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6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
Before I start with my review, I would like to take a moment to rebuke all the paid trolls who have been mercilessly shaming MSC for their poor hospitality! Please find another brand to shame! Because in reality, the MSC experience was ... Read More
Before I start with my review, I would like to take a moment to rebuke all the paid trolls who have been mercilessly shaming MSC for their poor hospitality! Please find another brand to shame! Because in reality, the MSC experience was flawless!!! Also, for those looking to read my review, please beware - this is going to be a very long review - so grab a cup of coffee if you please! Background info: This was the first ever cruise of our life – I traveled with my parents, my sister and her family of 3, and my own family of 3 – we were a group of 8 people. And let me tell you, it was the best trip ever! I have no words to express how impeccable the entire experience was. We took a 7-night Norwegian Fjord cruise on the MSC Meraviglia, from Kiel, Germany. Being our first cruise, we had absolutely NO clue of how a cruise works, what we’re supposed to pack, how we’re supposed to reach the ship, how the whole experience would be – absolutely nothing! So, imagine our state of mind as we got down at Kiel station. Embarkation: As we come out of the station, wondering how to reach the ship, we see an MSC Counter set up right at the entrance. A handful of MSC employees, waiting to take our luggage (and placing it right outside our cabin rooms), arranging for our shuttle, and happily answering all questions we had with respect to reaching the ship! We took the shuttle an hour later, and reached the port in less than 20 minutes. A hundred more employees were stationed there, each guiding and directing us on the right path. 20 counters were set up for the embarkation formalities; we were done with all of it in 10 minutes flat. As we left the embarkation area, we were struck by the grandeur and the sheer size of Meraviglia – WHAT A BEAUTY she was!! Spotless! I had read online that the rooms take forever to get ready, and that luggage reaches the room only by night. Lies. Lies. Lies. We were aboard the ship at 4 – our rooms were ready – decorated with such warmth and love, and with our luggage neatly placed outside. Ship information: A 19 floor mammoth, Meraviglia was everything a cruise ship should be. While the first 4 four floors were reserved for the staff, the fun began from the 5th. Rooms spread over 10 floors, a hundred lifts to take you to your destination, entertainment, food, drinks, swimming pools – it had everything you could ever ask for! Room details: Because we made our bookings very late (only 6 months in advance), we couldn’t get the cheapest inner cabin rooms because they were all sold out, and thank god we didn’t! The Bella Balcony Stateroom was a dream! Anyone who says MSC rooms are too small – I don’t know what they expect!! Our rooms were the perfect size – a warm and cozy double-bed, with the sofa converted into a bed for our toddler. A tv and mini-bar attached, and a reasonably sized balcony with a stunning sea view! The bathroom was also very smartly designed with unlimited hand wash, shampoo, and body wash. Yes, the shower area was a little small, but frankly, it was inconsequential! Dining: A 20-hour market place buffet, a handful of other fine-dine and every day restaurants, ice cream parlors, cafes, bars and lounges. We found ourselves spending most of our free time at the marketplace buffet – what a variety of food – my god! Since all of us are vegetarians, our options were limited. But we, in no way, went hungry ever! The restaurant was always crowded, but we always managed to find a table – without having to push or shove. Every item was beautifully created, and served with equal amount of love! The views from the corner tables were spectacular! Our cruise plan also included dinner at the Olivo D Oro restaurant every night, where we could peacefully sit around a table, and enjoy a dining experience while having fulfilling conversations with the family. And the best part? Being Indians, we asked the host if the chef could prepare Indian food for us, and to our surprise, he did: not once, not twice – but every night for the entire duration of our stay! And not just Indian food, but also all the things that come with Indian food – including salad, pickle, pappadums, and yoghurt – no Indian meal is complete without these. I have to say, we have never been taken care of, so wonderfully, by any staff, anywhere in the world! It was our luck, that the host was an Indian himself; he took care of us like his family! Jamal Khan – I cannot thank you enough for your hospitality! Equal appreciation for Aryo, our server who smilingly took care of our needs – every night, night after night! Games: Shops, an interactive LED dome, gym, kids clubs, flight and car simulation zones, air hockey, mini-football field, bowling alley and more. We didn’t make use of the gaming zone was much as we would have liked to, but we still enjoyed whatever little we could! Activities: Outdoor swimming pool, indoor heated pool, a dozen 38 degree plus whirlpools – some with panoramic sea views, a waterpark on the 19th floor along with a Himalayan rope walk. The whirlpools were our favorite. After a tiring day at shore, spending sometime in the whirlpool was the best way to unwind! Entertainment: Innumerable entertainment options including Cirque de Soleil at sea, broadway shows, casino, spa, tv studio and the many everyday programs organized by the entertainment staff – including quiz, master chef at sea, bingo, karaoke, Zumba, dance, and more. I was, (and still am) SO amazed by the professionalism and perfection shown by every artist of the Broadway shows. 3 shows, every day, each day – probably by the same people. But what a variety. What performance. What entertainment. I particularly loved the Flamenco show, while my metal hubby enjoyed the rock and 80s song and dance shows. Getting to experience Cirque de Soleil at sea was an experience in itself – our kids enjoyed it to the core! Everyday excursions: I had read so many negative reviews of how uncomfortable getting in and out of ship is, and how long one has to wait while passing through security checking. When we got down for our first shore excursion, I realized what a mockery people had made of the ship. Everyday alighting was immaculate. Sign boards were put everywhere which made it easy for us to find our way out. Staff at exit points were absolutely professional, and precise. They scanned our cards and allowed us to get down – without any hassle. Some of them even greeted us Namaste, the minute they realized we came from India. No where did we have to stand in queues (except at one port where we had just a few hours on shore, and even there it took less than 20 minutes to get in) – I found myself frequently discussing with my family, how flawless the process was every day. Staff, or probably STAFF: They say kind people are the best kind of people. And we couldn’t agree more. The staff on Meraviglia was one of the best we’ve ever come across. Always smiling, always warm, always happy (and eager) to help. From the moment we got down at Kiel station, to the moment we got back there – every member of the staff went out of the way to help us. Never was a member rude to us; never did anyone frown upon us. It felt as if they were there just so they could make us happy, make our stay memorable, and they did! Let’s begin with the housekeeping staff. I hate to admit I never asked for his name, but our housekeeping boy was the reason for our happy mornings. The minute we got out of our room each morning, he was there, standing with a million-dollar smile on his face, wishing us and genuinely wanting us to have a good day ahead. He tidied up our room twice a day, and even folded our clothes every evening. Frankly, who does that? :) I’ve already said a lot about our dining staff. They were probably the main reason for our happy MSC experience. The staff at the Marketplace buffet were also were helpful. Any questions we had, any doubts we had, they were more than happy to respond and answer. The entertainment staff were the most fun! For sea days, and even for evenings on board, they had planned and executed activities meticulously. While all the games etc. were fun, the staff itself, was so much fun – we always found them pulling each other’s’ legs, cracking jokes – just having a good time. They always approached us with a smiling face, seeking participation for events, and applauding us for our efforts. On the last night, they put up a small program for everyone at the Broadway theatre, and I must tell you – I haven’t felt so choked up in a long time. Not only did they thank us for being a part of the experience, they even introduced themselves by name and by country of origin – stating how all of us, are in fact, just like one big family – without the division of color, religion, or caste. As the program got over, each member of the staff stood at the exit, thanking us personally. I will never forget the tears they had in their eyes! How touched we all were, to realize, they were going to miss us, just as much as we were going to miss them!!! Disembarkation: We were given a disembarkation time of 10:45, but because some of us had an international flight to catch at 16:30 from Hamburg, we requested for an earlier time and were accommodated, without hassle. We were asked to leave our luggage outside our rooms the previous night, so we only had our hand baggage with us. Since we had already cleared all our bills, we could just walk out of the ship – after having our cards scanned. As we got down the ship, our luggage was already there – waiting for us. There were a dozen shuttle buses also waiting; we were directed to one, which brought us to Kiel station – back to reality after a week-long dream! Fact check: After having