. We've been on 10+ cruises from one week to 5 weeks each. Unfortunately, this cruise is geared for the German and European markets Staff at customer services weren't up to date with what was going on on the ship. I find there are certain nationalities who are excellent at customer services. It comes to them naturally and other nationalities need more training. They feel they are above the customer because they are wearing a uniform and whatever they say is final. Went to book an excursion for 6 of us and was told it had been fully booked since before we sailed! So why not take names and add on another coach? Those staff members need more training. They simply shrug their shoulders when they don't know something. There's machines on that floor to register your card to pay for expenses incurred for your cabin. Credit cards are not a problem as all charges automatically go on your card when you leave. Debit cards and cash however they charge an amount immediately and if there's money to be refunded you have to go to customer services and you're refunded in the ship's currency which is euros so beware if you put down cash in sterling. Tours were very expensive compared to other cruiseliners. In the ports shuttle buses were provided but you had to pay! From€6.90 to€15.60 return per person! So if you can't walk a mile you're stuck onboard in some ports. We got the hop on hop off in several cities to get our bearings and then got off and mooched. The drinks packages are good. 3 tiers and they include the bottled water. Cocktails were good as was the prosecco so the family were happy. Dining was fixed seating only at either 6:30 or 8:30 pm. It does give you the chance to get to know your waiters who are exceptional in their attention to detail. Nothing is ever too much trouble. Food was good. Portions smaller than average but you could order two entrees, mains or desserts. Unnecessary as there's always food everywhere. The buffet upstairs was hit and miss because it's divided into sections, the quietest being right at the back but the selection of food is not the same on both sides so you have to go right round 3 sections on both sides to suss out what's there before making your choice. Prime time is hell as usual trying to find a seat and at breakfast you have to ask for a banana at the fruit counter because they hide them behind? Pizza is being made all the time and was fresh and tasty if that's what you like. Lattes and cappuccino were included in the package which was a plus so you can get them in any coffee shop or bar onboard. Extra special Coffee with whipped cream or special syrups are separate. The ice-cream (yummy) was also included in the package and served in several bars. Maintenance on the ship is good. Crew are onto it all the time. You can see them everyday doing something on the lifeboats, painting the whirlpools and everything looks pristine. One main gripe would be the announcements over the tannoy. Five languages for every announcement. I know 3 and by the time they got to the Spanish they were rattling it off so fast you could barely understand it. How do other cruiseliners cope with only English?? Films: there aren't any. Big screen on deck is used for advertising. No deck chairs lined up for films, no popcorn! What a waste! Daily events: dance lessons in a venue that accommodates maybe 15 people and a quiz in five languages and MasterChef at Sea: they ask you 10 questions in 5 languages and then give you the answer in 5 languages. By the time you've reached the 10 the answer you've slid off your seat in exhaustion! Then on the next sea day they get the 6 finalists and ask them to arrange some salad leaves on a plate to be judged by the ship's chefs. This show's format doesn't really adapt itself to at sea since you're on a stage and you can't cook on it (health and safety). Beautiful theatre, the best I've seen. You can see the stage from wherever you are. Productions were average. Swiss magician very good. Talks were only about ports selling you the excursions. They could have used that theatre for films in all languages. Not one. Library non existent. It's part of a seating area with one small shelf for English with a handful of books and a few magazines previous customers have obviously left. So, download books onto your Kindle or stream your films before going. This cruise was Mediterranean and Europe so G4 was available except when out at sea where the ship's mast took over and you went onto maritime satellite network which can crucify you so put your phone on airplane mode when you leave port. We had a good time because we were a family of grownups and played cards and games for entertainment. Drinks and food were good and we did our own thing on a beautiful ship. Make of this what you will Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
My wife and I have cruised with several lines but it has been Royal Caribbean for the last few years. However, we had a number of issues on our last trip with them so we decided it was time for a change. We were attracted to this cruise ... Read More
My wife and I have cruised with several lines but it has been Royal Caribbean for the last few years. However, we had a number of issues on our last trip with them so we decided it was time for a change. We were attracted to this cruise with MSC (who we hadn't used before) because of the interesting itinerary and they were offering a good deal on a Fantastica balcony. Also, MSC matched our RCL Diamond Plus status which meant that we had a Black Card which gives their highest level of loyalty benefits. First impressions were very good indeed. Embarkation at Southampton was quick and easy and the ship was, in our view, the most attractive that we'd been on. It is both elegant and glitzy and the Swarovski staircase in the central atrium is stunning although I daresay some will find it OTT. Throughout the cruise the ship was kept spotlessly clean, both externally and internally. In fact, on numerous occasions when sitting in a bar we had to move out of the way of the guy vacuuming the carpet. My wife is disabled and uses a mobility scooter so we were lucky enough to get a disabled access cabin on deck 10 (10145). It was very nicely decorated and furnished and was more spacious than the Junior Suites we normally have with RCL. The only slight drawback was that drawer and hanging space for clothes was rather limited. We managed but four people in the cabin (it has a sofa bed) would struggle. With the possible exception of Guest Relations and Excursion Desk staff, who were rather supercilious at times, the crew, bar staff, waiters etc were friendly and helpful. My wife spends a lot of time in the cabin because of her lack of mobility and our cabin attendant, Jovi, went out of his way to look after her. This all round helpfulness is perhaps surprising in view of what we learned from other passengers and crew members about the crew's pay and working conditions. My wife and I are smokers and one reason for moving away from RCL is that the latter are constantly making their smoking policy more and more restrictive and on most of their ships there is now nowhere indoors where smoking is permitted. This is just about acceptable when it's warm and sunny but cruises from Southampton often involve chilly, wet and windy weather for the first and last two or three days. On Preziosa there are several outside smoking areas and smoking is also allowed in the Casino and in a very pleasant little smoking room attached to it. We found this a big plus point but I do realise that others will regard it as a negative! Unfortunately, however, there were numerous drawbacks which detracted from our overall enjoyment. There is no facility for registering a credit or debit card for your on board account during the online checkin process as there is with RCL. When you board the ship you have to find a card terminal and laboriously enter the requested details. If, as my wife does, you use a debit card they immediately take a minimum of 250 Euro from it and if, like my wife, you don't spend that much during the cruise you have to queue at Guest Services on the last evening for a refund which they give you in cash (Euros). MSC have a 'hop on, hop off' policy so there were many passengers embarking or disembarking at every port of call as well as those just getting on and off for excursions etc. At several ports this contraflow of passengers resulted in congestion and queues because the gangways were only wide enough for people to go in one direction. It took me an hour to get back on the ship in Hamburg, for example. This cruise originated in Hamburg and we were told that there were 3000 Germans on board as against 800 from the UK. Germans do have an unfortunate reputation for rudeness and arrogance and I'm afraid that on this cruise many of them lived up to it. Queuing politely seems an alien concept and some would almost climb over my wife on her scooter to get into a lift first. There appears to be a rising tendency for cruise ships to dock in the outer reaches of ports and this happened in Brest, Malaga, Hamburg and Le Havre. In addition, Guernsey involved tendering whilst the itinerary included Amsterdam but it was changed to Rotterdam. As we booked before the change was announced we were given a free coach transfer to Amsterdam but because the ship was late in arriving in Rotterdam and it took an age to board the coach there were only two and a half hours' free time in Amsterdam instead of the four originally scheduled. Yet the ship didn't leave Rotterdam until the following morning so why the rush to get everyone back? Shuttle buses were provided in some ports but were charged for - up