read SO MANY negative reviews for MSC, I was petrified before I got onto the ship. More so because my husband and I had done all the planning and booking and I was scared how my family would react if MSC turned out to be just as bad as I had been reading online! But after I got on, I realized all those negative reviews were LIES! • The ship is noisy? Wow! When you put 5000 people together on a small piece of floating land, there is going to be noise. How is the cruise company to be blamed for this??? • It takes ages for a waiter to come to take your order? It’s called having patience: when there are 2000+ people sitting across tables in a restaurant that is spread across half the ship, waiting 10 minutes (or even more) for an order is normal. • Horrible food quality? Wow! I don’t know what people expect – there was nothing, absolutely nothing we found bad or inedible in the food. And, mind you, we are vegetarians! :) • Limited food options? If people think this is limited, I am not sure they understand the meaning of the word! • No entertainment? Low quality theatre shows? After having returned from my most unforgettable experience, I can only smirk, when I read such statements! There is soooooooooo much Meraviglia offers – as part of your plan, and at an added cost. There is no limit, really! And I’ve already mentioned how every artist performed – with perfection and professionalism. • Service is mediocre? In my entire life (I’m 33 already), I’ve never been taken care of this well by ANY staff, anywhere. From the dining staff to housekeeping, security to reception, entertainment to cleaning – every member of the Meraviglia family attended to us with such warmth and hospitality. I was moved beyond words. Points to note: Like any other business in the world, cruise companies will try everything to make money, and there is nothing wrong in it. The good part is – they tell you they are trying to make money, nothing is HIDDEN. The onus on being careful with your money is entirely on you! So, here are some things to note: • Onshore excursions – Yes, they charge a bomb for all their onshore excursions, and that’s exactly why we didn’t take even one of them! Do your research and plan your trips on your own. We did that, and we came back a happy lot – without a hole in our pockets. • Drinks package – For people who drink a lot, this might seem like a good option – paying a set amount for drinks every day, for the entire duration of your stay so you can have unlimited drinks while on the ship. But everyone in my family (barring me and my husband) are teetotalers. The drinks package didn’t make sense to us – so we didn’t opt for it. • Professional photos – You will find photographers taking your photos everywhere; apart from the photo that was taken on embarkation day, a bill for which reached our room (with an option to return the pics and choose not to pay for it), no one were we forced to pay for something we didn’t ask for. • Service charge – I had read so much about how unfair it is for MSC to add a 70 Euro service charge on every bill. But after my 7-day trip, I willingly and happily paid those 70 Euros. For a 7-day trip, it comes out to 10 Euro/person/day. And for how well they took care of me – I was more than happy to pay! Conclusion: I’ve never been on any other cruise ship, I do not know if and when I’ll be making another trip. But as a first-time experience, MSC completely bowled me (and my family) over. We boarded the ship with so much apprehension, but we came back with such gratitude and appreciation in our hearts – for all the people on board – who took such great care of us, and ensured that every moment we spent on the ship was enjoyable and memorable! Thank you MSC Meraviglia for providing us with memories of a lifetime! P.S. No, I’m not a PR person for MSC, nor do I have any vested interests in the company. I’m a normal IT professional, trying to get through life, and trying to make memories along the way! ~The more you are thankful, the more you attract things to be thankful for~ Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
This is my 1st true cruise (other than day cruises to the Bahamas). I was with well-seasoned cruisers. My experience was better than theirs beciase I had nothing to compare it to. Here are my pros and cons: Pros: The ship is lovely. ... Read More
This is my 1st true cruise (other than day cruises to the Bahamas). I was with well-seasoned cruisers. My experience was better than theirs beciase I had nothing to compare it to. Here are my pros and cons: Pros: The ship is lovely. It is not a huge ship but large enough. The staff was wonderful. We were especially grateful to our waiters, Wira and Eduardo, our maitre 'd, O'Neill, and our room steward, Marion. I enjoyed my excursions, although the meal on the Flamm trip was fair. The Flamm train excursion was well worth it (although my brother was not impressed). The meals were ok. They were not fabulous. A few were very good however. Food was plentiful and if you are hungry, you are an extremely picky eater. The shows were ok, not great but were definitely something to do. (Last night show was a "con" being at 8 pm when yiu would be in the dining room. Ship was very clean. They were constantly cleaning all over the ship. The room was comfortable and clean. Cons: If you want anything to drink beyond tap water you have to get drink packages and you are nickled and dimed. You can get bottled water and wine at lunch and dinner with one package. If yiu want any sodas, bottled water, drinks, coffee, including espresso and cappuccinos and gelato all day, get another package. Premium drinks are a higher level package. They sold lobater and steak dinners separately. This has nothing to do with the ship, but I'd never met so many rude people in my life. Pushing and shoving to go anywhere. A man actually took me by the waist to push me aside beciase I wasn't moving fast enough for him. There were few English speaking people on the trip and those of us that did, American, New Zealand, and Australia, all thought the people on the trip were quite rude. The lounges were very crowded. I did not use the pools. They were crowded however, especially the indoor pool as it was cool out The people smoked even where they were, even where they are not supposed to - balconies, on non-smoking decks. The smoke in the casino was horrible. Unfortunately you can smell the smoke from the casino area in non-smoking lounges 1 and 2 floors up from the casino. I was 2 floors up and could smell the smoke at the elevator banks. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
Was going to Norway with a car tour on my own but did not have time to plan it , so opted for a cruise at the last minute . All in all , a nice experience with good memories , but the organization left much to be happy about . ... Read More
Was going to Norway with a car tour on my own but did not have time to plan it , so opted for a cruise at the last minute . All in all , a nice experience with good memories , but the organization left much to be happy about . Beautiful scenery and good photo experiences IF the weather permits , about 50% of rainy days in Norway . Some points of disappointment . 1) The cabin , Bella with balcony , was a bit claustrophobic for my usual style. Had to hide the baggage under the bed and kept falling over my own shoes , and dried myself out of the bathroom due to lack of space . 2) The Buffet , Breakfast was usually good with a lot of choice of food . The main problem for me was finding a seat to eat my food , within 100 metres of the serving plates . Like eating with 2000 other people in a 1000 seat deck ? 3) The evening meal , Good food , even if on the small portion size , but could order double portions some times . On one night , the food got stuck or was delayed and even if I ordered at 8.30 , at 10.00 I was still waiting for my main dish . The said CHOICE of table is non existent and you have to stick to your table number , if you like it or not . I was in a group and had to lump it . 4) The day tours , I took my camera along to take some photos , but did not get any photos , mainly due to the lack of time that we were allowed off the tour bus , like 15 minutes or you will be left here ? And most times , the place is full of another 7 coachloads of tourists taking the same photo spot. Also booked a train trip , scenic yes , but in a thunderstorm , the window panes where all misted and the views weremainly dark clouds . If a problem delayed the tour , there was no buffer time , so if we delayed 20 minutes as the driver had to go to the restroom , we got 5 minutes chopped off the 15 minute stop , to get off a 50 passenger bus and take a pic and return to a 50 passenger seating . Never again ! 5) The photo booth , you are always asked to take a photo with the captain or the boat backdrop ...but the prices are a ripoff ...you have been warned . All in all , I managed to enjoy my few days , even if ripped off and not 100% satisfied with anything . Do not believe the lovely photos of the ship , most times there are a few hundred people in the picture if you try to take the same . The fjord photos ar taken on a sunny day and photoshopped , a sunny day in 364 rainy days maybe ? I am a 60 year old , grumpy 120 kilo experienced traveller on my first cruise who was disgusted by my tour leader from the local travel agent , as she never translated a word of the MSC tour leader into our language fro those that did not understand English . Not MSCs fault . If I ever take a cruise , I will try to take it in a low season ,so thet the ship is not so crowded that you cannot find a seat to sit down for a drink ! Thank you MSC for a well organized cruise for 3500 travellers of varied nationalities . Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
It may seem odd that I do a review nine months after it ended. However I found that among all the other reviews that I read there are some aspects concerning this ship, that have not been pointed out before. It is even harder to read a ... Read More