to 15 Euro pp which we and many others thought was unreasonable, not so much the level of the charge but the fact that they charged at all. Moreover, the buses provided were usually normal type coaches which meant my wife couldn't use them (hence she was unable to do the Amsterdam transfer) because she is unable to climb up the steps. Full disabled access buses were to be found in some ports but information on the ship regarding their availability ranged from sketchy to non-existent. Consequently, my wife was only able to leave the ship with her scooter in Lisbon, Cadiz and Vigo (the latter was, in fact, another change in the itinerary because we should have gone to La Coruna). Even then there was a problem because in Cadiz the steep angle of the gangway meant that she had great difficulty in manoeuvring her scooter on it. In fact, we heard that two passengers in wheelchairs had actually fallen out of them at the end of the gangway. We did mention these problems and were told that the steepness of the gangway was due to the state of the tide but we have been to Cadiz many times with RCL and had no trouble at all. Still on the subject of embarkation and disembarkation, when we arrived back at Southampton we found ourselves at a different terminal (Mayflower) from the one we had left from (City). We weren't told about this beforehand and most people didn't realise it until they came out of the Mayflower terminal building. This caused a problem for those who had arranged to be met by relatives or friends, had booked taxis or left their cars at the City terminal car parks, in other words the vast majority. Shuttle buses (free!) were provided back to City terminal and its car parks but the process, including loading luggage on to the shuttles, was time consuming and frustrating. In our case, because my wife couldn't get on the bus, I left her and our luggage at Mayflower, took the shuttle to City, picked up the car and drove back to Mayflower. In view of the above comments we think that MSC need to have a good look at their general organisation, particularly their procedures for embarkation/disembarkation at all ports and also for giving out information. We were aware that announcements over the PA system would be in 6 languages but English was always first so we could ignore the rest. Eventually, however, the constant babble really irritated us, particularly when it meant that you couldn't have a conversation because of it. The positive side was that there were less exhortations to buy or do something than on RCL ships and, thankfully, there was no dreaded Art Auction! We're not ones for shows so we didn't go to the theatre but others we spoke to that did said they were a mixed bag. There wasn't an awful lot in the daily programme and RCL are much better in that respect but we do appreciate the difficulties in catering for a multi-national complement of passengers. Live music in the bars and lounges was pleasant but not memorable. No British TV channels in the cabin except BBC World News. Dining. The Inca buffet is similar in layout and operation to the Windjammer on RCL ships but we felt that the Windjammer offers a bigger choice and better quality. Breakfast was fine (except for a perennial shortage of mushrooms and bananas) but the choice at lunch and dinner was such that there wasn't much we fancied. Having said that, the burgers and pizza were excellent. However, my wife finds it difficult to use the buffet when she's on her scooter because the dishes are too high for her to reach. In addition, the cards on the counter describing the dishes were too high and in print too small for her to read. Because of this she had breakfast in the cabin every day and we had most of our lunches and dinners in the MDR (Golden Lobster). We always have MyTime dining with RCL but that wasn't available to us on Preziosa so we had to choose between 6.00 pm and 8.30 pm sittings, neither of which really suited us because the first (which we chose) was too early and the second too late. And in the second week the early sitting was brought forward to 5.45 pm. The service was excellent but the food was essentially the same as in Inca and generally ranged from poor to mediocre with a quite good dish occasionally, but not often enough, making an appearance. It was frequently not hot enough, portions were small, meat was generally tough, there were hardly any vegetables and, despite the fancy Michelin type descriptions, it wasn't aimed at British tastes (yet MSC made a big thing about providing kettles and Yorkshire Tea in cabins for the benefit of the British). There was a choice of six main courses but the first two were always some sort of pasta and risotto, the third was fish and the last was a vegetarian option so really there wasn't a lot of choice or variety. And some of the combinations were strange. Leek and potato soup frequently appeared which should have been fine but they'd added shrimps to it which put many people off. And how about asparagus soup with tapioca pearls or steamed cod with raisins and onions? My wife got so fed up with it all that one evening we ordered a T-bone steak to share (24 Euro supplement) but it was so tough as to be inedible. In the past we have complained about the food on RCL ships but it's streets ahead of MSC. There should have been three speciality restaurants we could have gone to but Eataly wasn't open, we didn't fancy the one serving Japanese sushi and Butcher's Cut was closed for refurbishment. However, the latter did re-open on our last night so we went there. It was a complete contrast to the Golden Lobster and we had the best steak dinner we've had in a long time so they can do it if they try (and you're prepared to pay). However, even better was that one of the Black Card benefits is a meal in a speciality restaurant so it didn't cost us anything extra. So, to summarise the major pros and cons: Good: Beautiful, elegant and well appointed ship. Spotlessly clean. Lovely cabin. Good service from friendly staff. Nice little perks with the Black Card. Excellent dining in Butcher's Cut. Reasonable provision for smokers. Not so good: Unsatisfactory arrangements for getting off and on the ship during and at the end of the cruise, particularly for anyone disabled. General organisation, communication and dissemination of information poor. Annoying multi-lingual PA announcements. Indifferent shows, entertainment and activities. Mediocre food (except in Butcher's Cut). As for a comparison between MSC and RCL, we think that the Preziosa was nicer and better maintained than the RCL ships we've been on and it almost made them look rather shabby. MSC prices are cheaper, too. Food and on board activities are better on RCL and the way they run the cruise operation is very slick which makes MSC look amateurish. Would we go with MSC again? Probably not but I see that Indy's cruises out of Southampton next year have been cancelled so you never know........ Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We completed our 15 nights Northern Europe cruise which set sail from Southampton Port on 30 April 2019. There were 6 of us, my husband and I and 2 other couples. After booking the cruise, I had cold feet when I read the many negative ... Read More
We completed our 15 nights Northern Europe cruise which set sail from Southampton Port on 30 April 2019. There were 6 of us, my husband and I and 2 other couples. After booking the cruise, I had cold feet when I read the many negative reviews on Cruise Critic. So I switched from a balcony room to an interior as I was not going to pay for a poor experience. However the whole cruise turned out to be unexpectedly good. Embarkation started at 3 pm despite some passengers saying you could get a queue ticket when you arrive at Southampton. We were there at 11.30 am and checked in our luggage before walking out to Ikea for lunch. When we returned, embarkation had already started and we had to join a queue which took almost 30 minutes to clear. Once on board, we headed to the activation machines to link our credit card to our cruise card. There was hardly any queue at the counter throughout our stay, which was good as we could have our queries attended to quickly. All the counter staff speak English and were quite polite. The muster drill was quite well organised. We headed to the theatre where there was a staff briefing everyone. After that, we were lead to our muster station. About 5 days before we disembarked, there was a talk about disembarkation in the theatre. Again the speaker was very clear when she briefed us. Just 2 days before we disembarked at Southampton, some officials from the British immigration came on board to have a "face to face" interview with us. Our passports were stamped and we could walk off the ship on day of disembarkation as we opted for self assisted disembarkation. I was quite worried we wouldn't be able to disembark in time to meet our driver but all ended all. Speaking of entertainment, I must say it was lack lustre. Having so many nationalities on board it must have been difficult to plan any entertainment. The ship is actually a shuttle ship as people embarked and disembarked at various ports. This was not too bad as there was no jam when we embarked and disembarked at Southamption. The ship did not berth at La Coruna because of bad weather but made a stop instead at Vigo. The change in schedule was handled very well and an announcement was made throughout the ship, including our rooms. Notices were also sent to m our cabin quickly. Very professional. We booked a Bella experience which was the most basic experience. No room service unless you pay for it. There was also no body lotion in the bathroom. But we had a kettle and tea and coffee making facilities in the room and that was a big bonus as we did not have to top up our drinking bottles every night. Another bonus was that breakfast and lunch were served in the main dining room everyday, whether it's a sea day or port day. In other cruise lines, there were breakfast and lunch in the main dining room only on sea days. Though no free drinks were served in the main dining room except during breakfast, it was not a big problem because we could order a bottle of plain water or go up to the buffet restaurant after our meal. The menu in the main dining room changed everyday, except for breakfast, and it was well presented. The buffet restaurant also had a wide variety of food but the menu didn't change very much. Pizzas were good and they were very generous with the fruits although no berries were served. I am quite a fussy eater and am happy to say I am happy with the food served. I didn't take any shore excursions from the ship so cannot comment about it. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
. . we have just been on MSC Preziosa 30th April - 15th May . . . brilliant cruise, beautiful ship, good food, friendly staff, great entertainment and theatre shows . . . and a free premium drinks package - what’s not to like ? We ... Read More
. . we have just been on MSC Preziosa 30th April - 15th May . . . brilliant cruise, beautiful ship, good food, friendly staff, great entertainment and theatre shows . . . and a free premium drinks package - what’s not to like ? We have been on over 20 cruises with P&O, Princess etc, and this goes down as one of the best. On a few points that people have mentioned :- 1/. No need to hang around for two hours and make the coach late - passengers with independent travel arrangements are able arrange a disembarkation time to suit. 2/. 4000 plus passengers getting on & off at ports - why would you expect NOT to queue at times. Chill - have a leisurely breakfast whilst the rush goes ashore and then just walk off without a problem. We got off the ship at every port and only had to queue once. 3/. Our (table for 6) food in the Golden Lobster was always good, with extra vegetables brought out and sometimes one of the other meals on the menu to share. We even had meals that our waiters told us about that weren’t on the menu ! Double ice cream on the desserts - lovely ! It seems like some people are never happy - unless they are complaining Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
This was our fourth cruise with MSC and the second on the Preziosa. This is a beautiful ship and we were happy to be back on board. We enjoy the multi-national feel of the passenger list. My partner is disabled and confined to a ... Read More
This was our fourth cruise with MSC and the second on the Preziosa. This is a beautiful ship and we were happy to be back on board. We enjoy the multi-national feel of the passenger list. My partner is disabled and confined to a wheelchair and for the most part we were offered plenty of assistance by the always friendly and helpful staff. Embarcation in Southampton was quick and efficient and we were soon in our cabin. We had an accessible cabin on deck 9 with plenty of room to manoeuvre the wheelchair, a roll in shower and toilet with plenty of grab rails around the walls and a ramp to easily access the balcony. The decor was very pleasant and our cabin steward kept everything neat and clean. Also we were near the front of the ship and the nearby lifts seemed to be much more available than those around the busy atrium area. On the whole meals in the dining room were excellent with plenty of choice. Some people have complained that the portions were small which, admittedly, they were but the menu clearly stated that additional items such as vegetables were always available and we always ate enough. The waiters were wonderful and eager to please. Whenever we visited the buffet the choice was amazing although I can't comment on the temperature of the hot food as we tried to eat healthy and stick to the salad options. The one area where we felt let down was the excursion choice. For the most part we are happy to be independent and do our own exploring which is just as well because all the organised excursions required participants to be able to climb the coach steps and in Hamburg we were advised that even the shuttle buses were not accessible. Like it or not, cruises are popular with disabled and elderly passengers and it's frustrating in this day and age that people with mobility issues can not be catered for in this respect. Assistance was offered for final disembarkation but only one steward seemed to be helping when we arrived. We gave up waiting and found our own way off the ship. We tend to book our cruises well in advance to ensure we get an accessible cabin so tend to miss out on last minute offers. For the price, however, we believe MSC offers great value for money. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
What we liked : - Beautiful ship - Cabin is fine and was kept very clean, the cabin steward did a great job. - Disembarkation was very smooth, we were allowed to stay on board till around 10 o'clock which is appreciated. ... Read More
What we liked : - Beautiful ship - Cabin is fine and was kept very clean, the cabin steward did a great job. - Disembarkation was very smooth, we were allowed to stay on board till around 10 o'clock which is appreciated. What we disliked : - embarkation was bad. We arrived around 13:00 and was not even allowed to get into the departure building and had to wait in the waiting area at the arrival hall (this is Southampton). They started to call for black card members to go to the departure building around 1400 and after that the rest of the passengers. So around 1415 all guests waiting at the waiting area went over to the departure building where a huge line formed. It took more than 45 minutes to go through this line which is totally not necessary if they would let you wait in the departure area when you arrive. -Food is bad, buffet food always only lukewarm and old (sitting there for too long )At first, we thought it was because we had late lunch, due to the bad embarkation process, we only got on the ship at around 1530 so quite late. Next day, we went at 1230 when the lunch started and the food was also cold or lukewarm. No matter what time you go there, food is just not warm. Breakfast is much better as sometimes you will get hot and fresh pastry items. Limited choices in the MDR and food quality is average at best. -We could not get our desired dining time(even we have booked the Fantastica experience). We went to see the restaurant manager on embarkation day but he would only get us on a waitlist and we never heard back from him. We prefer 1e sitting but was not able to get that and 2e sitting is just too late for us.(dining at 21:00 is just not our thing) -service is hit and miss. We did have an excellent server but we also encountered some very rude staff. (guest services, photo studio staff etc) We don’t expect service to the extreme but do expect to be treated friendly and courteous but it is not always the case. -Entertainment lacking. Shows were bad too, only 1 or 2 shows that was good, other than that just a singer or two singing a few songs. This is not what I expect to see in the theater every night. Lacking activities, there is not much to do on board. Just some dance lessons, stretch exercise and a trivia that is done in 5 languages. It's a pain to sit through that. Most people just sit in the different bars/lounges to listen to some music. Summary : I guess it is "you get what you pay for" but I do not feel we have paid a cheap price for this cruise so we do feel disappointed. If you have paid a bargain price then you may find things OK. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Dates fitted our holiday window, so we gave it a go. Lead up all went good, emails and info supplied. Boarding was swift and free from issues. Met by friendly staff and went to our cabin. Cabin was small but found it to be cosy ... Read More
Dates fitted our holiday window, so we gave it a go. Lead up all went good, emails and info supplied. Boarding was swift and free from issues. Met by friendly staff and went to our cabin. Cabin was small but found it to be cosy and well equipped. We had our first evening meal in the Lobster restaurant. We had different meals and found the food to be far from restaurant fair. Mostly tasteless with "Michelin style descriptions" which we did laugh at. We were led to a table for 6 first, and expected to join total strangers, after me asking for a table for two, this was arranged with little effort. I don't mind the odd night with strangers, but this would have been set in stone for each and every night after. Due to the disappointment from the Lobster, we used the buffet on night two. Food average and fairly well laid out with a fairly good choice. Pizzas were fantastic without fail. Night three back to try the Lobster, food just as bad, completely tasteless and made up to be something to blow your mind, and really far from the descriptions again. The British head chef came out to meet everyone in the restaurant. I did make a joke to my wife,"If I was him I wouldn't show my face, service up that rubbish" I don't know if the chef is to blame, or the budget he has to work with. The entertainment was not great and had a distinctly European based feel, not really for the UK pallet. We do like a good drink and a dance to a good band. MSC did lack this for us. We had a bit of a culture shock regarding the general rudeness of the mixed European passengers, during