It may seem odd that I do a review nine months after it ended. However I found that among all the other reviews that I read there are some aspects concerning this ship, that have not been pointed out before. It is even harder to read a cruise review for this particular itinerary. As a consequence I will mainly focus on aspects not mentioned by other reviewers. Embarkation was at Steinwerder Cruise terminal in Hamburg, Germany, for a fourteen day cruise that took us to the Norwegian coast, north cape and the remote island of Spitsbergen. I have to say that exactly one year earlier we had already taken a cruise to Iceland starting on this same embarkation port and once again aboard a vessel from MSC, the Preziosa and were not at all thrilled with the overall organization of that ship. Anyway MSC was the only cruise company doing this route on the time frame me and my family (my girlfriend and our nine years old daughter) had. It is difficult not to draw comparisons with the Preziosa, but fortunately I got to see that aboard the Meraviglia the experience was better, although in early evening the ship was as crowded as a shopping mall on weekends. It seems the crew is better prepared to tackle with the huge number of passengers on board. First of all embarkation and disembarkation were well organized, shore excursion desk is much better, no cues to come aboard on the different ports of call we were in, as it frequently happened on my prior cruise with MSC. If there is a place that needs to be completely reorganized, this is the buffet they call Market Place. Almost everything is wrong because it is too big and messy. It was the same aboard the Preziosa. MSC does not understand that in order to cope with a big number o passengers using this venue at the same time, the answer is not a bigger restaurant but rather a disciplined organization, even if this disciplined attitude is made at the cost of freedom of the passengers to choose a particular table to sit. At breakfast and lunch time on sea days it is impossible not to bump with other passengers who wonder around with trays of food on their hands while trying to find a place to sit. The answer would be for the management to assign the families or groups to the table, the moment they enter the buffet. With such a big place it was also easy to arrange this venue in a way that starboard partition is closed for cleaning and repositioning of stands for a 30 minute period, while port side is open also for a 30 minute period. What most chocked me was the small device they put on the tables to call the servers who take the orders for the beverages. In fact, if you want a special drink, you press that device and a server quickly comes to take your order. While the system always worked efficiently with me, I think that danger of norovirus widespread lurks around, as these devices were almost always noticeably dirty because of the huge number of fingers that touch them. My advice would be not to touch them with your bare finger tips and use instead a paper napkin to do it. And the same should be done whenever you press a button on a lift, even if around here dirt was not perceivable. Concerning the cabin we had chosen a Fantastica class balcony stateroom in the aft of the ship (9271). Prior to booking, I had studied the deck plan layout and noticed that there was a bank of lifts close by. However, once on board we realized that these particular lifts are for crew only. The consequence was that every time we wanted to go anywhere from our room, we had to endure long and fatiguing walks on a long and uninteresting corridor and again on the way back. Be aware of this fact if you book one of these staterooms. Another warning concerning staterooms on the aft of the ship but only on deck 9, is that you are directly above the Carousel Lounge. This is a sort of disco lounge with an height that spans on two decks and it is at moments very noisy, mainly at night when you want to rest. There is another advice that I cannot refrain from doing: You should avoid, at all cost to book a cabin on deck 14. Our tablemates at dinner had their cabin immediately under the Bamboo Pool and had to complain frequently at reception at two or three o’clock in the morning because of the unbearable noises coming from deck 15 while maintenance to the pool is being done. They said they had the feeling of being close to a big washing machine while on spin cycle. After having complained for three or four nights in a row they managed to be reassigned to a cabin on deck 5 and were thankful for the change. Other cabins on deck 14 are also noisy because they stand immediately below the Atmosphere Pool or the Market Place Buffet. My advice to future travelers would be for you to save some money and go to a lower deck while choosing your cabin. As said before the itinerary was for us the main reason for this cruise. We were very keen to visit Norway and above all to set foot on the northern most parts of the country, as our route included the north cape and a stop at the Svalbard archipelago. However, I have to say that these two spots were the only that turned out to be somewhat deceiving. Honningsvag is the port of call to visit the North Cape. It is just a fishing village and totally uninteresting. We had booked a shore excursion that included the transfer to the North Cape - a windy spot by the way- and a King Crab tasting. We were unlucky with the trip to the north cape because of the fog but on our way back the sky had cleared up and enjoyed very much the landscape that was definitively beautiful. Longyearbyen was our port of call at the Svalbard archipelago and just to get there it is necessary a full day at sea and another one to return to Norway mainland. It was a complete dud. The most interesting shore excursions were all sold out the moment we boarded the ship in Hamburg. I had even tried to make a booking some weeks before the cruise through MSC webpage, as this is also possible and in fact very convenient if you want to avoid the crowds around the shore excursion desk, but the most interesting excursions were already sold out at that moment too. As a consequence we just booked an uninteresting drive to a place where they breed Huskies. There is a museum in town that is moderately interesting and shops (expensive) for tourists. It is a very short walk from the ship to downtown Longyearbyen, but a dusty one on a road full of heavy trucks and with no sidewalks. By the way, this is a place with lots of coal mines which explains this pattern of dusty traffic around the existing few roads. Coal exploration is in decline as a source of energy, so the economy of the archipelago relies mainly on tourism. You cannot venture on your own outside the village because of the risk of attack from polar bears, whose population has been steadily increasing anyway. While walking around the main pedestrian road of the village I spotted inside a shop some photos of the place taken in late winter or early spring while the island was still covered with snow. Judging from what saw on those photos, it seems that’s the ideal time of the year to enjoy a wonderful scenery and with luck seeing the northern lights in the sky. If you want to visit this place, do never take a cruise in summer just to go there. Finally I would caution future travelers disembarking in Hamburg as MSC does not organize a transfer to the airport. This is a pity as many of the passengers that I saw around the airport on the afternoon of disembarkation day had also been aboard the Meraviglia. And the same happened to me one year earlier upon disembarking the Preziosa, again in Hamburg. We had our flight back home early afternoon on disembarkation day and had to take a taxi. The ride to the airport was time consuming because of the heavy traffic around the port. It took us almost one hour to get to the airport terminal and that was after we had to wait in line for 30 minutes in front of the cruise terminal on a hot sunny morning with no shades at all, just to get a taxi. Still it would have also been even worse should it be raining. Taxis were just slowly coming to the cruise terminal. Take that into account on your post-cruise arrangements. Other travelers may think differently, but personally I prefer much smaller and better organized ships. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
we chose this cruise as the price was good and we wanted to try a different company to compare, the difference between my regular cruise line we use. what a mistake. We embarked at Southampton and straight away we felt unwelcome. As we ... Read More
we chose this cruise as the price was good and we wanted to try a different company to compare, the difference between my regular cruise line we use. what a mistake. We embarked at Southampton and straight away we felt unwelcome. As we boarded we were met by staff trying to sell us all there packages, nothing unusually about this but not one person welcomed us onboard or asked if we needed any help trying to find our rooms, we were left to are our own devices. The ship itself is stunning and our rooms and the ship was spotless, but that is where the positives end. The staff are probably the most miserable looking i have ever seen it was like they had been forced to work but didn't want to be there. They very rarely gave us eye contact while serving us, and never smiled or spoke other than asking what we wanted. Even when the bar was quiet it could take up to 20 minutes to get served as they would just walk straight passed us, i don't know whether this was because we were on the all inclusive and they were told to try not to let people have too much, but it worked. the Sahara cafe food was never hot just luke warm at best, but there was a good choice if you like cold food. We ate in the Quattro venti restaurant in the evenings, we had a nice friendly waiter here but the food wasn't any where near the standard of food we have had on other cruise ships it was 3 star at best. Formal nights were nothing special no different than any other, i think they were put on to try to get people to buy more photos, which were very expensive. entertainment on the ship was second rate, the shows were awful and amateurish if it wasn't for the acrobats in them we would had walked out of more. We saw the worst comedian i have ever seen the only person laughing was him self. This is the first time while on a cruise ship i can say i was bored, i have never spent so much time in my cabin, just waiting for time to fly so we could get to a port and get off. The ships shore excursions were really expensive so we did our own thing most of the time. Olden was an amazing place, absolutely stunning, and a highlight of our cruise. I can honestly say this was our first time with msc and i would never book with them again, it was a shame as it was probably one of the nicest ships we have been on but had the worst staff. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We thought we would try a different ship and company. We have always travelled with Thompson but they didn't have a ship going to the Fjords. Getting on board. We were given a time however left to our own devices of getting to our ... Read More