leaving the ship on tours, particularly completely ignoring ques and just barging in anywhere. The same behaviour on the ship, while in the buffet and waiting for lifts. We generally don't do drink packages and usually buy as we go. The first night we ordered two beers with our meal and ended up with a bill for 14.95 Euros. This frankly is daylight robbery for two 33cl beers. We then filled our back pack with cans of beers during city visits and had no problem bringing these aboard, on our return. A bucket of ice and two cold beers later, then repeat. We also like a nice coffee, and found that the special coffees on offer were tasty, but very tiny and around 8.00 Euros for two. There is a lot on board that you find to your peril, after ordering, ending up with a larger than average bill for. There is also a charge of 14.95 Euros added to your room bill every day for tips, this does anger me as I have always been of the opinion that a tip is for service over and above the normal. We did remove all tips in the end, as felt that we were being ripped off at every turn by MSC, and felt this was our only form of getting our own back. We do give cash tips directly to staff who do give exceptional service. The ship is a stunning well equipped ship with as good as the best out there offer, however, we did feel that overall the mixing of several nationalities does tend to back fire to a large degree, the general poor quality of the food on offer and the very high prices charged for beverages does mark this ship/company down considerably. As we only went on this trip as a fill in break during Easter time off, and a break away, we did enjoy it generally, we did mange to laugh at the poor and miss described food, the rows and squabbles amongst passengers. The rip off prices, that led us to used plan B. The endless 6 language announcements that can grind you down. If you treat most things like water off a ducks back, then MSC is a great, different experience of cruising. Give MSC a go. If however you look for value for money, first class dining, a great time being entertained during your evenings with the drink flowing, without busting your wallets, I would leave MSC well alone and stick with the UK/USA ships instead. Happy Cruising....... Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
In the Yacht Club om this new addition to the MSC fleet... its difficult to know where to begin with our praises.. From the seamless and effortless boarding experiemce to the unrivalled attention by staff, to the excellent YC cuisine, We ... Read More
In the Yacht Club om this new addition to the MSC fleet... its difficult to know where to begin with our praises.. From the seamless and effortless boarding experiemce to the unrivalled attention by staff, to the excellent YC cuisine, We enjoyed a fantastic beef wellington on a couple of nights in the YC restaurant.. superb.. the wine list is great too.. its almost perfection and difficult to find any fault. A spacious suite provided both a comfortable nights sleep and a gtear place to sit and enjoy a prosecco or too on the large balcony and watch the sunset. The Yacht Club experiemce on MSC truly lives upto all they say amd more... If you fancy a change from Silversea, Cunard Queens grill or Oceania.. give it a go.. you will not be disappointed.. Top Sail lounge also provided a fabulous place to sit and be pampered with afternoon tea, tempting cocktails and inclusive beverages... Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Inaugural cruise of MSC Bellissima from Southampton to Lisbon. Boarding was easy and quick, although there was no special welcome onboard for the inaugural cruise. The cabin was small, storage space was very limited and toiletries ... Read More
Inaugural cruise of MSC Bellissima from Southampton to Lisbon. Boarding was easy and quick, although there was no special welcome onboard for the inaugural cruise. The cabin was small, storage space was very limited and toiletries were minimal MSC-branded shower gel and shampoo in dispensers in the shower). The wardrobe was very small, dresses and jackets had to be hung at an angle as the depth would not accommodate them hanging sideways. The most annoying aspect of the cabin was "Zoe", an Alexa-style voice-operated assistant. Zoe's sole response to any question was to recommend caling customer services. About as useful as a chocolate teapot (not that there was a teapot in the cabin!). There were no tea or coffee making facilities in the cabin. Signage to the muster stations was poor and confusing - not a good idea for emegency equipment and procedures. One marshall had his identification vest on inside out. When I pointed it out to him he shrugged. Not an acceptable attitude from someone who may be involved in evacuating passengers in an emergency! Food was average. We had a very good and attentive waiter at our table in the evenings and I couldn't fault him. However, there was not a sufficient variety of menu choices. Three choices of red meat and one of fish is not really the sort of balance that should be offered. The Market Street buffet was interesting. Why have signs above the serving stations indicating what is being served if the food at each station is different from the sign?( I wouldn't normally go to the "grill" station if I was looking for desert). Was the captain on board? We heard nothing from him throughout the five days of the voyage. The ship Dutch-rolled for the whole time we were on board. Admittedly, we were skirting round a storm in the Bay of Biscay and the weather precluded docking in La Coruna, but as an airline captain I wouldn't leave my passengers in the dark over the weather conditions and how long we expected them continue. The only announcement on the PA was to inform us that the port call in La Coruna would be cancelled - and that was from Guest Services. I don't know if the stabilisers were not deployed or were out of sequence, but they were not capable of dealing with moderate seas in the Bay of Biscay. It didn't roll as much as the recent Viking incident off Norway, but that ship had suffered a total power failure. MSC BEllissima didn't have that excuse. It just wasn't capable of dealing with the conditions, which weren't extreme by any measure. Not a ship for those prone to sea-sickness. The entertainment on offer was poor. Cirque de Solei was billed as the main attraction but did not perform or were not available. The only show we went to see was a mime artist. 35 minutes of my life that I won't get back! The final insult was on the morning after we arrived in Lisbon. We were due to disembark the following morning, so it was a lazy day, without the ship's rocking and rolling. At 8 A.M. we were woken by noise on our balcony. When we opened the curtains we discovered was cleaning staff hosing the balcony down and cleaning the deck furniture!!! One of them even asked if he could come through our cabin to go to the next one! (We told him where he could go with that idea!). Fortunately, we were sleeping with the curtains closed, otherwise the cleaners would have been able to look straight into our cabin. All of this at 8 A.M. I complained to the Guest Services staff and was told that someone would get back to me. Almost a month later and I am still waiting. Overall, this was a terrible cruise. I would not sail with MSC again. However, I am sure that, in time, we will look back and laugh at the whole dreadful experience. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
They say you shouldn’t ignore history and it’s advice I should have heeded myself. I had my first MSC experience last year and came away vowing I would never cruise with them again, then I saw the opportunity to join Bellissima’s ... Read More
They say you shouldn’t ignore history and it’s advice I should have heeded myself. I had my first MSC experience last year and came away vowing I would never cruise with them again, then I saw the opportunity to join Bellissima’s inaugural voyage. Maybe last year was a one off and I was unlucky, I thought. An inaugural voyage will be something special, I thought. It started well as the check-in process in Southampton was far smoother than in Genoa 13 months ago but that’s probably down to the better organisation of the port than MSC’s doing. We boarded a brand spanking new ship, it smelt new and was clean and gleaming. Arguably too gleaming as the Swarovski encrusted staircases in the main atrium certainly glistened but were they too chavvy and tacky. Much fanfare has been made of the 260’ long LED Skydome and, yes, it looks impressive but 95% of the time it has a static display, changing occasionally it is visually impressive. However more use could be made of it – it only comes to life three times a day when a much vaunted video display is shown – don’t stop doing anything else to watch one as it is distinctively underwhelming. Rather than using the video ceiling to its full potential it looks as though the mini-shows, rarely lasting longer than three minutes, have been produced by A-level students as part of a media project. If you’ve ever seen the LED show in Freemont Street in Las Vegas you will be bitterly disappointed with this effort …… it may be an idea for MSC to send someone to Vegas to see how the screen can be used to its full potential. Anyway, I digress, we made our way to the cabin which was easy to find but challenging to get into. Controlled by an NFC card, which doubled as a cruise card, the door seemingly unlocked but resolutely would not open. We tried both our cards several times but were still stuck outside our cabin. Luckily a passing cabin steward appeared and we explained the predicament and he showed us how to open the door. You present the key, press the handle and basically shoulder charge the door to gain entry ….. yes the door was so tight it was the only way to open it, although it did ease after a few days. The opposite of this was you had to give the door a hard push or slam to ensure it closed properly. The cabin itself was very narrow, there was only just room between the foot of the bed and the opposite wall to pass by comfortably. The wardrobe was small. The redeeming feature of the cabin was the bathroom, which was clean and, for a cruise ship, relatively spacious. We had to share the cabin with Zoe, who advertised as being your intelligent assistant, I would describe her as Alexa’s dumb, inbred cousin, with learning difficulties. Unless you were enquiring about something that could be sold to you her stock answer was to speak to a member of the crew or the information desk. Intelligent she wasn’t, annoying she very much was. Interestingly she was screwed to the desk, presumably to stop passengers throwing her overboard. The cabin creaked terribly, so much so I woke up more than once thinking someone was walking across the cabin. I have never known a ship roll so much, I can only assume the vessel has not been fitted with stabilisers or if it has, they were not working. One night the roll was so bad our beds actually slid across the cabin and all the toiletries in the bathroom fell off the shelves. Yet despite the obvious bad rolling, despite the first stop in La Coruna being cancelled due to the bad weather we heard nothing at all from the Captain or the bridge, he may as well not been there. Indeed, the only time the Captain deigned to mix with the passengers was for the photo opportunity. I have to say this custom of being photographed with the Captain strikes me as being odd …… why do it. If I catch a train I don’t want a photo with the driver, if I catch a bus I don’t want a photo with the driver, so why would I want a photograph of me with the driver of a ship? Speaking of photography, MSC seem to have a breeding colony of photographers as you cannot walk more than a few yards without one of the official photographers trying to get you to pose for yet another photograph, which you can buy at an extortionate price. The only place you seemed to be free of the photographers was in the toilets, although they’ll probably set up there next. Now, a subject dear to my heart, food. Quality tended to be hit and miss with food ranging from sublime (interestingly in the speciality restaurants) to poor with average being the general standard. Portion sizes in the main restaurant can be best described as frugal and, even on special nights, the meals were only three courses ….. some nights we came away from the restaurant feeling hungry. The individual waiting staff could not be faulted and they worked hard. Dinner on the first night was absolutely chaotic with massive gaps between courses and wrong orders being delivered. However, it was the first night and such problems were to be expected. In fairness by the third night service was slick and the correct meals appeared. For me the biggest “rip off” are their speciality restaurants. Yes, all cruise lines have speciality restaurants, which carry a premium price tag. Having already paid for meals in the main restaurant proper cruise lines like P&O and Cunard will charge a nominal cover charge, usually in the £20 - £30 range to eat in a speciality restaurant, something most passengers wouldn’t quibble at. MSC, on the other hand, are crafty. They describe their main restaurant meals as “complementary” – that was a surprise when I saw it in blue and white on the TV screen in my cabin. That means if you eat in a speciality restaurant on am MSC ship you aren’t upgrading your dining experience and paying a supplement, you are being charged full price and more. We paid €125 for a three course meal in in their Butchers Cut steakhouse restaurant and that was basically going for the “cheapest” filet steak. Yes the quality was good and the service excellent but still a lot of money for basically a steak, especially when you have supposedly already paid for a main meal. Of course there is also the buffet, the ruck and maul of dining. MSC is an Italian based cruise line and a large number of passengers on board are, therefore, Italian. Whilst it is generally wrong to begin stereotyping ,this does have an adverse impact on the enjoyment of the cruise …… especially if eating in the buffet. Dress codes seem to be optional, at best. One aspect of cruising I like are the formal nights where you dress up for dinner. With, again what I call traditional cruise lines, the code is strictly enforced. With MSC there is no enforcement whatsoever. On this cruise there were three “formal” or as they call them “elegant” nights. On the first one I would say 70% made the effort, the second about 30% and by the third one only about 10% made the effort. On one of the nights I was wearing my dinner jacket and the chap sitting next to me was wearing jeans and an open neck shirt ……. It makes you wonder why bother? Turning to entertainment and I use the term loosely. The London Theatre is small for the number of passengers, so much so you have to book if you want to guarantee a place, otherwise take part in a scrum for any remaining seats five minutes before the show starts. The shows from the in house team were OK, they were reasonably good singers, although the choreography was limited. What did spoil some of the shows was appalling lighting. There were some horrendous strobe effects, without any prior warning and spotlights, more often than not missed the intended performer. The other shows were a very clever and funny mime artist and the worlds worse ventriloquist – I’m not sure if he was deliberately bad or was just untalented, suffice to say many walked out and he was almost booed off stage. WE didn’t waste any money on excursions and we didn’t fall for any of the usual MSC cons. For example in Lisbon they were selling open bus tour tickets for the special price of €27, whereas you could buy the very same ticket on the bus for €22. They also still operate their big con job in Marseille where they charge €15.99 for a shuttle bus to the city centre and back, whereas if you’re prepared to take a 10 minute walk to the edge of the security area, the city of Marseille provide a free shuttle bus ……. of course MSC forget to tell you this. So, in summary, a new glittering ship, although it has to be said even after only a week the carpets in the corridors were beginning to look tatty. It is, however grossly overhyped and is very chavvy in places. It is the typical MSC experience where they set out to screw you for as much money as possible and you come away with a feeling of being ripped off. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
This was our first MSC cruise and we chose it as it was an inaugural cruise and we wanted to experience the best of MSC. We have taken many inaugural cruises from Southampton with NCL and RCI and have thoroughly enjoyed them especially ... Read More
This was our first MSC cruise and we chose it as it was an inaugural cruise and we wanted to experience the best of MSC. We have taken many inaugural cruises from Southampton with NCL and RCI and have thoroughly enjoyed them especially the extra effort the cruise lines make for inaugural sailings. However with this cruise it had all of the special feeling of a North Sea ferry trip, no effort was made by MSC to make this memorable, not even a glass of bubbly when you arrived on the ship. The ship is generally OK, the hype MSC made about how beautiful it is is way over the top, some parts are very good, others distinctly average. We had a balcony cabin which was OK for space but the storage facilities consisted of a single small wardrobe, OK for 2 people for a week but anything longer and you would be struggling. The cabin did not have any tea or coffee making facilities and strangely for a new ship only 1 USB point next to the power sockets. The new MSC toy “ZOE” an Amazon Echo type device did not work throughout the cruise and seemed a pointless gimmick. The cabin creaked and groaned continually with any movement of the ship, speaking to other guests most of the cabins had the same problem, no sleep one night due to the noise. We had an “All Inclusive” drinks package included in the fare when we booked with the travel agent, this “All Inclusive” package turned out to be extremely limited in that the only beer was Heineken and the wine selection was the cheap Italian rubbish. You could have spirits excluding the premium brands, however what constituted a premium brand was unclear and even the staff gave contradictory advice when asked. We had booked 6 months before the cruise and they had changed the packages after we booked, instead of moving everyone to the new packages they wanted people to pay to upgrade, very cheap and money grabbing. This change in packages brought much confusion with cruisers and bar staff not knowing what was in or excluded from the packages, we had 4 visits to the service desk to remove extra charges to our account. The weather in the first 4 days was not good and the visit to La Coruna was cancelled as the ship slowly sailed directly to Lisbon, the weather was poor but the sea conditions did not look particularly bad as we were on the edge of the storm. The ship however rolled continually and appeared to have no stabilisers or if they did they were completely ineffective. We have done many transatlantic cruises with much rougher sea condition and never experienced this amount of movement. During the rough weather the Captain made no announcements in fact he never bothered to make any during any part of the cruise. Similarly the cruise director was missing except to make an appearance in the theatre to introduce the acts. Overall the entertainment was poor compared to other cruise lines, all of the main theatre shows only lasted 35 minutes. Food in the complimentary restaurants and buffet was of a generally poor quality and the choice limited, we heard good reports from the speciality restaurants. A typical restaurant dinner service took around 2 hours for 3 courses, given the size of the portions it was hardly worth the time and effort. We found the staff to be pleasant and helpful, what let down the service was the poor organisation and systems in place. After this cruise we have decided not to use MSC again, we will be sticking to NCL, RCI and Celebrity for most of our cruising. MSC do some things well but overall they need to up their standards of organisation and customer care before we would cruise with them again. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