We thought we would try a different ship and company. We have always travelled with Thompson but they didn't have a ship going to the Fjords. Getting on board. We were given a time however left to our own devices of getting to our room. Not enough staff for the bar areas so waiting a long time for drinks. Hot drinks like hot chocolate or cappacino were cold. Food samey unless you went to the resturant which was ok. The crazy golf was laughable along with the bowling you had to pay for which was €6 for 5 throws. Staff weren't always pleasant it was an effort for a good morning. Long queues to get back on ship. Lack of information Entertainment in the Tiger lounge ok but shocking in most of the other areas. The comedian was diabolical. Food at breakfast and lunch often cold and the trips horrendously overpriced. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Well usually I am not very fussy. I have sailed with celebrity and RC previously and had a great time. This is my first time on MSC. Well where can I start.The dinning experience was horrendous and I have stopped using the main dinning ... Read More
Well usually I am not very fussy. I have sailed with celebrity and RC previously and had a great time. This is my first time on MSC. Well where can I start.The dinning experience was horrendous and I have stopped using the main dinning hall and opted for the the buffett choice restaurant instead. The food is not edible and tasteless despite the head chef been english supposedly., the service was worse at the main dining hall.Thin wafer silrloin steaks served with jacked Porte in thin foil. It was dry as hell and tasteless even though it was ordered to medium rare taste. Now I believe all the past horrendous reviews I have been reading about MCS bad dinning experience.the ports of call were great as we were on Norwegians fjords trip. Well I will not be sailing with MSC ever again. poor food, poor service and very poor entertainment. The shows last 30 minutes and that is it. if you are a party animal and into cheap drinks and don’t care about the quality of food and service you are served then maybe MSc is for you. I am sorry that I had to be harsh but this what I feel like. Mind you it was cheap and that was the catc. You can’t venture to front of the ship , back of the ship and deck 16 as it always booked for private sessions I find this crazy as I have never seen this on other cruise liners. We did our own things in terms of excursions as they easily accessible at half the price. Loved Norway. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
The Preziosa is not maintained well. All big windows are not clean. The cables of room vacuum cleaners are worn and repaired by insulation tape. The hand disinfection devices very often were empty. In one of the floors the floor number ... Read More
The Preziosa is not maintained well. All big windows are not clean. The cables of room vacuum cleaners are worn and repaired by insulation tape. The hand disinfection devices very often were empty. In one of the floors the floor number peeled and they didn't repair it at least 4 days. The buffet is big but nobody manages it. So couples occupy 4 seats tables and it is very difficult to find a table for the family. One day we tried to have our breakfast in restaurant Gold Lobster. We were disappointed. The choice was poor. Not like in the buffet. But the most awful for me was free smoking in every open deck (including near the swimming pool) and in Casino. The Casino is in big open space .So the smoke smellies far around. The dinner restaurant is very crowded and noisy. The employee in the reception didn't explain what need to do with the tax free for the shopping in the Kiel. It despite the fact that the ship comes there every week. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Chose the cruise on the recommendation of a travel agent (who I usually trust). Wanted to see the fjiords. The fjiords were a delight. However, once I entered the ship there is an onslought of people trying to sell you photos and all ... Read More
Chose the cruise on the recommendation of a travel agent (who I usually trust). Wanted to see the fjiords. The fjiords were a delight. However, once I entered the ship there is an onslought of people trying to sell you photos and all sorts of rubbish. This is uncalled for given that the cruise. We is paid for upfront. In addition, its a very tacky operation and you can hardly move with people trying to sell you stuff. The entertainment was absolutely awful. There is no de-caffinated coffee in the buffet and the tea is undrinkable (luke warm water). My biggest problem was that I paid 26 euros for whatsapp coverage as I needed to stay in contact because of a bereavement). It never worked and the reception staff were like Teflon - take no head. I asked could make a free landline call and they allowed me to in front of a row of noisy people - and when I asked to transfer the line to my cabin they said they would have to charge. In addition, we went to the talk on disembarkation - this was very misleading. We were told that we didn't have to go to reception if we were happy with our bills (which we were). In fact we were only given our bills at 2 a.m of the morning we were leaving. Then we were sent back from leaving the ship to reception (and our flight back was within a short while). They also take 70 euros of a service charge off your credit card. This is compulsory and is misleading when they are advertising the cruise. I could go on and on - but overall I don't know why people go there for break. Its the most frustrating and stress inducing experience that anyone could have. There is a lot of time wasted at sea too - just to keep you on the ship (spending). Its was a 7 night cruise - but it could have been done in 5 as they went from Geiranger down to Bergen and then back up to Flam. We could have done without Kiel too - there is nothing there. They probably won't pay the fees for going into Hamburg proper. We didn't go on any excursions organised by the ship - we did them ourselves at half the price and with more freedom. Its like a floating prison - stealing your money. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We were an extended family of 10 Americans traveling together, with 2 seniors and 4 kids ages 2, 5, 9, 12. We picked MSC for the Norwegian Fjord destination and itineary. Overall, the destinations were fabulous, we enjoyed our family ... Read More
We were an extended family of 10 Americans traveling together, with 2 seniors and 4 kids ages 2, 5, 9, 12. We picked MSC for the Norwegian Fjord destination and itineary. Overall, the destinations were fabulous, we enjoyed our family vacation and the cruise was a nice way to get there. Some in our group had cruised before with Celebrity or Royal Carribean. For them, this cruise is more bare bones, food not as good, shows not as glitzy. For the first time cruisers, we felt it was a great ship that tried to cater to kids and seniors alike, so our entire group was happy. Pros- The staff is busy, but they stopped to talk to us. Our waiter at dinner would play with the kids, and even bring out special off menu appetizers. They are constantly cleaning the ship everywhere, and the main lobby is very bling which our seniors liked. Lots of live music and a nice sports bar where they streamed in the World Cup games. Very nice! We booked through Expedia, which gave us free drink tickets for alcohol and juices, more than we could use. I found out later, this is for the American market only (we were very happy!) Because MSC offers different packages in each country, staff on board could not answer our questions. We did go to the excursion desk and they were able to help us with everything, including adding vegetarian meals to our excursions. Staff were great! The indoor pool was fabulous, particularly on this chilly Northern cruise. I would love to see them heat the water a bit, even in June. Cons- Southern Europeans can be quite rude, and I didn't care for their pushing and shoving...particularly at the buffet. I had to go to my zen place to deal with the crowds in the buffet. Crowds were worse at peak times on days in port, which is to be expected. Disembarking at some Norwegian ports took over an hour after arrival in port. I think those small ports aren't used to handling a ship the size of Prezosia. I wish they would've made an announcement, so everyone didn't mob the exits for an hour...again with pushy Europeans. There aren't many families with kids on the Norweigian Fjord itineary, more arrived as we disembarked for the Baltic Sea itinerary. My kids were looking for friends. I think Europeans prefer things alacarte, so MSC sells lots of packages on board. We were constantly bombarded with staff trying to sell us things. We got asked to buy a spa package when we exited the spa...oh my. Geiranger / Hellesylt - Booked our own excursion through Geiranger Fjordservice, was better than MSC options. The ship docks in Hellesylt first, then 2 hours later in Geiranger. The port authority here is slow, disembarking took >1 hour. Bergen- Hardangerfjord and Stave church excursion through MSC, breathtaking, the Fjord became repetative, 8 hours was way to long. Stave church was cool. We wished we had done a Bergen city tour instead. Flam- Dramatic scenery by train- This excursion is a must!! The railway views are amazing and the return by bus through another UNESCO Fjord with breathtaking views was unparralelled. Kiel- no excursions booked, half the passengers disembarked permanently, ship turned over with new passengers. Nice parks and city center within walking distance of the port. 2 days at sea- all ship areas were busy as expected including the gym. My kids were disappointed the Doremei Castle/ kids waterpark was not turned on even after being asked. As a family vacation, each age group had plenty to do that appealed to them, so everyone was happy. Add the breathtaking views into the mix, and it was a memorable experience. I would definitly cruise again with MSC, they have some unique locations they go to which is very cool. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2018