I'm not writing a cruise blog so don't expect a lengthy ramble of the pros and cons - this is a review so short(ish). Background - we have done 44 cruises. 7 have been on MSC of which 5 have been in Yacht Club. This inaugural ... Read More
I'm not writing a cruise blog so don't expect a lengthy ramble of the pros and cons - this is a review so short(ish). Background - we have done 44 cruises. 7 have been on MSC of which 5 have been in Yacht Club. This inaugural sailing was in YC too. Displaying the Union Jack upside down at the official launch of the ship was never going to be a vote winner but MSC managed to make what should have been an exciting, awe inspiring first cruise into the most boring, disorganised and disappointing cruise we have ever taken. People say - never go on a new ship for the first 6 months while they iron out the issues ans staff find their routines etc. What a load of rubbish. This ship boasts ZOE the first interactive AI virtual assistant at sea. Well, if you asked a question she was able to advise speaking to a staff member and she did try to turn on the TV but failed miserably. I did try to put her in the wardrobe but she is screwed to the desk (taking up extremely limited space) so we just unplugged her. Normally, the TV is the first place to pre-book all the shows for the week, make restaurant reservations, check your account, watch ship webcams, find the weather forecast, listen to the annoying safety briefings but none of that worked either - there were a handful of TV channels and that was it. Now, back to the "never cruise in first 6 months" argument. All of MSC ships have interactive TVs - they are not new to this ship - they are tried and tested and there is no reason for them not to work given they have been building the ship for 2 years. The same for Zoe, did they suddenly invent the thing a week before the cruise? None of the shows were announced until the night before the performance - why? Did the artists get on the day before their appearance? Given that the shows were so poor, I think they were too embarrassed to announce them. Our very first nights "entertainment" was a video of the launch party. That built the excitement ready for a mime artist, a couple doing a shadow show and a ventriloquist - all of which should have been condensed into one show (if at all). The whole thing was incredibly boring for the entire 9 night cruise. There were 3 "MSC shows" which at least added some sparkle and colour (they were nothing special but that is quite normal and manageable for their 30 min duration). We had some pretty rough seas for 3 days and the captain was absent from the PA system - in fact the PA system was used ONCE during the whole 9 days - no weather updates, no location updates, no amusing one-liners from any crew member at all. So, Yacht Club - billed as "an exclusive haven of refinement". I have always liked YC - it has never been as good as the hype but it is far, far better than a standard MSC cruise (or should be). My main gripe was the food - or rather the lack of food quality. YC menus are normally full of exciting exclusive dishes - not dozens of choices but better quality meals. Not on this cruise they weren't. Elegant Night choices were particularly disappointing - lobster tail was the only highlight but even that was a battle involving my wife and then the waiter in an attempt to remove it from its shell. MSC had announced a signature dish from Raymond Blanc for this ship - nope, they were probably still trying to get Zoe to find the Raymond Blanc cook book. A "complaint" the the restaurant manager was met with "well, I don't write the menu". That guy did not smile once during the entire cruise - I have never met anyone with so little personality in 44 cruises. Shocking. I watched as he approached guests and just stood there creating an uncomfortable "stand off". The YC Grill on the sun deck was limited and they were clueless - one day, a small choice of warm (never hot) dishes were suddenly removed and replaced with chips and fried food plus four tall hatted chefs trying to cope when more than 10 guests appeared at the food counter - these are professionals? Staff would not allow you to select your choice of food and insisted they serve the food from the dish to your plate - that alone resulted in long queues and was a joke when trying to select salad items. "Chefs" appeared every day to take dozens of photos of the food layout; only to re-arrange it by millimetres before taking dozens more photos. It was laughable to watch them as they worried more about presenting the food than they did the taste and quality. These were experienced crew who had vast experience on other MSC ships - but they were just clueless. RAJ at the YC Concierge desk was amazing (I hope MSC don't zap his enthusiasm as they appear to do with so many). Did we get an amazing experience in YC - definitely not. Did we feel MSC had pulled out all the stops to make this inaugural cruise something special - do I even need to answer. We have one more MSC cruise booked, but are now looking to cancel it based on how shockingly bad this March 4th sailing from Southampton was. I'm not prepared to spend my hard earned money on a cruise line with such a laid back, couldn't care less attitude toward its guests. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
The embarkation at Southampton was very smooth, we arrived early and we were allowed to board straight away. When we first boarded it was clear to see that it was a beautiful ship, however we soon noticed it downsides. When we arrived at ... Read More
The embarkation at Southampton was very smooth, we arrived early and we were allowed to board straight away. When we first boarded it was clear to see that it was a beautiful ship, however we soon noticed it downsides. When we arrived at our Balcony Cabin it was very narrow and the bathroom was very small. There was tissues in the wall right next to the toilet which we thought was very unhygienic, the wardrobe hanging space was very small and there was no tea or coffee making facilities in the Cabin. The food in the main dining area was not enough and we had to ask for vegetables to fill the plate, what you did get was tasty but you had to wait a while for it to be served. The Market Place Buffet on deck 15 was like a Cattle Market so we did not use this very much. The entertainment was very poor and only lasted 35 minutes each night, in fact when we had at sea days we were very bored because there was nothing much to do. The main entertainment throughout the day was in the Bellissima Lounge which was too small and people were dancing in the main walkway because there was not enough space on the dance floor. We found the service in most of the bars to be poor and we actually walked out of three bars because we had difficulty getting served. Although I must say this did seem to improve on the last couple of days. We could not stop at La Coruna because of the poor weather conditions, not once did the Captain speak over the PA System to advise his passangers to expect adverse weather conditions, in fact we never heard or saw of him at all, even though it was really bad. The overall service was unorganised and the information given was very poor. The MSC App for your phone was good when they managed to supply the correct information. There was not enough seating areas in the Champayne and Cocktail bars, the Sky Lounge was ok but only if you liked Jazz music. The Liabary was a joke, it consisted of three shelves but only one shelf was full, this was next to the Champagne Bar. Overall I think MSC are relying on the beauty of the Ship and are not paying enough attention to the Fare paying Passengers. We will not be cruising with MSC again for sure. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Inaugural cruise promised so much and delivered so little. Here are just some of the issues: * Wardrobe doors. Very cheap sliding doors that constantly jam! * Wardrobe depth too shallow to hang clothes unless hung diagonally. * ... Read More
Inaugural cruise promised so much and delivered so little. Here are just some of the issues: * Wardrobe doors. Very cheap sliding doors that constantly jam! * Wardrobe depth too shallow to hang clothes unless hung diagonally. * Costantly creaking cabin, banging within walls and creaking balcony door frame. * Limited food options without paying upto €30+++pp in specialist restaurants. * Very poor customer service . * Few lounges apart from those reserved for Yatch Club. * Zoe completely useless, cannot answer any on board of off board questions. Bluetooth will pair to be device but it's bluetooth is too slow to be of any use. * No cabin extras such as toiletries,  not even pencil. * They should have spent more on a decent cabin structures rather than Bling in the public areas. * Untested and or unfriendly technology Zoe etc, tv, interactive screens on deck. No English entertainment channels. * 6 March glasses smashed and bottles fell off shelfs. Chairs slid across the buffet restaurant. In my opinion this ship was close to its limits that night. * TOP ENTERTAINMENT! Hand shadows was the gala night entertainment!!!!! The main restaurant staff were brilliant despite the small portions they had to serve up to guests. I have taken 20 previous cruises across 6 now 7 cruise lines, and MSC has been by far the worst in terms of entertainment, food, facilities, and staff. The Captain did not address the guests once despite abandoning one of the ports of call (La Caruna ) Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Chose this as a short cruise for a last minute break. Was looking forward to travelling as one of the first passengers on a brand new ship. As seasoned cruisers, this was our 15th Cruise (RCI, Princess, NCL, TUI) but 1st on MSC (my 2nd but ... Read More
Chose this as a short cruise for a last minute break. Was looking forward to travelling as one of the first passengers on a brand new ship. As seasoned cruisers, this was our 15th Cruise (RCI, Princess, NCL, TUI) but 1st on MSC (my 2nd but 1st for my husband - I was looking for a vast improvement in the entertainment from last msc trip last year). I’ve only given 2 stars ‘cos I’ve come home really disappointed with the cruise and quite glad it’s over. This is not my usual reaction after a cruise, you’ve usually to shoehorn me off and I’m planning the next one before I’ve collected my luggage. I will definitely cruise again but NOT with MSC. First thing to say was that the weather could not have been much worse for the first 4 days of this cruise. It was so bad that we could not port for the first stop and so had Monday to Thursday at sea. It was extremely windy and boy did the ship roll! Glasses were falling, chairs rolling across the deck, stuff falling off shelves and people learning how to walk in a zig zag pattern. The outside doors were kept shut. This was actually quite worrying at times and there was no reassurance from the staff at any time. The only announcement made was to tell us we were not going to La Coruna. The staff were not very helpful either, choosing to ignore trays of tumblers falling and let passengers clear them up. The weather was not MSC’s fault, obviously, but some reassurance from the bridge that the ship was well equipped to cope wouldn’t have gone amiss. Staff were in general fairly non engaging. Didn’t meet the cabin steward and no card in our cabin with their details. Usually had to go looking for bar staff for a drink around the pool area (inside) and always waited ages to get served in bars. This was something I also experienced on Magnifica last year. Buffet staff generally looked bored or tired and restaurant waiter was inconsistent, sometimes rushing and at other times really slow and generally didn’t speak much other than to take our food orders, We always had to ask to have a drink order taken. No one really seemed to make an effort. Even when we went to have a look at the thermal spa area we’re were only allowed to look at the door from a distance, not allowed to look in to see if it was somewhere we might want to pay to use, needless to say we didn’t! Onto the rest of the cruise- THE CABIN - inside 10290. Small sized cabin, very comfy bed, nice layout BUT.....VERY small wardrobe space. Two doors about 50cm wide each, one side full length other side half length with 2 small (undies only sized) drawers and a high shelf across both sides. That was it for storage! Was just enough for 2 of us for 5 days but hopeless for much longer. No other storage in the room apart from a tiny drawer with the hairdryer and a small bedside shelf big enough for the pj’s. Fortunately room under bed for suitcases and we kept all swimwear and other not used much clothing in them. Only space for my shoes in the wardrobe, hubbies had to line up on the floor. There was also the smallest safe I’ve seen in a room yet. Big enough for phones, wallets and passports but couldn’t get in Ipad, jewellery box etc that I would have normally had locked away. Shower room was very nice, large shower with glass door. No better storage here tho. Small shelf unit for makeup bag etc but only tiny cupboard under the sink so one toilet bag always on the floor. Goodness knows what it would be like for 2 people both with makeup and the accompanying toiletry products! Good magnifying mirror on the wall. THE FOOD - main restaurant (we had 6pm sitting in Lighthouse). When busy it will be impossible to get to the tables right at the back. Seemed really tight with no room between the tables. Had a table for 4, would normally ask for one for 2 but we were very lucky and had 2 lovely table companions. Menu was fairly limited, not to our taste as we’re not fish lovers, and didn’t really have a ‘safe’ option for each course. Hubby skipped the starter as nothing appealed which is fine, his choice, but the staff didn’t seem to understand this and despite requesting that he just wait till the rest of us were finished our starters he was served his main course at the same time as our starters and then sat with nothing while we had our main, happened 3 times and we saw it happen at other tables too. Market place buffet - Fine for breakfast (don’t expect Kellogg’s cereals tho’) and lunch. Full buffet area used and good choice available. Opens late afternoon for snacks and late night for pizza and sandwiches. Dinner was a real disappointment tho. We usually eat at the buffet for dinner at least a couple of nights on a cruise but this was a real let down. It’s on the door plan as ‘alternative dinner’ and I think they may mean ‘last resort’. Only about 1/4 of the area is open and the choice is very limited. Would normally expect to be able to try a variety of different things but ended up with grilled chicken carrots and chips. Was very nice, can’t fault the quality, but boring! Didn’t try speciality restaurants or outdoor eating on this cruise. ENTERTAINMENT - was what I now assume is typical MSC entertainment and certainly one of the reasons we will NOT be taking another MSC cruise. The Huge build up in advertising pre cruise for the 2 Cirque Du Soleil shows was one of the main reasons for booking this cruise. Had not been able to pre-book those shows on the cruise planner before we left home but wasn’t too worried, we checked the onboard booking system once on the ship and couldn’t get booked there either. Went straight to the booking desk for the show onboard only to find that there were no shows to book, they had been cancelled!! They were only doing one of the shows on the last night of our cruise and they were apparently fully booked so we were put on a reserve list. We later found out from our dinner table companions that an email had been sent out about 4-6 weeks before (before we booked) informing them that the shows had been cancelled however MSC continued to sell the cruise after that still advertising the shows! We did however get to see one Cirque show on the last night, by luck I think due to being the second name on the waitlist. It was an excellent show (only 30 mins tho’ and costs at least €15 each). Music played periodically in the atrium area - violin, cello type - fairly subdued never seemed to change and nothing else really happened in this are apart from the captains photos one night. Upbeat Duo sang in the tv studio most nights and were okay but didn’t really get everyone up dancing. They stopped for the karaoke about 10:30 every night. Duo in the pub sang middle of the road stuff, for what seemed like most of the time in fact still sang while football was being shown on the tv. Bellissima lounge was where ALL the entertainment staff were. Main function of this area seemed to be dance lessons, through he day and also slotted into the evening. If you weren’t interested in learning how to samba, rumba or salsa then there was not much else. 2 video trivia’s in 5 days (we like quizzes) and it’s hard going in 6 languages and several ‘games’ which mostly involved joining a huge queue up the promenade to throw corks or balls at a target. For this to be the main entertainment hub of he ship it needed to be much,much...much bigger with many more seats. Music always the same and not the party type for just getting up for a dance. White party did spill out onto the promenade one night and was a good atmosphere but again not really the usual party songs, duo from the tv studio sang and were very good but during their rest we had more let’s learn dancing in ‘5 very very eeeasy steps’. PINK show one night in the theatre was good but only 35 mins. Singer next night and mime artist on fourth were fair but only 35 mins. A magician did one morning show on the second day and he was okay but the theatre production was shocking, not sure if that’s why he didn’t appear again. Theatre doesn’t seem to get used during the day, don’t know why, and the Bellissima band, singers and dancers have an easy ride, looks like they only do one night a week!! Production team are in need of a fair bit of practice! Also, 5 day cruise and we still don’t know who the cruise director is! I think he must have been the guy who stood up and introduced the theatre acts - in 6 languages, but he never told us who he was. Generally we just felt there was not much to do on this cruise, we usually find ourselves planning sea days and evenings around all the different shows and planned entertainment on board and this just isn’t what happens on MSC. There just isn’t enough going on and certainly not enough variety. I think one reason is that everything has to be done in 6 languages and that just kills the atmosphere. All in all a nice ship but not nearly enough attention to entertainment or cruise experience. Too much emphasis on having to pay extra for so many things, even the poolside ice cream. MSC are not for us. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Firstly ours was a last minute booking approx 10 days before sailing, We have cruised on 20 plus cruises on most cruise lines and have never been loyal to any one line. We had never been on a maiden voyage before and when we saw this much ... Read More