First time cruising with MSC. We booked this cruise through a travel deal which included return flights between Zurich and Hamburg as well as transfers between Hamburg airport and Kiel port. The transfers were very well organized. We flew ... Read More
First time cruising with MSC. We booked this cruise through a travel deal which included return flights between Zurich and Hamburg as well as transfers between Hamburg airport and Kiel port. The transfers were very well organized. We flew with HOP! (part of Air France) and was welcomed at the baggage claim area by a MSC representative. We were guided to the tour buses outside the airport which took us to the Kiel port (approx. 1h30min). We went straight to embarkation with almost zero waiting time. We had a cabin with balcony on the Fantastica experience (so better placed cabins). We found a wonderful surprise when entering the cabin - it was a handicapped cabin, so much more spacious than the usual balcony cabins! The extra space suited us well since we were travelling with 2 kids (a 3-year old and 4 month old baby). The room was well equipped and the sofa was made into a sofa bed every evening. Our room steward, Fabio Enrique, was wonderful. The ship itself is in a good condition, it looks fairly new with no visible wear-and-tear. The do make efforts to keep it that way and areas are constantly repaired/cleaned/painted as needed but in such a way not to bother the passengers. The dining experience was good, but could be better (we had a much better dining experience on an American cruise line). We ate most evening in the Main Dining Room and the rest of the time in the buffet. We tried the main dining room for breakfast and lunch, but the service was chaotic and the food similar to the buffet. We only struggled on the disembarkation day to find a table, or the other days there was ample space, especially when you moved deeper into the buffet restaurant. Also much less noisy at the back! We did not attend any shows and only went to listen to various artists in the lobby area after dinner. Our kids were too small for the kids' activities (my son is only turning 3 a couple of days after the cruise) and the kids groups start at 3 years. There were designated times during the day for kids under 3 to play in a special area under their parents supervision. Our ports of call were Copenhagen, Olden, Flam and Bergen. We did not book any excursions through the cruise line and explored the ports by ourselves. The Fjords are majestic. One can spend hours watching it while cruising. Due to adverse weather conditions the Begen port of call were cancelled. Obviously a disappointment but one should always expect changes when cruising. I rather prefer my captain to put safety first. With this change in itinerary, we had a new port of call in Denmark: Fredericia. To my son's delight, it was about an hour's travel to Legoland. So we spent the day there. Disembarkation was smooth, just like embarkation, so no complaints there. There were quite a number of kids on board (lots of small babies and toddlers) so very family friendly. Therefore we will cruise with MSC again in the future. About drinks: there are a number of packages to buy such as all-inclusive, premium all-inclusive, all-inclusive during meals, beer packages, soda packages, water packages, etc. The individual drinks are very reasonable (approx. prices: cocktails ranging from EUR 6.50 - 8.00, wine by the glass EUR 5.50, bottle of wine starting at EUR 20 per bottle, beers EUR 5.00), so all-inclusive packages only makes sense if you are really planning on drinking A LOT. We did buy a water package before boarding which cost something like EUR 27 for 14 x 1 liter bottle of water which we could get from any bar or restaurant. There is only free water, ice, coffee and tea in the buffet restaurant, so you would pay for water in the main dining room. To surprise my husband I bought the "Bon Voyage" package which included a bottle of Prosecco and canapes on the first day of the cruise, a bowl of fruit delivered to the room every day as well as an invitation to the Captain's cocktail event (which is for return passengers). It was a nice touch to have a bottle of sparkling wine on ice in our cabin when entering the cabin the first time and to toast to our cruise in the comfort of our own room. I had to phone the next day to get the fruit as it was not delivered. All the other days went smoothly and we received the bowls of fruit every day. Most of the fruit can be taken from the buffet, except for the grapes. My only complaint is the cocktail invitation: I asked at the front desk when I would get the invitation and they said it will be delivered during the night. Next day I went back to the front desk, knowing that the event was that evening. They checked in the system and told me I am not invited as I am not a return guest. I had to insist that I bought a package which included an invitation to the Captain's cocktail and had to show the details of the bought package. Only after that did they give me an invitation. So if I had not gone through that trouble, I would not have received the invitation for the event which I paid for. On our 7 night cruise we had 2 formal evenings. a white-night and a 60's-70's-80's night. Our cabin was on floor 10 and fairly in the center, so we did not feel much motion of the boat. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
This was our first cruise out of Southampton and what a difference. We arrived in the Port car park at 1.20 and we were in our cabin and unpacked by 1.20. The initial impression was of a very eye catching ship and it did not disappoint. ... Read More
This was our first cruise out of Southampton and what a difference. We arrived in the Port car park at 1.20 and we were in our cabin and unpacked by 1.20. The initial impression was of a very eye catching ship and it did not disappoint. The cabin was spacious enough but like most ships a lack of hangers. The balcony was spacious and as we were going to the fjords it was needed as the weather forecast was not great. Well how wrong was the forecast. We had sunshine 9 of the 10 days in the early to mid twenties and not a drop of rain. The evening ding was brilliant and we had some great people on the table. The buffet was a bit chaotic but the food for breakfast and lunch was very good with a lot of choice. The evening entertainment was always good and way above the normal cruise shows. We had the drinks package and without doubt it was amazing value. The staff throughout the ship were brilliant and very friendly. Our evening table waiters were amazing. The itinerary was fantastic except for Alesund which was underwhelming. My only criticism was the cabin was not kept clean and the linen not changed enough. The disembarkment at Southampton was so good WE left the boat at 8.40 and was in our car by 9.00. All in all a great cruise. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
This was Susan's 70th Birthday present, she wanted to see the Northern Lights if possible and the Fiords. We embarked at Southampton, which was so smooth and welcome from the hassle which is flying, airports and long waits. Arrive at ... Read More
This was Susan's 70th Birthday present, she wanted to see the Northern Lights if possible and the Fiords. We embarked at Southampton, which was so smooth and welcome from the hassle which is flying, airports and long waits. Arrive at the port car park, 150 yards from the boat. Have your cases transferred by Van, walk across the car park, and more or less embark straight away. Get you Card authorised, your cruise card issued and your pass to and from the ship, and get down to exploring and enjoying your ship for the next 10 days. The staff were Great, (I do not complain ever,! unless something is badly wrong) From Day to day experience, we ate in the Ldedira restaurant, for Breakfast and Lunch, and in the Other main restaurant for our evening meal. It is such more civilised than fighting for your food in the busy Self service 'Oasis' food counters (4 of them). WE found no problem finding good food to enjoy at all times. Some were moaning of too little for certain tastes, but we enjoyed what we had and it was cooked well. Ex Chefs are hard to please, so take heed, it was not bad, and was plentiful. The Magnifica is one of MSC's smaller ships which has a welcoming atmosphere, heaven knows what we will find when we go on the new larger ships later on this year? Yes we have found a love for MSC! this was our third MSC ship and cruise, and genuinely? we have loved the informal atmosphere seldom found on large ships. Things do not always go to plan! We booked a few excursions on line! one sent to us was, a waterway trip in Hamburg. Turned out it should not have been on this site, it was destined to be in Amsterdam! MSC have a process for taking Service fees from your account at 10E per day per person. We like to tip for getting excellent service and cut these fee's down to half, paying the room guy, and waiters personally for what turned out to 'far in excess' superior service. Weather in the Northern Cimbs can be very wet, blowy or both. We had high winds, some rough seas for part of the journey, but on this ship, you hardly knew what was happening outside. The Sun however, was plentiful and we got some decent tans from the warm sun out of the wind. The Ports of Call were interesting, we called at Stravanger on their National Day. what a traffic spectacle that turned out to be. The people were warm and loved the British, the youngsters were a credit to the nation, Young and Old alike were all dressed in their National Costume. For the Men, a suit in Electric Blue, the Girls has Dresses! each one embroidered in Gold and Silver, with skirt bands in different colours reflecting their different localities. The Girls flocked so Beautiful and fresh, if only we had that sort of National Pride! We stayed in one port alongside Brittania, P&O's flagship. We talked comparing ships, and if British registered, P&O came off worse. We are shortly (as I'm on my retirement year) to try Cunard in late August, we shall have to see what comes of that trip. However, if you care to enjoy a trip into the less unusual places that the Caribbean or the MED, then try Norway. it really is a great if expensive place to visit. Two coffees will cost you £10, local cakes and delicacies especially Fish will be a worthwhile experience, but cost you 30 Euro. MSC? well we love it! Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
Chose this cruise because the ship was new, despite the negative reviews. We suffered none of the problems reported by the others 1. Check in was super quick, was done in about 10 minutes with zero length queues. You leave your bags at ... Read More
Chose this cruise because the ship was new, despite the negative reviews. We suffered none of the problems reported by the others 1. Check in was super quick, was done in about 10 minutes with zero length queues. You leave your bags at the port, and they show up outside your room in a couple of hours. Check in started at 1PM and the rooms were ready by about 2PM. There is a line for the info to activate your card using cash, however if you choose to do it by credit card there are machines to do so. 2. The cabin is well designed. The toilet is large and comfortable. We had 2 little children, so the sofa became a double bunk bed. There is a lot of space below the bed for the suitcases (we had 4!) and ample space in the cupboard. There are USB ports to charge the phones and large writing table for things and power sockets. The room is very well sound proofed, and the curtains can make the room completely dark. We took the large balcony, which had 2 chairs and a table 3. The Ship is spanking new and very stable. You can barely feel it move except for one day when they had to shut the pools due to the swaying. 4. The Dining was very good most days. For dinner and most lunches you can choose between the buffet and the restaurants that serve the same food. You are allocated a place for dinner and a head waiter, but you could also go to other restaurants. There is a on board mozzarella factory near the buffet. 5. There are 4 paid-for restaurants too. We never used them, but they seem value for money. The tepanyaki started at just Eur29 for instance. 6. The entertainment facilities for children were excellent. The staff are lively and much adored by our kids. We had a tough time getting our kids to return from the kids area on most days. You check them in and specify who could check them out. They have lego, art, craft, gaming, face painting, parades etc. They also take them to the kids area of the buffet for dinner. You can leave your kids there till 11PM. 7. There is an arcade with simulators etc, that is good for one or 2 visits 8. There are 17 bars spread over the ship, almost all of them full in the evenings. 9. The cirque-du-soliel was good, but not as good as the stuff you get at Vegas. We preferred the "Sonora" sound act over the Visual act. 10. The shows at the Broadway theatre were fabulous! We watched nearly each one and loved almost all. The cast is very versatile and pulls off many forms of singing and dancing with practiced ease. Near the theatre the bars have many evening entertainment programs that seem like fun and are staffed by very lively people. 11. The Service was good and the crew by and large friendly . There were a few instances of the opposite, but then other crew members made up for them. E.g. when I went in search for a banana at the buffet for my sick child, one member claimed if I couldnt see it, there probably wasnt a banana available. However member Ravi Bhosale over heard this, and got hold of one from the kitchens. Many thanks. 12. The excursions were horribly over priced. We took just one of them at the north cape and busted our budget. The problem with such a large ship visiting a small town is that the cab and transport facilities are sometimes overwhelmed. Arrange your own in advance if possible. 13. Embarking and disembarking at various ports was easy, except at one port where we had to tender, i.e. use the life boats to go the port. There systems broke down and tempers frayed. There were delays of upto 1.5 hours. 14. We took the fantastica package that had 12 drinks vouchers per head. Wifey obliged by not drinking much of her share, leaving me well hydrated throughout the trip. Some of the drinks are not available against these vouchers. 15. My kids would like you to know that there is no chocolate fountain on the ship, despite the official videos depicting one. They condemn this act of over selling. 16. There are many pools of which just one is heated. They use salt water. There is an unheated section with water slides that we used despite the freezing cold Overall it was great and the kids are already clamoring for another MSC cruise! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
This was our 6th cruise and have loved all previous cruises. This was our first with MSC. The first day was terrible. I queued for nearly two hours to speak to guest services. The man that served me was unbelievably rude and purposely ... Read More
This was our 6th cruise and have loved all previous cruises. This was our first with MSC. The first day was terrible. I queued for nearly two hours to speak to guest services. The man that served me was unbelievably rude and purposely unhelpful. He was so arrogant and spoke to me as if I was annoying and irrelevant and that my problem was not his problem. I guess that just set the mood for the rest of the cruise. Where were the happy smiling staff? Fun? Laughter? Not on this ship. My husband was 'told off' by a female staff member in the dining area for pressing the service button which he hadn't pressed. When he told her he hadn't pressed it she got even angrier. !!! The food was good but long queues and not enough seating was a big problem. MSC are mostly about making money and they don't really care about giving good service for it! Everything costs extra. We paid extra for Cirque de Soleil. It was pretty mediocre. Not worth the hype. Long waits for tenders and buses. Yacht club members seemed to get all the good areas. You couldn't get a view from the front of the ship as it was only available to Yacht Club members. They still owe us money for a shore cancellation cancelled 2 months prior to cruising. Although they have been given all information many times they just ignore all correspondence. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Fjords are a great place for vacation and doing it with a cruise is an excellent solution instead of a car or bus trip. This was our first experience of an MSC ship.The MSC FANTASIA is not a new ship but it is in an excellent condition and ... Read More
Fjords are a great place for vacation and doing it with a cruise is an excellent solution instead of a car or bus trip. This was our first experience of an MSC ship.The MSC FANTASIA is not a new ship but it is in an excellent condition and very beautiful decorated Great food, great service, nice balcony cabin, a lot of attractions and activities. The main issue because of I gave 4 instead 5 is the dining in the restaurant - it was poor. And they put us together with other family in spite of our particular request for table for 4. The variety of food was poor and waiters were not so nice. Please pay attention that MSC charging you for a contribution to UNESCO without rally letting you know about it, if you do not agree you must go to the front desk to cancel it. The embarkation and dis embarkation in Kiel was very smooth. Shore excursions in all ports were extremely overpriced. Copenhagen has a shuttle bus to city center which is reasonable; it is a long way into town. In Geiranger you dock in town and can walk to the large water fall and a long of water or take a map in tourist information and have some walking trails. In Flam you dock downtown, can walk the whole village or take a map in tourist information and have some walking trails. In Stavanger the ship docks downtown, you can walk everywhere. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Our seven day Norwegian Fjord cruise aboard the MSC Fantasia was “extremely disappointing”! We upgraded to Yacht Club class which has some advantages compared to the standard package but it is not what they advertise and claim it to ... Read More
Our seven day Norwegian Fjord cruise aboard the MSC Fantasia was “extremely disappointing”! We upgraded to Yacht Club class which has some advantages compared to the standard package but it is not what they advertise and claim it to be. We give the highest compliments, praise and thanks to our butlers, the staff in the private lounge and restaurant, [L’Etoile]. They were always happy, friendly and provide great service catering to our needs. They were the best part of the cruise. Private lounge is quiet and spacious; the staff and bar tenders are wonderful plus it is a great place to escape from the 3500 other people on board. However you cannot order any food; your only choice is a minimal selection of appetizers, nothing more. After paying extra to upgrade to all-inclusive you still pay extra for certain items/drinks/booze. Private top deck, bar and restaurant was poor. When at sea it is windy and cold thus you cannot stay up top, the bar and restaurant close; the pool is cold and not usable, the hot tubs are cold and way over chlorinated. The restaurant has a set menu, limited selection of foods which no one seems to eat, poorly prepared, stays in the bins and gets cold. You cannot order anything extra or special; you must go to the buffet which is not what we payed extra for. Private restaurant, [L’Etoile], is at the back of the boat while all other Yacht Club amenities are at the front of the boat, an inconvenience as you must navigate through the throngs of people on your way to the private restaurant. All of the staff in L’Etoile was friendly, helpful and provide exceptional service but the menu has a limited selection for lunch/dinner. Breakfast menu was good; overall the food we enjoyed was good but not fantastic. Boarding with butler service was good. We were greeted, checked in and escorted on board past the long line up to the private lounge. When you go ashore the butler escorts you down and past the crowds to the gangplank, this service is excellent and well worth some extra costs. Getting back on board after a day in port, you are on your own, long line ups, crowds, hurry up and wait. MSC should provide a separate private entrance for Yacht Club members. Long line ups and wait times for the elevators especially getting off or back onboard and at all meal times, it is faster to take the stairs. Room service was good, fast, a nice selection of foods and snacks on the menu and for Yacht Club there was no extra charge. Internet is a satellite system which provides poor and slow internet, not worth purchasing. Our phone/sim card provided us with fair connections in all ports and sometimes at sea. There are free Wi-Fi places in all ports although very busy seem to work well. There are no self-serve laundry services on board; the butler can have your laundry done for $30 euro’s, you need 24 hours to have it done and returned to you.  No items are provided free, such as a carry bag or lanyard for your boarding card; there is nothing for free. The main buffet is divided into stations which have minimal amounts of food and poor selection. Food is European based; pasta, pizza, fish, sliced meats, cheese, breads, fruits, salads and some specialties such as turkey or roast pig. Overall the buffet is mediocre to poor; the bins were mostly empty and are not replenished quickly. Service was almost non-existent as the servers are busy cleaning tables. Sometimes one side of the buffet is closed forcing large numbers of people onto the other side making it even more crowded and less enjoyable. Yacht Club restaurants are limited as mentioned above; you are forced to eat in the buffet, which is not pleasant. You must deal with crowds and noise, not an enjoyable dining experience. We paid for Yacht Club dining and service but in many cases you are forced to the buffet or public restaurants which also have limited menus, not worth the extra money we paid and not what we expected nor were led to believe. Overall we are very disappointed with the Yacht Club amenities. For Yacht Club class in the buffet, other bars or ice cream parlor the servers do not know or understand your purchase/drinks are all included. They try charging you and you must explain and/or argue to have it at no charge, sometimes the supervisor must get involved. If you do not watch this carefully you will be charged extra. There were two specialty restaurants on board, but again at an additional cost even though you are Yacht Club. Shore excursions in all ports were limited. MSC sells tour packages which you can purchase for half the cost once you get off the ship. We suggest getting off the ship early, get your excursion tickets and get on the train, bus or boat before the crowds arrive. Most port side vendors and shops are extremely overpriced. Copenhagen has a hop on-off bus which is reasonable; it is a long way into town. You can tour the city and see the sights; we did the bus and canal cruise which was a fair value but you are with large groups and crowds so you stand in line for everything. There are various options for the hop on bus so check before you agree to purchase or else you will end up buying a larger package than you may need. In Geiranger you dock in town and can walk to the large water fall. There is not much in this small village to see or do. The bus tour to both sides of the valley was reasonably priced with adequate time to get off and take pictures as well as fantastic views. Other than a boat tour there is nothing else to see or do. In Flam you dock downtown, can walk the whole village in ten minutes, there is not much to see and the vendor prices are ridiculous. There was a train/bus tour which is expensive if you purchase it from MSC, the bus part being nothing more than a drive back. We did the train tour up and down the valley; it was spectacular, we purchased our ticket at the train station. If you want to do the “Norway in a Nutshell” tour you needed to have pre-booked it online as the tourist information bureau does not sell it and were not helpful. In Stavanger the ship docks downtown, you can walk everywhere but there is nothing to see. The three hour fjord tour/cruise was nice and reasonably priced. Some shops and vendors but prices are high and unreasonable. Sailing from Kiel to Copenhagen is overnight, [12 hours]. Sailing north from Copenhagen to Geiranger, [38 hours] and returning south from Stavanger to Kiel, [36 hours] is a long time at sea on board the ship with not much to do, very boring. We experienced fair weather but if it was stormy I suspect this would not be pleasant. During this time activities on board are mainly designed to get more money from you with purchases of jewelry, colognes or perfumes, souvenirs, trinkets, in the casino or arcade games and of course photography people constantly taking your picture. Smoking is allowed in the casino and on the lido deck next to the ice cream salon, not a wonderful experience enjoying smoke with your ice cream. Not an environmentally friendly or responsible company/ship. As you go in and out of the fjords with their fragile eco systems the ship pollutes the atmosphere with exhaust fumes which hang in the air / fjords long after the ship has past, truly not environmentally correct. In port there is a constant exhaust from the ship which hangs in the air. Entertainment is fair, the stage shows are good. Individual entertainment at the various bars should be rotated through the various venues giving guests different entertainers rather than the same thing day after day. Public swim pools are very crowded, people have their toddlers in the pools / hot tubs in diapers and you know what’s in a diaper, most unpleasant for sure. There is an extra service charge of $10.00 euro’s per day per person which you do not notice in the fine print. As yacht club class this should not be charged, it is just another money grab. There is a UNICEF donation automatically charged to your account, which you can refuse to pay. Our experience with MSC, the Norwegian ports of call plus the extra costs upgrading to Yacht Club is disappointing; it was surprising how little we actually received. The cruise line has reduced services and amenities to a bare minimum but charge top dollar; you do not get much for what you pay. Thank goodness we upgraded to Yacht Club; at least we got something for our money although it was not much, it did make the cruise experience tolerable compared to being with the masses. We will never do another large cruise ship adventure and certainly not with MSC lines. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2017
Despite upgrading to Yacht Club it was simply not worth the money spent. The cabin and staff were fine, but it was being on board a large ship with so many people that one felt crowded no matter where in the public spaces you were. ... Read More
Despite upgrading to Yacht Club it was simply not worth the money spent. The cabin and staff were fine, but it was being on board a large ship with so many people that one felt crowded no matter where in the public spaces you were. Trying to find a seat in the buffet or to sit and listen to music in the evening was difficult. And the noise levels, one could barely have a conversation amidst the din. I think that if the Yacht Club had provided a better selection of meals in their restaurants and entertainment in their lounge we would never have left that area of the ship. And been happier for the experience. The ports of call were okay, but in Geiranger and Flam there was limited things to do on shore unless you were on a trip. We would not recommend this ship until it undergoes a major refit. Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We are regular cruisers but this was our first experience of an MSC ship. We chose the cruise for the Itinerary - the Baltic and the Fjords of Norway. The Fantasia is an impressive and magnificent ship The cabin was excellent and the ... Read More
We are regular cruisers but this was our first experience of an MSC ship. We chose the cruise for the Itinerary - the Baltic and the Fjords of Norway. The Fantasia is an impressive and magnificent ship The cabin was excellent and the bed was the most comfortable we have experienced on a cruise, There was plenty of storage space and the balcony was not cramped. The main Dining room has fixed seating for most of those on board. We had opted for a table of 6/8 at the early sitting because part of the fun is meeting new people. This didn't happen and we were given a table for 2. The quality of food was varied from very good to some very tough meat dishes. Service in the Dining Room was quick and efficient. However, the choice of food was very ordinary and we were surprised to be asked to pay 19 euros extra for a steak or 21 euros for a lobster, which are part of the normal menu on every other cruise line we have enjoyed. This resulted in large numbers of guests opting for the Buffet restaurant. This occupies a very large area, but is just not large enough. Finding a seat, any seat, was a constant problem at every meal time. The choice of food there was good without being exceptional. The entertainment was very good, but had a 7 day cycle. This meant that the second week was a repeat of the first, which was disappointing. There are numerous Bars on the ship and it was never a problem to find a seat. Obviously the more popular venues were very busy. Things that irritated were being bombarded by staff pushing the drinks packages during the first days of the cruise, the surcharge for a steak of lobster in the Dining Room, battling for a seat in the Buffet and little things like having to pay for water and 3.50 Euros for the ships newspaper. As usual, the waiters and other staff were delightful, with many coming from Bali - gentle cheerful people. As you tend to do, we compared our MSC cruise with those we have enjoyed on RCI, Norwegian, Holland America and others. We had originally planned to join the Fantasia on the Caribbean cruise that is being currently heavily promoted for this winter, but have decided to look elsewhere. MSC is not for us. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
I chose this cruise and line because I had often heard about the beautiful Norwegian fjords, and I wanted to sail with an international cruise line (i.e., not one that caters mostly to Germans). Our port of embarkation was Kiel, Germany ... Read More
I chose this cruise and line because I had often heard about the beautiful Norwegian fjords, and I wanted to sail with an international cruise line (i.e., not one that caters mostly to Germans). Our port of embarkation was Kiel, Germany (we live in Germany). I was disappointed to find out afterwards the MSC offers free shuttle service from the Kiel main train station (Hauptbahnhof) to the ship. We had to walk nearly a mile, pulling and carrying our luggage, in order to get to the ship. Once we arrived, the embarkation process was easy and quick. Our room and attendant were both excellent. The room was clean and quiet. We enjoyed the balcony very much. Our room attendant was very friendly at all times and sensitive to all of our needs and requests. We were disappointed at the lack of dining options. There were several bars and lounges, but really only two eating options. We expected on such a large ship that there would be more variety. The breakfast buffet in the mornings was very chaotic, it was difficult to find a table, and the food was often cold. The dinners were first-rate, with excellent options, and good service. The only members of the staff who were ever rude were some members of the security team. Otherwise, we found them all to be helpful and polite. The entertainment was quite good. We especially liked the acrobatic and magic shows. Some of the animators among the crew were hilarious. We did not take any of the excursions. We find them to be ridiculously expensive and superficial. We did not regret our decision to strike out on our own. Disembarkation went smoothly, especially because we were able to take a complimentary bus to the Kiel train station. We would travel with MSC again. We were overall very happy with our experience. MSC made it very clear that they valued our business and opinions. We just hope that they have better breakfast service in the future. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
This is the second cruise we've taken out of Copenhagen, MSC was vey easy and perfectly set up for both embankment and disembarkment. The ship is smaller, but not claustrophobic, plenty of space to roam around between ports. The ... Read More
This is the second cruise we've taken out of Copenhagen, MSC was vey easy and perfectly set up for both embankment and disembarkment. The ship is smaller, but not claustrophobic, plenty of space to roam around between ports. The cabin was small. We had an obstructed view, but it was what was available. The bed was one of the worst I have ever slept on. Storage was tight, but we made it work. We packed more than for the cruise because we were continuing to travel after the cruise.cabin service was quick and unobtrusive. The hallmark of the ship is the main dining room. The food was fantastic and the waitstaff friendly and very accommodating. My only complaint is that bar service other than beer and wine weren't available. We never bothered to find the restaurants because the food and service was so good in the main dining room. The bar staff was also phenomenal. In the lounges we gravitated to the waitstaff and bartenders knew what we drank before and after dinner. They confirmed our order as we were sitting. La Cabala was our favorite, the musicians were wonderful; friendly, appreciative and warm with the audience. The coffee bar had a nice variety to choose from, with sweet treats for an afternoon pick me up. Unfortunately, in the afternoon, the staff would get overwhelmed, and could be a little short with some passengers who were less than polite. KEY: be polite and patient, they too will remember your order if you are. We also liked that the smoking policy was rather liberal, a large area by the pool and one side of the ship, most decks, outside. We are looking into booking another for next summer. Beware: this is an Italian cruise line, English may be the ship language, but as far as we could tell, we were the only English speakers on board. It was fine though, the staff does their best, and we enjoyed each of them. Special thanks to Denis in the dining room, and Manuela in the various bars, love you both! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
Sailed on Splendida before and liked the two cruises back to back out of Hamburg. Service was amazing in the Yatch Club. Sailed the Norwegian fiords 15 days then to Iceland for 11 days, could have stayed longer. The Yatch club made ... Read More
Sailed on Splendida before and liked the two cruises back to back out of Hamburg. Service was amazing in the Yatch Club. Sailed the Norwegian fiords 15 days then to Iceland for 11 days, could have stayed longer. The Yatch club made excursion very easy as you were escorted off and back by staff therefore bypassing all the queues. The only negative for us was that as we are Australian we only speak one language English whereas everyone else spoke several languages but not much English, still was not a ships problem. Food was really good, loved the crayfish. Would have liked food from the regions but understand with a ship that size it's not possible. Alcohol was included in the Yatch club but would have been nice to be able to have free alcohol in other areas of the ship as it doesn't really matter where you have a drink if it's included in your package. Looking forward to 2018 on the DIvina out of Miami 35 day cruise finishing in Genoa Italy. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
We book the cruise on MSC because of the ship look nice in the pic; the route is very interesting so we book it. Before we had some cruise with NCL and Celebrity. So we can compare a little. In the first impression it looks all very nice, ... Read More
We book the cruise on MSC because of the ship look nice in the pic; the route is very interesting so we book it. Before we had some cruise with NCL and Celebrity. So we can compare a little. In the first impression it looks all very nice, the ship is in a good condition, and it’s clean. Not perfect, but it's OK. We booked some beverage packages, like Cappuccino, Water and bottle wine, so far so good. But you cannot use this in all bars, without discussion what is accepted and was not. This is so stressful. One of our greatest complaints is nearly nobody from the service staff is smiling; they look all stressed, unfriendly. We don't really feel welcome on board. The food in the self service restaurant always the same during the cruise so there is not much change. They do not look for the disinfection station in front of the restaurant, if somebody uses it or not, nobody really cares. For us hygienic on a ship is essential. Our final conclusion no more MSC. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
The checking and boarding was fine. The cabin was modern and very nicely decorated, clean with a small window of the port of the ship. Altough the window had mirroring effect from the outside, when interior lights were turned on this ... Read More
The checking and boarding was fine. The cabin was modern and very nicely decorated, clean with a small window of the port of the ship. Altough the window had mirroring effect from the outside, when interior lights were turned on this effect faded, giving the possibility to outsiders look at the interior of the room. The experience with the crew was extraordinary, very attentive people and the animation cruise was very fun. A very positive points were that at the first night, the director of the cruise explained you everything and recommended you which excursions were the best and which ones were to full the offer, moreover they gave us hints for profit our free-time during the excursions in order to save money. Other positive point was that at the dinning at the restaurant, we were sit in a table with other unknown people of the same range of age, facilitating thus the sociability and friendship between passengers. Read Less
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