Firstly ours was a last minute booking approx 10 days before sailing, We have cruised on 20 plus cruises on most cruise lines and have never been loyal to any one line. We had never been on a maiden voyage before and when we saw this much publicised launch advertised on MSC website at £249 pp for a 10 night maiden voyage in a balcony cabin, we felt we couldn't go far wrong for an extra £220 pp we upgraded to fantastica which gave us an excellent cabin location and also premium drinks package too. So that said for the price paid the cruise was ok, but compared to all others we have been on it was quite poor. The ship itself being brand new was sparkly and very light and airy, Dining was ok, quite good if you like seafood, with Squid, octopus and cuttlefish often appearing on the menu, the food was certainly more Mediterranean than other lines we have sailed previously, The entertainment was diabolical, really really poor, i know it must be difficult to cater for passengers from so many countries and languages, but the very short 35 minute shows were really poor. Maiden voyage!!! there was NOTHING at all was done to acknowledge the fact, no sail away parties, no fireworks, no glass of sparking wine on embarkation just nothing at all different than any other cruise. So all in all it was not a cruise i would repeat but at the price i guess we had no complaints and got what we paid for. Read Less
22 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Where to start with this one! A brand new ship with all the hype and excitement about it being the most beautiful ship in the world etc. Well it’s rather far fetched to say the least! Admittedly check in was very easy, and we got ... Read More
Where to start with this one! A brand new ship with all the hype and excitement about it being the most beautiful ship in the world etc. Well it’s rather far fetched to say the least! Admittedly check in was very easy, and we got straight on to the ship with total ease! But that is as far as it goes with the MSC Bellissima experience! We get to our cabins and my goodness they are narrow! The wardrobe is beyond a joke! Literally a single wardrobe! How on earth people who are on extended cruises will manage, I have no idea! And not even a cheap plastic pen left for us to be able to fill in the breakfast order form! Nothing, and I mean NOTHING special was done to make the guests feel excited about being on an inaugural voyage on a brand new ship! All the focus seems to be on how much money they can claw back out of you on board! Don’t waste your money! To save time I’m just going to list the problems! -don’t waste money on spa day pass! It’s overpriced and tiny for the size of the ship! And it gets packed by all the yacht club members who get to use it for free! -breakfast is the worst experience ever! People grabbing food! -shows are ghastly! And I mean atrocious! -all the hype of cirque du soleil and they didn’t perform once! -staff and officers taking up spaces in passenger areas, using phones etc! -captain didn’t speak to passengers once over PA system regarding the change in itinerary due to weather! -entertainment in general is terrible. There’s literally nothing going on! The hilight seems to be the cringeworthy dance classes that they do every day in the Bellissima lounge. Added to the fact there are like 20 creepy staff to try to force you to dance! -dinner in the complimentary restaurants is very slow and reminiscent of school dinners! - playing club music incredibly loudly in the pool deck at 8am! - physically inpossible to do a complete lap around the ship or go to the very front and watch sail in. The very front is reserved for yacht members only! So disappointing when I personally come on a ship in order to walk around and take in the views ! -bars on the ship seem to be just tables and chairs placed along the sides of the ship, with the millions of shops selling the same thing! However the gym is very good and the only place where I found the staff to be very friendly! Also, the dome ceiling is very cool! It does make a great impression on that side, with the ceiling shows. On the whole I really do think that MSC need to rethink this ship and how they deliver the kind of service that it should be getting. Would not recommend this ship Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We looked forward to the much hyped inaugural cruise on Bellisima. MSC are not that well known here in UK, and it was a great surprise that Southampton was chosen for the christening and inaugural cruise of this enormous ship, capable of ... Read More
We looked forward to the much hyped inaugural cruise on Bellisima. MSC are not that well known here in UK, and it was a great surprise that Southampton was chosen for the christening and inaugural cruise of this enormous ship, capable of carrying well over 4000 passengers. As we approached the harbour we we were astounded at the sheer size of the ship, but were delighted by how speedily we boarded. There were no words of welcome or proffered welcome drink, and guests milled about wondering which direction to take. Armed with a ship plan, we worked out the location of our deck 12 cabin, and after a few wrong turns we arrived. Our cabin was pleasant but rather dull, with dark furnishings, grey ceiling and mustard soft furnishings. The bed proved to be comfortable, the wardrobe adequate for a shorter cruise, but the cabin was dominated by a huge convertible sofa. The bathroom was a masterpiece of compact planning, with glass shower enclosure, wedge shaped sink and narrow counter. We’d luckily packed toiletries as those provided were generic MSC dispensers. The narrow balcony had 2 mesh chairs and small table to enjoy on sunny days. We tried out the innovative Zoe interactive system but found it confusing and irritating. After a 3 hour train journey, we decided that we’d find the buffet, a well laid out, but crowded , deck 15 area, with plenty of tables and a wide selection of dishes. Busy waiters rushed to serve drinks, and guests settled to enjoy all that the ship had to offer. After lunch, like everyone else, we explored this vast ship, with its long central domed LED displays above a range of shops, cafes and bars. It was a truly amazing spectacle to have this moving image display as one strolled the area. The central atrium is a delight, furnished in silver and soft greys with beautiful swarowski crystal staircases linking decks. We liked the cosy pub but were astounded by the paucity of the library, in reality 2 shelves of paperbacks, completely inadequate for a ship of this size, as many guests like to relax with a book when at sea. The top deck has a water park with water rides and a range of interactive gaming opportunities, several of which had to be booked , attracting a charge per use. The attractive pools areas are well furnished with sun loungers, sun beds and chairs, very popular when the sun shone, unlike many ships, there were life guards. Dining is well organised with 3 main dining rooms, several speciality restaurants as well as the separate yacht club area restaurant for suite guests. When booking a choice of dining times was offered. We had chosen a 6pm set time, and the dining room had plenty of tables for 2 , closely spaced. The dining room staff were well organised and efficient, and the menus varied daily. The restaurant was well run, the waiters friendly and helpful and the restarant manager Fabio a charming host. Most guests had a drinks package of some kind, but the basic wines on offer were decidedly unimpressive. We chose from the bar menus, enjoying some very good , varied , Italian wines. Like many others, towards the end of the cruise, we checked our account, discovering several errors. As it is a paper free billing system, it was a matter of queuing at the guest service desk to remedy the problems, a complicated business as the relevant department had to be consulted for each mistake. MSC needs to address this issue and simplify the system. Evening entertainment is very European in style, and with such a polyglot audience acts had to have a wide appeal, jugglers, shadow performers and ventriloquist are the norm, with the addition of a separate Cirque de Soleil showroom , performing just 2evenings on our cruise, despite the promise of it being. ACirque de soleil at sea cruise. The popular Bellisima bar was the liveliest spot, with live music, a tiny dance floor and a busy bar. We enjoyed a couple of evenings there, but seating is limited and it is a very crowded spot. Disembarkation was as well organised as at the start. A colour coded system worked well, with no crowding and a well organised system. Collecting luggage was a bit chaotic, as the area was small, but it all seemed to go quite smoothly and we were soon on our way. Read Less
Already Booked?

Get to know who you’ll be sailing with

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise