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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
3 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
Sail Date: April 2019
I had earlier been on three cruises, two of them being to Europe (Mediterranean west and Southampton /Norway).This was our first experience with MSC Preziosa and we had a great time on the ship.I had booked a fantastica balcony cabin for ... Read More
I had earlier been on three cruises, two of them being to Europe (Mediterranean west and Southampton /Norway).This was our first experience with MSC Preziosa and we had a great time on the ship.I had booked a fantastica balcony cabin for me, my son and a close friend and our package included 36 drinks vouchers for our six day cruise. We had a very smooth Embarkation ,it took us just 20 minutes to get on the board and our luggage was already outside our cabin. Our cabin was quite spacious and had ample room for three of us. Bed was very comfortable and so was the sofa cum bed.Bathroom's size was okay and it had all the requisite toiletries .Balcony was also good though we didn't get much chance to sit and enjoy coffee as it was quite cold outside. The ship has beautiful interiors and one really relishes being on board such a lovely ship. The only thing which is below the mark is it's dining which was just average. There were very few options in the main dining room and the buffet was somewhat better. Entertainment was okay without being exceptional. We had no complaints regarding the service which was very good. We didn't go for pricey excursions offered by the cruise and had our own arrangements. Finally, the process of disembarkation had no hiccups and we had smooth sailing. Overall we had a wonderful time and would certainly sail again with MSC Preziosa. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We took our first MSC cruise, a 21 day TA from Martinique to Hamburg, many port stops in between which I initially thought might be a negative (we love the sea days, hence the TA's) but it was broken up nicely and we saw a few new ... Read More
We took our first MSC cruise, a 21 day TA from Martinique to Hamburg, many port stops in between which I initially thought might be a negative (we love the sea days, hence the TA's) but it was broken up nicely and we saw a few new ports by sheer number. It was like having three different cruises, the Caribbean followed by the TA followed by a European cruise, very nice. We arrived late with late flights, 7 pm-ish to check in but they had the whole YC experience going strong including drinks upon arrival, easy passport check, etc and then you're guided to the concierge floor to meet the concierge on duty and a few butlers hanging out, likely yours. We had awesome Roberto aided by two junior butlers and all was well. My only negative observation is the whole YC team tries too hard to provide service even when you decline it...an example would be getting a few items of food at the buffet and trying to carry it yourself, they always want to tray it up and take it to your room/table and it took at least two weeks to get them to back off. We are fit mid 50's folk and perfectly capable to carry our glass and a plate and it felt like a negative, the constant spotlight they want to shine on you. I enjoyed the experience but wished often and to their face that they would just back off a bit, we don't need a guide to our seats in the theater and I'm sure folks who DO will let it be known, if someone declines than back off and respect our choice and we found that happened too often, the push for service. Weird complaint, right? I know, it is weird but its how it felt, to always having someone rush to open a door or guide you to a seat or try to grab your food to take it to your table instead of letting us quietly enjoy this wonderful time without the fanfare attached to it. This leads into further service issues upstairs on deck 18, Topsail. AWESOME space with plenty of lounge chairs, oddly not padded chairs but plenty of towels available and when it got cold they brought out the blankets, nice touch. The pool guys were always smiling and nice! They have tables/umbrellas in the bar section where a buffet is set up for breakfast and lunch so probably about 10 tables available...also a smoking section that has three umbrella tables. Weird service in the beverage department up there, hot and cold with sometimes 30 min between a round of servers and then suddenly a barrage. Gelato guy would go by (awesome) but twice we waved to flag him and he just walked by or you'd have to flag a server and then they're quite nice but just not on it the way they want to be or should be, rarely did someone take multiple orders which led to a long time getting drinks brought to you so we embraced the exercise portion of this and just went to the bar...not a big deal but the substance is lacking and my first thought was they're new at this but apparently YC has been kicking for years now so not sure if any of these issues will be fixable. We did see the turnover of one manager to another and the guy that left was so burned out, you rarely saw him vs Allessandro the new guy who was seen multiple times a day, checking on your day, borderline bothersome but I got what he was going for so hello, hello and good luck on changing practices. Food was the major negative, it was truly tasteless and almost funny how every dish (sadly not kidding) was without taste. Upside we actually lost weight on this 21 day cruise and happy for that but wow, a whole of salt used and worse, steak sauce for a filet, that's almost criminal behavior. We only ate at the buffet for salad bar, sad sad salad bar, and some pizza slices and that was just average at best. Wild amount of people but heck, it IS a buffet, and we found seats the three times so thats my only input. Our YC restaurant was just average, there IS an alternate menu available including chicken, a large filet of beef, a large filet of salmon, and perhaps a few other things but its not advertised oddly enough. Our waiters actually brought us the best dish we had, chicken curry, after we laughingly asked if we could eat in the crew dining room, betting they had tasty Indian food available and the next night we were eating the best chicken curry. Why that isn't on the menu is mindblowing and I asked the maitre'd and the hotel director and anyone who inquired but the answer is oddly 'we cater to an international crowd' to which i reply so does every other cruiseline and they manage to have tasty food. Europeans don't like bland, do they? I'm going to assume no because the ongoing theme from the Germans, the Brits, the French and us, the minority Americans, during the cruise was the bad food but whatever, we ate just fine, remembering that upside of weight loss and knowing it was just the way it is. Gelato was good and free for YC, once we found that baby we imbibed often! The best advice I'd give is to reitterate what another post said regarding MSC and that is to not compare it to any other cruise and you'll love it. I reminded myself of that often and I loved it, truly. The quirks were funny including the five and six language announcements, that's just funny and even more fun when the Russians boarded in France, dropping Portuguese in exchange, and the crazy entertainment. Wow to this menage of acts, it was funny and fun and really a wild experience. One night started out with Van Halen 'Jump' and was followed by the ring dropping from the ceiling followed by a dance number, etc etc. Crazy fun and we had a blast! No production shows, good classical voice concerts (two in the afternoon) and also a nice piano concert in the afternoon, nice additions. Their classical voices were excellent, good acts and something you don't see often. Main night acts are short, 30-40 min long which is perfect for the acts and we saw them all minus Abba and a ventriloquist. I would rate them as matinee Vegas quality and again, they were all fun, esp the acrobatic guys. Dancers were good, singers were good, all around pleasing...but remember, don't compare because these aren't Broadway shows brought to the sea or Blue Man, its great for what it is. Ship design is lovely, crazy crystal inlays into the stairs, beautiful but somewhat blinding, pretty and nice layout of ship (a lot of mirrors!) minus the casino. Leaving the theater loads you right into it on deck 6 and its the smokiest casino I've ever seen, so much so that I didn't bother to do any gambling because the odor was so cloying, as if they lacked any smoke eating device at all and it resulted in the smoke drifting directly into the lounge directly above it, the jazz bar, so we also avoided that area. MSC should absolutely install state of the art smoke eaters, we absolutely would have frequented those areas, esp their money making casino so I guess I should thank them for that too, weight loss and more euros in my pocket. :) Would we do this again? Yes but only in the yacht club, it was sheer madness in the 'real' world and not worth my cruising dollars. I'd like to hope the food issue is a one off with the ship. We ate at Eataly once and it was probably a B experience, the food was mostly tasty but all around the worse tiramisu ever eaten, both in this restaurant and La Palmeraie...found that to be quite odd for an Italian ship but ultimately thanks, two lbs of weight gain would have come from all of that tiramisu! We loved the international blend, it was fun to chat world events with world travelers. This particular itinerary hit a lot of ports so we enjoyed all of this exposure to new lands. We would do another TA with MSC but again, only with yacht club, it just looked too crazy. Unfortunately prices have jacked up, we apparently paid 1/3 more than the Brits that asked us (but we are still quite happy with our choice!) so that factors in...food quality has to be considered and after traveling with Azamara (10 lbs gain, food was stupidly great) and Celebrity Blu its hard to spend extra $$ just for the 'experience' but good itinerary and we'd likely be there. Another addition, GREAT gym! They have a variety of machines, probably 25-30, and we found working out at lunch was the time! Worked around people with the machines, empty gym in port days (yay) and would highly recommend this gym to keep your body in shape. Its up there with NCL Epic gym. Oh yeah, one last addition...we didn't feel like MSC was nickeling and diming us at every turn. Minimal announcements, no big push of products despite a nice supply of stores on three levels, not the feeling like someone just had their hand in your pocket. Okay, ONE last also, the nautical information they provided on the daily planner was great, informative in a different way, and we learned stuff. Sadly the captain wasn't chatty (but with the language spread its probably good) so none of the good sea tales that others like to provide but we felt information was dispelled quite well. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We have pretty much been on all cruise lines and so we were keen to try MSC as they are now using the English ports and are keen to attract the British market. We were excited to try a new cruise line and had high hopes of a great ... Read More
We have pretty much been on all cruise lines and so we were keen to try MSC as they are now using the English ports and are keen to attract the British market. We were excited to try a new cruise line and had high hopes of a great experience. We were disappointed. The ship is very glitzy but has very little comfort. Sun beds were the worst on any ship and a lot of the chairs at the garden bar were not fit for purpose. The food was very poor and not hot in all the restaurants on board. You could not get a hot cup of tea on the ship unless you paid for it. The staff were the most unapproachable staff ever on a ship that we have had in 30 years and over 100 cruises. Cabin was ok but the balcony chairs were not very comfortable. Entertainment was not good. activities were ok but not for the English. service in the cabin was ok. service in the bars was poor. Service in the dining room was good but food was poor. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
The ship its self was modern clean with an impressive stairway and delivered what was expected from this class of ship . We purchased the Aurea package which gave you some extras like free drinks, package massage, my choice dining and ... Read More
The ship its self was modern clean with an impressive stairway and delivered what was expected from this class of ship . We purchased the Aurea package which gave you some extras like free drinks, package massage, my choice dining and free access to deck 18 Dining was the first problem, a high standard was expected from the team as the previous two cruises delivered this but , quality of service and food failed to meet the previous experience resulting in a complaint. The buffet area offered at times a better standard. The buffet area also was at times I felt of a disjointed set up the items did not flow i.e meats/ chesses to accompany a salad where miles apart when common sense would of had them close. Entertainment was of a low standard very repetitive and only started to improve last three days of the cruise The Drinks package wow what a mess , previously the Aurea had a generous drinks package but this has been devalued to €6 but and this was changed in November 2018. Their systems don't know who purchased the cruise prior to November so the system was honoring drinks to the value of € 9 but the staff advised you if you asked only €6. In the next action they would still process drinks to the value of €9 at no extra charge to yourself, what was the point of telling you €6 ? I found some of the front line staff wooden especially on the help desk , like the sketch from little Brittan the computer says no !!! If you used a brain cell you could make life so much easier without the customer having to point out some of the MSC policy's just don't make sense! In a nut shell MSC is growing and polices are changing of which I would hazard a guess non of the management who are implementing the changes have actually experienced the impact of such living on board as a guest. Having cruised with MSC twice before we had a level of service expected and unfortunately this cruise fell short of these. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
We have traveled to Caribbean previously in 2017 on MSC Fantasia and had a wonderful time. It was a fly cruise. This time we flew out to Caribbean on Virgin Atlantic and this was a very pleasant experience. We decided to do a ... Read More
We have traveled to Caribbean previously in 2017 on MSC Fantasia and had a wonderful time. It was a fly cruise. This time we flew out to Caribbean on Virgin Atlantic and this was a very pleasant experience. We decided to do a different cruise in as much as we flew to Barbados and then after On our arrival in Bridgetown we had a very pleasant surprise. As we got off the aircraft we found coaches waiting for us at bottom of steps. We were taken directly to the ship and never touched our luggage until it arrived in our cabin. The cabin itself was a balcony cabin and was beautiful in every way. We chose a Fantastica cabin as it came with a drinks package. Our cabin steward, Erith could not have been more helpful and kept cabin spotless. We chose !st sitting dining in Golden Lobster Restaurant. The waiters were great and were very attentive including our waiter James ( name we used for him.) he left ship in Lisbon to fly home to Bali. His assistant waiter was called Abhishek Kumar from India and he went out of his way to make sure we had a fantastic holiday. He deserves the highest praise. The food was excellent although not to my taste all the time. The restaurant was spotless and well managed. The entertainment on the ship left a lot to be desired although the the trio with the pianist and 2 violinists we excellent and a pleasure to listen to. The service overall on the ship was first class and could not be faulted in any way. WE did not take any of the excursions and made our own arrangements. We found the islands very commercialized now and have got worse over the past few years. We took a taxi in Guadaloupe and the female taxi driver was the most dangerous taxi drive I have ever used. She was swerving all over road and reading phone texts and making nd taking phone calls. In Barbados was took a trip in a glass bottom boat which was most enjoyable and well worth the money. After leaving Barbados on 9th April we traveled 5 days across the Atlantic and it was a lovely smooth crossing to Tenerife which we enjoyed immensely. WE then visited Madeira which is a lovely island and I would recommend anyone visiting if you get the chance. The 3 visits to Lisbon, Vigo and Le Havre were not as good and as it was bank holiday most of town was closed. The appeared to be a lot of coughing on board which I hasten to add. I do not blame on ship. Our disembarkation in Southampton due to passengers who boarded in Le Havre did not attend the compulsory immigration procedures. This is the one complaint I have about MSC. It is used as a ferry service more that a cruise ship. Overall the ship and staff were perfect in every way and I would not hesitate to use MSC again although I would be more selective. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Wanted to find an itinerary that suited everyone. We were a group of 6 adults with 3 children and wanted to leave after xmas. We flew with Air Transat (cruise and flight package) embarked in Guadeloupe for a 7 day cruise which included ... Read More
Wanted to find an itinerary that suited everyone. We were a group of 6 adults with 3 children and wanted to leave after xmas. We flew with Air Transat (cruise and flight package) embarked in Guadeloupe for a 7 day cruise which included Tortola, St-Maarten, Dominica, St-Kitts, Antigua and Martinique. We had 3 balcony staterooms on deck 11. The ship is nice, many bars and lounges. Elevators were always slow. Our rooms were clean and our steward was efficient and pleasant. Wide variety of food at buffet, lots of fruit, veggies and salad .It can be hit or miss but it pays to circle the buffet as the dishes are not always replicated on both sides. Dining-room food wasn't too great, plate presentations need to be improved. You must purchase regular water to drink, no water pitchers available. Didn't like the wrapped hamburgers that were available. We didn't purchase any excursions with the ship. We managed visiting each island on our own. Fort de France has a beautiful botanical garden. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
From the first there were high hopes that this would be the ideal cruise. We carefully selected our cabin, paid for an upgrade from the Bella Class and were told we would have drink tickets available. Our luggage was tagged for our ... Read More
From the first there were high hopes that this would be the ideal cruise. We carefully selected our cabin, paid for an upgrade from the Bella Class and were told we would have drink tickets available. Our luggage was tagged for our room and we were at the ship early. Happy to be allowed boarding somewhat earlier than the listed time our passports were scanned and the luggage scanned and sent to our room. We went through the next phase of having our photo taken for the ID (again matching our passports and clearly assigned our cabin.) When we reached the registration area, amidst the chaos of what felt to be pushy sales for drinks packages and upgrades we already paid for we were soon told "we have no record of you." We pointed out the impossibility of this - having our luggage already aboard and heading to our selected room. This had to be mentioned twice to be clear: we had a room, and clearly the computers would have indicated a problem during the early phases of ship access. Fix It Note: Your computer systems should be integrated. This is a clear failure to enter consistent data or a failure in the database. The second case is quite rare. Imagine how we felt to be offered an "upgrade" to a different room for our troubles. That would be so helpful. Oddly the "upgrade" did not seem to consider the following items: A) Our carefully chosen room that was not directly under dance or performance deck. Our "upgrade" had us under an activity deck so that we would hear people running along the deck, amplified it sounded "like a heard of wildebeest." B) We checked our access cards - which were in the new suite - and as surprising as this was since we were "not in the system" we also found that our access status was "Bella" class. One might be shocked that this "sudden" upgrade seems to have been a shift of our cabin denying the upgrade we paid for. Obviously our expectations of having the 12 drink tickets evaporated. I am left to ponder if the offered tickets were placed in the original cabin. C) Assured our luggage was to be forwarded, and feeling the need for my medication (asthma inhalers) I went in search of our luggage after a few hours. There was no effort to reroute our luggage to the new location. If I were to guess why - "we weren't in the system" so they didn't know where to look for it. It didn't make it easier for me to manhandle our luggage to the elevator when I found it only to find two elevators on service and two elevators consistently packed with people. This effort made me unhappy. That failure was not welcome - but at least I could take my medication. The dinner service was scheduled for 9:30 in the evening. It seemed light fare and we were hungry, and I was disappointed to have the sales pitch for drink services and alternate food offerings during dinner. Due to a change in our plans, since I was already ill with a cold, we requested an earlier dinner seating the next evening. Summary: at the end of Day 1 things felt like this was a shakedown cruise and people didn't really know how things were scheduled. It may be possible that the drink tickets were not delivered by the agency we booked with but the "not in the system" and room upgrade that wasn't an upgrade were not hopeful. My thoughts - "It can only get better." For the cruise: The cabin and the ship were clean, though I felt perhaps the ships stabilizers could be better. Aside from the pitter-patter of small feet in combat boots overhead some of the ceiling tiles creaked and any loose hangers in the closet would rattle. The buffet was not up to my expectations. Perhaps I expect too much but the offerings of pizza and burgers were not to my taste or to my body's acceptance. This persisted with other offerings I sampled over the cruise. I like food, and having to resort to salads (the salad bar was good) for my lunch left my wife bemused. Over the course of the week we also sampled the breakfast buffet. The comments as follows: Bell Pepper Omlette - "where is the Bell Pepper?" This was the same for the cheese omlette to the point that I went to another region of the buffet to find cheese to put on my cheese omlette. The "custom omlette" station had too long a line to sample the custom made omlettes but my experience with the others was not leaving me inspired. Some of the fresh plates from the rack were not clean. I know that is a difficult element to master when people grab ten plates at a time. We did get an earlier seating for dinner by the next day. (Yay!) We also had excellent company at the table and Jayland was eager to please. We learned then that we could order more than one appetiser, entree and dessert. That information would have been useful the first night and I don't understand why we were not told. The portions were still a small so we took to multiple orders. There were some disappointments and the meals were hit and miss. This included a shrimp bisque a couple of days in where my wife found one shrimp that would fit on my baby finger-nail. While I liked the onion soup the cheese on some form of plaster-hardened bread was hard to cut through. The other couple at our table agreed. We were again offered to buy steak and lobster. It felt like this was being used to leverage sales of the T-Bone steak and lobster. We were offered to purchase a wine for the New Years Eve dinner. Oddly, even though this was the first time we were offered we were told all but two sparkling wines were sold out. We noticed those wines were readily available at the bar on other evenings. This is at odds with logic - why were we not offered the new years selections earlier, and how can you be sold out of something you still had a supply of? Inquiring minds want to know. The room service was good, the shower clean, the water hot, with enough storage for our goods. In St. Kitts the room program did mention in the fine print that photo ID would be needed. After a number of stops where it was not needed this change caught me by surprise since I was not reading the fine print in detail. While there may have been an announcement it did not come across the speaker in our cabin and by the time I opened the door to hear what was being said in the hallway the message was in German. My German is way too rusty. We got off without photo-ID and had trouble getting back on. What would have been good? Having a SIGN by the exits saying "for this port you need photo-ID to get back" and maybe a person to check before they get off the ship. What else left me disappointed? Oh, one or two more things: I went to Medical - and staff were trying to stop me from going there. All I wanted was a blood pressure check (give me the cuff/stethyscope and I would do it myself) and the nurse practitioner didn't inspire confidence in that she didn't know how to find "blood pressure" in the menus and had to be shown. My wife went to the spa for a full package (massage, manicure, pedicure, facial) and she came back with a wound on her nose. The facial should not take off the face. "You can cover that up with makeup" doesn't cut it - the charge was for a first class service, there is no room for error on that. Yes, it healed by the end of the trip but it never should have happened or the charge should have been withdrawn. I was not impressed by the entertainment, either. Perhaps we were picky but we had been on another cruiseline and found there that the instruments were played on key, the singers had a greater dynamic range for vocals in pitch and rhythm and the dancers could dance in sync. I feel the decor of the Safari Lounge needs a revamp on top of that. Smoke - open casino smoke would bleed into other areas of the ship, making it hard to move to the other end of the ship without changing floors. The open smoking on the upper deck did on occasion waft to our balcony, and I did see someone toss a cigarette butt overboard - regardless of the rules it was disconcerting to witness. The Final Costs, on the last day I was surprised by the automatic tipping built in (10e/day/person) and thought this was included in the package price. Maybe I was wrong, but I felt I needed a drink. Waiting fifteen minutes to not have anyone take an order we changed bars. At the next bar I ordered a 6e gin and tonic from a menu and was presented with wonderful gin and tonic with a bill for a 7.50e ... and while this was corrected I could only ponder through the trip how many times this had been done to me, recalling that we were supposed to have drink tickets. Have I missed any details? Probably a few. Little things, like the MSC special access ramp that I couldn't use one morning at 9am scooting back to the ship with some cough medicine for my wife. There was nobody on the ramp coming off or going on, but it was for the yacht club members... so I got to wander the distance to the next ramp in the morning shower that happened overhead. A crisis it was not, but the ramp was idle. All in all, no single thing is worth crying about. Even all the things summed up are not a crying shame. However, it all adds up to an experience that does not match the effort to deliver a prime service. The restaurant food should be five star, room assignments should not be lost, the buffet should have a higher quality of food, the entertainment needs a boost, the Safari Lounge needs a makeover and the Nurse Practitioner needs better human relations training as well as practice record keeping on the computer Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
This cruise was chosen purely because of the itinerary. POSITIVES: - The ship was lovely. - The cabin was lovely. - Food was great. - Drinks package was great value. - ALL of the wait staff and bar staff were soooooo ... Read More
This cruise was chosen purely because of the itinerary. POSITIVES: - The ship was lovely. - The cabin was lovely. - Food was great. - Drinks package was great value. - ALL of the wait staff and bar staff were soooooo lovely and friendly. They were also very attentive and professional. NEGATIVES: - Do not get a photo package unless you like fully staged studio shots (with fake Greek columns in the background) - Do not go on a shore tour. It is so easy to arrange your own little trips with the many people selling their services when you get of the boat. - The music on the ship is all very beige....like elevator music. There is good music available, but you have to look for it. - Communication with staff from the photo place, the Customer service and the Shore tours were incompetent and could not answer questions in a logical way. You have to be prepared to argue about EVERYTHING because the customer service motto is to blame the customer for anything that is wrong,rather than try to help them. - If you get injured on a shore tour (as my husband did) and have to get rushed to hospital, do not expect ANY support from MSC. They are useless....all of them. - The "desk" staff are rude. They do not know how to ask if you are ok after having a head injury. Of course all the lovely waiters and bar staff had perfect skills at doing this. If everything goes ok, MSC are fine. But the minute you have a problem, like being hit in the head by a mast off a boat, their complete lack of procedures, consistent stories about payment of hospital bills and just a simple check-in process after returning to the boat from hospital are inadequate. MSC "desk" staff seem to have a policy....it is not my department, it is not my responsibility, I do not know how to do that, my supervisor can help with that. We had several problems on the cruise with photos, shore tours and head injury and we did not come into contact with ANY staff that seemed to have a clue how to deal with people. LOVED all the destinations. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
We booked this cruise for our honeymoon which wasn't even acknowledged. We were very disappointed. I got food poisoning on my third day on the ship. I only ate on board so it was definitely from the ship and I had also seen people ... Read More
We booked this cruise for our honeymoon which wasn't even acknowledged. We were very disappointed. I got food poisoning on my third day on the ship. I only ate on board so it was definitely from the ship and I had also seen people prior to me getting sick walking around with bandages covering where drips had to be inserted for people who had food poisoning. The ship did not enforce the use of the hand santizers. People just walked past the staff spraying them. I had to remain in my room for 24 hours and was given 45€ credit as I was cabin bound. I therefore missed a hole day of my honeymoon and wasn't right for a good few days after. When we approached reception at the end of our stay we produced the letter stating we has 45€ credit due to me being sick which we received from the doctors surgery on board. We had so much hassle to get it honoured with the reception staff stating they had never seen it before. This wasn't our first time dealing with reception staff we had to deal with them on our second day on board as our card had ran out of money. We had a total of €80 gratitudes by day two which can be paid at your own discretion ...we dread to think what our bill would of been by the end of the week. We also had to deal with them as our Wi-Fi package wasn't working. The female staff at reception were so rude and so unhelpful. Our cabin attendant on floor nine was an absolute pain. He thought nothing of knocking on our door at 10-11 pm at night. The entertainment was awful. The acrobats were good but that was about it. The excursions on board were very expensive too. We would not recommend this ship. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
This was our 3rd MSC cruise. 1st was on Divina in March 2017 for 1 week, 2nd was a back-to-back (2 week) cruise on the Seaside in June 2018. So we clearly enjoy MSC. We appreciate all the Christmas touches onboard that made it an extra ... Read More
This was our 3rd MSC cruise. 1st was on Divina in March 2017 for 1 week, 2nd was a back-to-back (2 week) cruise on the Seaside in June 2018. So we clearly enjoy MSC. We appreciate all the Christmas touches onboard that made it an extra special Christmas for our 2 young sons. Pros included the service from Edison and Inca in the Villa Rosa Dining Room each night; the delicious food in the MDR for dinner; the cleanliness and spaciousness of our interior cabin; the pasta, pizza, and other variety in the buffet for lunch. Cons included a very long check-in process due to a careless error of the lady checking us in; a delayed boarding process (boarding did not begin until 1:00pm); being bombarded by staff members as soon as we stepped on board trying to sell us drink packages; very slow (10-15 minute wait for a drink) daily at the Divina Bar and the Aqua Park/Pool Bar; extremely horrible service and slow service 2 mornings in the Black Crab Restaurant for breakfast; such bad and slow service that we ended up just doing the buffet for breakfast; the extreme discomfort of and condition of the pillows and matress; the pillows and matrewss were terrible and caused me a bad backache each night that kept me awake in pain much of the night every single night. The pillows at least need to be replaced immediately. We have our 4th MSC cruise already booked--we'll be back on the Seaside in June 2019. I do not foresee us booking anything back on the Divina anytime soon. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose this 2 week cruise at Christmas because of the amazing itinerary. It visited some islands we hadn't visited before, including Guadeloupe, where we wanted to do the "Death in Paradise" tour, going to the locations ... Read More
We chose this 2 week cruise at Christmas because of the amazing itinerary. It visited some islands we hadn't visited before, including Guadeloupe, where we wanted to do the "Death in Paradise" tour, going to the locations used in the TV series. The ship didn't offer this but we booked an excellent tour through Viator. The ship looked clean and the decor was stylish, but our inside cabins 12135 and 12139 smelt strongly of cigarette smoke at some times of the day for the whole cruise. When we complained, reception staff were sympathetic and polite but ultimately ineffectual. They told us to call whenever it smelt bad and they would send someone up. We called but no-one turned up after the first occasion. On this occasion it was implied that the problem was due to the air intake for the air conditioning being on a smoking deck. As a previous reviewer has mentioned there are so many smoking areas, that cigarette smoke has infiltrated the whole air conditioning system, although all of the ship did not smell as bad as our cabins. We may have been unlucky with the air conditioning in these cabins as damp swimsuits took 3 times longer to dry than on other cruise ships. Also we did one previous MSC cruise on a different ship and I don't remember having the same problem. The other problem with this ship was no provision for gluten-free food in the buffet. The celiac in our party was told by a buffet manager he must eat only in the main dining room. This is disappointing as gluten-free pizzas and fries are available on other cruise lines. However the dining room staff were very good and friendly, as were the majority of staff on board. Finally, the embarkation in Pointe a Pitre was appalling. We were made to wait on the street until 14.00, one hour after the time we had been given, before the the port gates were opened, and then there was a stampede! Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Started the cruise in Genoa Italy. This was in cruise crossing the Atlantic to the Caribbean, the first few days were spent at different Mediterranean ports then onto the island of Tenerife, now there was five days at sea,this is when the ... Read More
Started the cruise in Genoa Italy. This was in cruise crossing the Atlantic to the Caribbean, the first few days were spent at different Mediterranean ports then onto the island of Tenerife, now there was five days at sea,this is when the problems started, the largest populations on the ship were German,French,Italian with smaller groups of Spanish and British, all sunbeds on the top deck were taken by 6 o'clock in the morning,towels were placed on sunbeds all day with many not being used at all. Complaints were made to the ships staff but nothing was done, then some Italian families actually had fist fights around the pool area because they had taken"there sun lounger area by the pool" staff were called but refused to get involved. Many complained again but nothing done. The theatre shows were Italian in origin rather than international and became monotonous after a few days. We were on an all inclusive drinks package 25 Euros a day, but many of the drinks were not included! Although it says beer is included its not, only Heineken lager is included, all other beers are chargeable, when you order you have always to ask if it's included which is embarrassing as people think you cannot afford it. The bar and cabin staff go out of there way to make your stay enjoyable and always pleasant, on the other hand the security staff on the exit and entrance onto the ship were anything but. They would grunt at you take your hats and glasses off, stand still while we check your card,no smiles no talking to you, just as thought you were entering a country, inside the ship they would walk into you as though you shouldn't be in the way, had no respect for any passengers ( but they would not attend to the fighting by the pool , cowards). Yes people join the ship in most ports but that dosnt cause a problem, although you get a little tired of the safety drill at every port. Be aware that there is no self service laundry facilities on-board, although the ship will do your laundry for a price. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
This was my second MSC cruise and my seventh overall cruise.  However this was the 1st time that we had booked a 14-day cruise!  Yes, FOURTEEN DAYS!  My mom, my husband, my 7-year-old son, my 3-year-old son, and I sailed together on the ... Read More
This was my second MSC cruise and my seventh overall cruise.  However this was the 1st time that we had booked a 14-day cruise!  Yes, FOURTEEN DAYS!  My mom, my husband, my 7-year-old son, my 3-year-old son, and I sailed together on the MSC Fantasia, from March 18, 2018 to April 1, 2018, roundtrip from Guadeloupe to Antigua & Barbuda, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, the Dominican Republic, St. Kitts & Nevis, Martinique, St. Lucia, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago, and Grenada, with multiple stops in Guadeloupe, Martinique, and St. Kitts & Nevis.  We had two Fantastica balcony staterooms on Deck 10, right next to each other: 10208 and 10210.  We loved our clean and spacious staterooms!  We booked this cruise for the amazing itinerary!  I was a bit disappointed when a portion of the itinerary changed – the initial itinerary included Tortola, British Virgin Islands; Dominica; and St. Maarten/St. Martin.  After the damage caused by the 2017 hurricane season, those three ports were removed from the itinerary, and, instead, an extra stop in St. Kitts was added, as well as a stop in La Romana, Dominican Republic.  We made the best of it!  Truly, the itinerary was still FABULOUS!  We had a wonderful time!  The crew and staff that we dealt with the most, which were our room steward, wait staff and other dining room staff, and the photo team were consistently pleasant and really made this voyage GREAT!  Our stateroom steward, Augustin, was excellent in keeping our rooms clean and in order, and promptly replaced used beach towels with new ones, which was a big deal for us because we made many trips to the beach during this vacation.  Being our second MSC cruise, but my seventh overall cruise, I can honestly say that we looked forward to the spacious, well-kept rooms, and we were not disappointed.  I honestly think that MSC has the best standard rooms in the industry.  I have yet to stay in a suite on any cruise ship, but for the standard rooms that guests can book, MSC’s are top of the line.  The top of the line staterooms are no surprise when you look at the entire ship, which is exquisite!  As with MSC Divina, the MSC Fantasia has lots of glass and sparkle!  My favorite part of both ships are the magnificent Swarovski Crystal staircases!  While the décor on MSC Divina had lots of silver, the MSC Fantasia has more golds and reds.  The crew does an excellent job keeping the ship clean.  The MSC Fantasia is STUNNING!  Astawa and Michael were more than just our waiters at Il Cerchio D’Oro.  Astawa and Michael were warm, kind, attentive, pleasant, efficient, and fun whether we saw them at Il Cerchio D’Oro at night or at the Zanzibar buffet!  They’re wonderful, and we miss them!  Astawa and Michael got to know our children’s favorite menu items really quickly, and although our sons can be difficult to please when it comes to food, they liked the food on the MSC Fantasia.  My mom, my husband, and I also enjoyed our dining experiences on this cruise.  We especially enjoyed the lobster and sparkling wine meal that we ordered for my husband’s birthday which we celebrated onboard!  Thanks to the dining room staff for the “Happy Birthday” serenade, birthday cake delivery, and the fresh fruit platters for us to enjoy!  Also consistently warm and friendly are the dining crew members Mateen and Amira who we saw at various locations throughout our cruise.  We usually saw Mateen in the mornings at the Zanzibar buffet, as he would walk around with the cart with coffee, tea, and hot chocolate.  His friendly conversation helped to form a quick friendship with our two sons!  About half-way through our cruise, Amira started to spark conversation with our 3-year-old, and he would smile each time he’d see her… it was really cute!  My 7-year-old son attended the children’s club during the only sea day of the cruise, and he said he enjoyed it.  However, while the staff and crew can communicate clearly in English, he could not understand and communicate clearly with many of the children there because the overwhelming majority of the children onboard spoke French, which is reflective of the majority of the guests onboard this particular itinerary, and is to be expected given that the ports of embarkation are Guadeloupe and Martinique.  The children's club had a performance in the theater onboard, so of course, we went to see the performance.  We enjoyed a fun show, performed by the MSC Entertainment Team, and then, the children's club performed as well. The performance included a children's club talent show!  My 7-year-old’s favorite parts of the ship are the waterslide, the arcades, and the 4D theatre – we bought the family pass for $60 and went multiple times thereafter to watch the 4D movie clips, which he enjoyed.  That family pass allows guests in the same stateroom to see the movie clips as many times as they would like, and also, to “drive” the F1 Simulator.  One difference to note here between the MSC Divina and the MSC Fantasia is that there is no miniature bowling alley on the Fantasia, while there is one on the Divina.  We would have loved to have the bowling alley onboard Fantasia, as we enjoyed a couple trips to the Sports Bar during our cruise, and we think that the bowling alley would have been a nice addition.  The Sports Bar is located on Deck 7, and is nice to dine in a few times, especially if you want to have lunch somewhere that’s not as busy as the Zanzibar buffet on Deck 14.  The food and drinks at the Sports Bar are pretty good!  Also located on Deck 7 is the MSC Photo Gallery, which was one area that we frequently visited during our cruise.  Yes, we take many photographs on our own cameras, but we are fans of professional cruise photos, particularly those taken by the MSC Photo Teams.  After having experienced the MSC Divina and Fantasia, I can say that I think MSC’s photographers take the best photographs at sea!  I don’t know what’s better: (1) The spectacular quality of our MSC Fantasia photographs, or (2) The MSC Fantasia Photo Team’s consistent, warm, friendly, and professional service with a smile!  We are especially thankful for the staff mentioned here, and for all the wonderful crew and staff members of the MSC Fantasia!  The only recurring complaint we had was that there were quite a few guests onboard who seemed rude, as they seemed to have no regard for personal space and thought nothing of cutting ahead of others in line. However, that's a reflection on those people, not on MSC. Embarkation in Guadeloupe went smoothly, as we dropped our bags at the designated location with the designated staff members, and we proceeded to check-in and board the MSC Fantasia.  One thing that could have been improved on embarkation day was the sign-up for the children’s club at embarkation.  There was a crowd in the atrium area where the children’s club sign-up was taking place, and it was very difficult to navigate through there.  Disembarkation in the ports-of-call and at the end of the cruise were excellent.  Our disembarkation from MSC Fantasia was the BEST cruise disembarkation experience we have had thus far.  On disembarkation day, we had to be out of our staterooms before 9 AM, and after having breakfast, we disembarked a bit after 10 AM, and we easily found our bags in the terminal.  Our MSC Fantasia cruise was a great experience!  Being from the Caribbean myself, residing in New York City, and having received my undergraduate degree in International Studies, I consider myself very much aware of diverse cultures throughout the Caribbean and the rest of the world.  That being said, I was in awe of the amazing mix of people onboard the MSC Fantasia.  In all honesty, I think I saw more people of color onboard this ship than any ship that I have sailed on from the United States, yet most of the people of color onboard this cruise primarily spoke French.  Given that MSC is an Italian cruise company and the clientele on this particular itinerary were primarily French, I certainly feel as though I need to brush up on the two languages that I studied years ago: French and Italian.  When stepping on and off the elevators or otherwise encountering other guests, I found myself saying “Hello” and “Bonjour,” or “Good Evening” and “Bonsoir.”  I just love it!  I also love that my children can experience more than just waterslides and food on our cruises, but can and do experience different cultures.  So what did we do in each port?  Antigua & Barbuda: We had visited Antigua in 2016, so we had planned an excursion to Montserrat this time, but that didn’t work out due to a misunderstanding and timing.  At that point, we decided to stroll in the port area, and then we went back onto the ship to explore the ship.  St. Vincent & the Grenadines: We booked the Bequia By Sailing Catamaran excursion through MSC, and it was great!  The catamaran ride to Bequia was tranquil and so was the beach.  We appreciated the stop in town to shop a bit.  Lunch on the catamaran ride back to mainland St. Vincent was delicious.  The afternoon catamaran ride was bumpier than in the morning, but thank God, we were kept safe and sound.  Overall, this was a really relaxing excursion.  The Dominican Republic: We booked the Relax on Bayahibe Beach excursion through MSC, and had a great time at Be Live Canoa Resort in Bayahibe!  We lounged on the beach, played in the ocean, danced, and played games led by the resort’s entertainment team.  This was a fun beach day! St. Kitts & Nevis: We booked the Discover Nevis & Beach excursion through MSC, and it was informative and fun!  This was our second visit to St. Kitts, as the 5 of us had visited in 2016, but this March 2018 cruise was our first visit to the actual island of Nevis, which was great!  In Nevis, we visited the birthplace of Alexander Hamilton, a lookout area that had stunning views of the country and the ocean, a shopping village, and the beach.  Martinique:  We booked the Authentic Tour of Southern Martinique, through Viator, and the tour was conducted by Beyond the Beach.  This tour was excellent: We explored Southern Martinique, visiting a shopping village, a beach, Le Diamant, a famous slave memorial, a playground, and the Trois Rivieres rum distillery, with lots of beautiful scenery along the way, including driving through the town in which Empress Josephine de Beauharnais, the first wife of Napoleon Bonaparte, was born.  Yes, all that within a day, and we got back to the ship well before it would set sail.  St. Lucia:  We had visited St. Lucia in 2016, and had experienced an excellent island tour with Serenity Vacations and Tours, so this time, we decided on a laid back day onboard the ship, and strolling in the port area.  Barbados: My husband’s homeland!  Here, we took the Harrison’s Cave Tram Tour, which we booked through Viator, and the tour company was Glory Tours.  The Glory Tours driver and guide throughout the drive in Barbados was very friendly and professional.  Harrison’s Cave is spectacular!  We also met up with my sister-in-law who lives in Barbados, and we all had lunch at Chefette, then took a taxi back to the cruise port.  Trinidad & Tobago: We booked the Maracas Beach Trip through MSC, and I think that Maracas Beach may be my favorite beach of this trip.  I’m not 100% sure because that’s a difficult decision to make, as we visited a number of amazing beaches throughout this cruise, but Maracas Beach is, at least, one of our favorites! Grenada:  We booked the Creole Bus Sensation through MSC, and this tour was really informative and gave us a nice feel for Grenada.  We visited two forts and the beach, all via a Creole Bus.  Grenada is hot hot hot, so the breeze that freely flowed through the Creole Bus was glorious!  We had a great time!  Guadeloupe: Guadeloupe Explor provided our airport-hotel-cruise transfers while in Guadeloupe, and also provided our day tour when the ship had returned to Guadeloupe in the middle of our 14-day Caribbean cruise.  For the day tour, we enjoyed visits to Crayfish Waterfalls, Guadeloupe Zoo, and a beautiful, tranquil beach.  Our tour guide and driver, Tommy, was very attentive, as he provided refreshments which were well received during our tour of the Guadeloupe Zoo and our time at the beach, provided a beach tent for our children, is an all-around efficient driver, and provided interesting details about Guadeloupe as we toured.  We highly recommend Guadeloupe Explor for getting around Guadeloupe.  Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
It was a very unfriendly ship for my kids.I have 2 boys ,one of them 10 months and the other 34 months old.The first problem is they do not let you with your child whenever you want.They have a schedule with parent and without parents.But ... Read More
It was a very unfriendly ship for my kids.I have 2 boys ,one of them 10 months and the other 34 months old.The first problem is they do not let you with your child whenever you want.They have a schedule with parent and without parents.But children do no not live according to their schedule.So when my 10 months old boy is awake and I want to play with him,if it is baby care time then they do not allow you to play.Plus you can not leave if your child is younger than 12 months.So it means you can not play with your child.My other 34 months old boy is not playing with babies but when you want to go to the other club which is for 3 years and up ,they do not allow you.I told them after 2 months my boy will be 3 ,what is the difference?.The only thing they know is NO.Staff is behaving you like you do something illegal if you want to play with your child.So from this point of view I regret that I chose this cruise.And I would never chose MSC because of behaving my kids like illegal immigrants. The second thing is hot water problem in the room.4 days of our 7 days cruise there was no hot water in the bathroom.Sometimes in the morning ,sometimes in the evening.They can say that it is a new ship so it can have problems but people must know and decide according to this.I went to a cruise which I could not make shower.And even though I called them many times the problem was not solved. The third thing is food.The food in the buffet and restaurant was like canteen food.I did not eat anything delicious.No Nutella at breakfast in an Italian ship was a surprise.So I think MSC made free food bad so that people will pay extra at the other restaurants.You can not even drink coke without paying.You do not have even water in the rooms or when you eat.They just give you crappy tap water which of course you will not drink and pay for bottled water. The fourth thing is the internet.I paid 80$ for 4.5GB internet which was enough for me for 3 days. So in summary MSC is trying to get as much as money they can get from everything possible.And this was my last cruise with MSC. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
We choose this 'cruise because it was good value. We flew to Barcelona and everything was very organised on board - from the first day to the final day we laughed, had fun, made friends and both my friends and I would love to go on ... Read More
We choose this 'cruise because it was good value. We flew to Barcelona and everything was very organised on board - from the first day to the final day we laughed, had fun, made friends and both my friends and I would love to go on another cruise. Our room on board was lovely - especially our balcony. The offshore places we visited were interesting and we had plenty of time to visit places of interest. We visited Majorca, Marseille, Genoa.. Dining is a problem as I definitely put on half a stone as the food was excellent. If you did not want to eat formally there was a huge buffet upstairs where you could pick and choose what you liked. We lovely the entertainment. I visited the casino which was great fun.so long as you are reasonably sensible. We eventually got back to Barcelona and all three of us said we would go on a Cruise again. It was really enjoyable. The staff were fantastic - I just wish I could remember all the names to say a special thank you to them. Our head waiter was from Bali - he was super.= The ship we sailed on was the PREZIOSA. AND not the Fantasia as indicated above. That name went in by mistake. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
I have traveled extensively around the world and spent almost 2 years in Europe in the past. Having always cruised on American ships (Holland America, Princess, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Carnival), this was definitely different, ... Read More
I have traveled extensively around the world and spent almost 2 years in Europe in the past. Having always cruised on American ships (Holland America, Princess, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Carnival), this was definitely different, definitely European. Amazingly, I met only one other family who were Americans-everyone else was from Europe or elsewhere, even though we were in the Caribbean! The ship was decorated luxuriously and the design, materials, wall/floor coverings, and furniture were definitely Italian design and a step above other ships that I have sailed on. The size of the cabin was average and any extra storage space was lacking. Of note is that the 13th floor cabins were the same size as the 10th floor cabins. However, the televisions were shockingly small at 18" and you needed binoculars from the bed to read any of the captions. They also lacked free English speaking movies which are standard on other cruise lines and had only 3 English-speaking channels including ESPN. The website to book the cruise was woefully lacking user friendly links and was confusing and ambiguous-this unfortunately put a strain on the toll-free MSC agency, who were quite helpful. They need to revamp their website up to American standards. The food was definitely European. The pasta and bread was excellent. The portions on the menu were small and the meat in the entrees ranged from "ok" to just plain bad. Ordering steak/sirloin resulted in about 3 to 4 ounces of tough meat. In general, the selection of menu entrees was extremely limited. TIP: order 2, or even a sampling of 3 of the main entrees on the menu with your partner if you are not sure about them. Other's reviews that you have read are spot-on: they do not serve plain water in the dining room and you are obligated to order bottled water. MSC has received so much flak for this, it is unbelievable that they would downgrade their reputation based on the few euros they make on this one item! On the other hand, the desserts are generally excellent. Or, forget about the dining room experience altogether and hit the Lido deck for the buffet where the choices are wider and at least as good as the dining room, and there is free tap water. Criticism about receiving misinformation from the staff is understandable-in general, in the US there is much more accountability for giving out wrong information (you will get fired) which is not as prevalent in Europe where people tend to, in there zeal to be helpful or knowledgeable, often answer you with "guesses" which are clearly wrong. Often, you will be receiving different answers to the same question. Strong suggestion: if you need a correct answer to a critical question, ask another employee or two, or ask their boss. But verify, verify, and verify. The excursions were surprisingly organized. We exited the ship quickly, much quicker than on other ships. They were inexpensive and good. However, be prepared and alert for unannounced schedule changes in just about anything-entertainment, port arrivals, open/closing hours of food venues which occur with surprising regularity. The entertainment was on par with other cruises we have been on. We found that almost every staff member at the information desk spoke English acceptably well. The conclusion: If you understand the cultural differences, prepare for the food, and are alert to unannounced/inadequately communicated changes in schedules, you will enjoy this beautifully designed ship and friendly staff. Also understand that MSC is still on the learning curve to be up with the "big boys" but can be a less expensive and attractive alternative to other cruise lines. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
Last minute Christmas booking. Wanted Caribbean Christmas cruise. Never again and the worst cruise we have had. Chose a suite and only suite 9003 available. This was located facing forward and had no balcony, which we knew, what we did ... Read More
Last minute Christmas booking. Wanted Caribbean Christmas cruise. Never again and the worst cruise we have had. Chose a suite and only suite 9003 available. This was located facing forward and had no balcony, which we knew, what we did not know was that around 1 hour before we docked, the rattle and bangs and awful noise would start. Also one night we had to call the reception at around 11.30pm because although we were at sea the noise was terrible, including floor vibration and this lasted for over an hour. We were given a bottle of wine and a note apologizing the next day. The itinerary included stops at Martinique and Guadeloupe both were JUST for new passengers boarding and this was repeated on the return journey. During the evening meal we were subjected to "where the life boat station was" and "how to put on a life jacket" in 6 languages. Even though our newly boarded table companions were told not to worry as this would all take place next day. This exercise was repeated 5 times throughout the ship, to the annoyance of all. The meals were terrible, Christmas eve main meal was 3 thin strips of beef put on a bed of lettuce with half a tomato cut in half either side. We paid to eat in Tex Mex. The buffet restaurant was chaos and is best avoided, pushing and shoving was normal. The cabin passage ways were blocked by cleaning trucks and the carpet looked worn and stained. Our cabin steward was excellent and most of the staff were great, the entertainment was varied and OK. New years eve was spoiled by too many people trying to get tables or drinks. "formal dress" was a joke and even "elegant" was optional,.some in short sleeves and some in dinner jackets. NEVER again Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We booked this cruise 11 months in advance and we were so excited to spend Christmas in the Caribbean, however from day 1 we were so disappointed. Embarkation We queued for hours in customs in Barbados where we embark the ship. Had ... Read More
We booked this cruise 11 months in advance and we were so excited to spend Christmas in the Caribbean, however from day 1 we were so disappointed. Embarkation We queued for hours in customs in Barbados where we embark the ship. Had to claim our luggage and take it to a truck to be transported to the ship which came as a surprise to us. In Dec-16 we sailed with P&O Britannia and once we checked in our suitcases at London Gatwick, next time we saw these was in our cabin. So overall very poor service from MSC. What I found very annoying was that every 2-3 days there was a safety drill for new passengers. The locals used the ship as "hop in hop off" boat between the islands. Complete disaster! Ship Overall the ship is ok. It need a good refurbishment though as it's quite rusty and squeaky. Cabin We had balcony cabin 10224 (aft) - good size cabin with a sofa but again it needs a refub. The carpet is quite old, some visible signs of tear and wear in the bathroom. The cabin stewart was really nice guy and the service was excellent. Dining The most awful experience we had on a cruise. Nobody has been sanitising their hands upon entering the restaurants. The buffet was always so crowded, full with running kids spilling food and drinks everywhere. The food choices were not that good Dirty mugs/glasses and raw food (pictures enclosed). We went only once to Il Cerchio d'Oro. I was not impressed by the food swerved - cold, small portions and not seasoned at all. So most of the time we ate in the buffet. Entertainment Went once to a show but left after 15 mins as we got bored. Service As I mentioned above, our cabin stewart was great. I cannot say the same for the buffet and restaurant service. The staff in the pool bars were really good but not fast. Sometimes it took ages to get drinks. Ports and shore excursions We didn't book any shore excursions as they were too pricey. 50 euros per person for a beach break isn't worth it - basically to be put in a shared mini bus and taken to the beach and back. Desembarkation Bad experience again! When we were transported to Barbados airport for our return flight to the UK, we found our suitcases "dumped" outside the terminal, left without any security what's so ever. Anyone could walk in and walk out with one of these suitcases. I was not happy at all. We will NEVER sail again with MSC! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
We have been on between 25 and 30 cruises but this was the first with MSC. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly and quickly and our luggage arrived quickly at the cabins. The ship's decor and public areas were ... Read More
We have been on between 25 and 30 cruises but this was the first with MSC. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly and quickly and our luggage arrived quickly at the cabins. The ship's decor and public areas were impressive and kept immaculate with seemingly never ending use of vacuums! The smaller pool area at the back was popular but the pool itself never seemed to be particularly busy. There were plenty of sun loungers or tables and chairs everywhere. We favoured this smaller area to the large and noisy pool. This was also a good bar and meeting area in the evenings. Most of the staff were very nice and helpful - however the ship's officers seemed to think they were not allowed to look at passengers, let alone speak to them - perhaps they should be reminded no passengers, no jobs. This was a Christmas and New Year back to back cruise which meant at times, when the same islands were visited, passengers were continually changing. No problem there - however this did necessitate yet another fire drill mid-evening for the new passengers with announcements in about six different languages and the noise of suitcases being collected from cabin corridors in the early hours. We were with our son and daughter in law and had arranged to be on second sitting but this was at 9 pm and desserts were being served after 11 pm with no coffee or tea offered as this was available in the buffet. We changed to early sitting which suited us better but in fact we started using the buffet more, except for 'suggested' formal nights, as there was more choice although the standard was still average but it was much quicker than the restaurant. The restaurant left a lot to be desired. Choices were limited and portions were small although some people ordered more than one dish for each course. Certainly not the gourmet standard offered on other cruise lines and Christmas Day was the same as any other. Nothing special food wise and no crackers or poppers and the only hats were worn by some of the waiters who kept them on until the New Year! Formal nights were a joke. There were many people who wanted to participate with these but also many who were in the restaurants in casual clothes. Such a shame, but the people who did dress up showed up those who hadn't bothered! The four of us visited the T-Rex Steak Speciality restaurant twice. We all agreed the meals were great and couldn't be faulted although the service was slow, but the staff was very friendly - and busy. It was certainly worth the extra cost. The Atrium was about the only place for Christmas decorations and looked very pretty with garlands and a ginger bread house but that was it! One real negative was the hygiene, particularly in the buffet . There were very few hand sanitizer machines anywhere and one I did find was empty. There was certainly no one checking they were full or offering a hand held alternative as on other ships. This meant all the buffet serving utensils, drink dispensers for hot and cold water, ice, juices, coffee and milk touched by so many passengers were an obvious magnet for germs. Towards the end of the two week cruise, some people were complaining of chest infections and had harsh dry coughs, initially thought to be from the air conditioning which couldn't be altered or turned off in the cabin, except by leaving the balcony door open at night!. Although I had been extremely careful, I contracted this cough - luckily right at the end of the holiday - and spent three weeks in bed from my first day home with a virus and pneumonia. We were disappointed with the theatre,( which on other ships we go to most nights) as the entertainment seemed to be the same cast alternating shows. The standard was good and the costumes amazing but it would have been nice to see visiting entertainers. Singers and pianists dotted around the ship were very good and most enjoyable. Gratuities were automatically added to bills but a word with the 'front desk' had these removed, with us deciding who and what to pay. We had chosen the itinerary carefully and one place we had not visited before was the Dominican Republic. We took a taxi with other people to a recommended tourist spot but friends who liked to hike miles each day were escorted back to the ship by two police motor cyclists who happened to see them. This was for their safety and it would have been an idea for Fantasia to warn passengers about the area. However it was certainly worth visiting. We rarely book excursions so cannot comment, but there are always plenty of taxis and minibuses at the ports offering a wide range of varied tours. If carefully chosen, we have always found these to be excellent and good value - certainly compared to the ships' excursions - and usually take a minibus with other passengers. We had a great cruise and did enjoy it although any criticism above may make it sound otherwise, but a review needs to be fair and that is what I trust this has been. I suppose we got what we paid for, but in future it is going to have to be back to Princess, Celebrity, Oceania and so on! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
On arrival in Barbados we were rushed to the ship for embarkation no pictures etc as no sooner onboard we sailed. I has preordered 2 Bon voyage packages as we were travelling with another family member for a memorable birthday this went in ... Read More
On arrival in Barbados we were rushed to the ship for embarkation no pictures etc as no sooner onboard we sailed. I has preordered 2 Bon voyage packages as we were travelling with another family member for a memorable birthday this went in the caving on arrival. Requested said packages and we both should have had fresh fruit everyday we didn't get any until I complained then we both received the previous 5 days at once that we missed and I couldn't make anybody understand what was required. Sometimes the restaurant service could be very slow but I think this may have been due to understaffing as pour waiter was very good and always tried his best. The food was lovely and I found if you wanted ends you only had to ask. We had booked numerous excursion online at home before we left as this was the cheaper way of doing it but there always seemed to be a problem and both sets of families spent quite a lot of man hours trying to do it and when we finally had managed one trip on xmas day was sold out leaving us with nowhere to go on xmas day with a 12 year old! The night before we again tried to book our excursion and were told there had been a cancellation and we could go (but as we couldn't book at home we had to pay and extra 15%). On arrival home I complain to MSC about the above points and they were very apologetic and gave me a 10% discount voucher for a future cruise within 15 months! Great you might think but to cruise to the caribbean for 3 is quite expensive and was at xmas so we wouldn't have been able to afford another cruise within this time, nor were we able to take this cruise in peak periods (we only ever cruise in peak periods as we have a child in school!!!) this they can check as we have cruised with MSC before and was also peak. As for the Bon voyage package they apologised and said steps would be taken to rectify this in future (what good is that to me I ask)? I replied to MSC with my feelings on their apology and discount and was told it was all they could do so basically I could like or lump! Well I don't really like so as I have cruised before and will do in the future I will think very carefully about booking with MSC solely for their attitude about my complaints I was never even offered half the money back for 1 package! The actual cruise with the staff as usual couldn't have been better apart form the shows which I have found to be pretty rubbish (I have to put this down to European expectations not being as high as my own). Overall it was a fantastic cruise and we had a great xmas and new year onboard. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2017
Make no mistake, I had a great time with my 2nd sailing on MSC and the Divina, but that is because I am not a miserable person, but I met PLENTY of miserable passengers and they were all my countrymen, sigh. AMy favorite part was my triple ... Read More
Make no mistake, I had a great time with my 2nd sailing on MSC and the Divina, but that is because I am not a miserable person, but I met PLENTY of miserable passengers and they were all my countrymen, sigh. AMy favorite part was my triple balcony (keep the booking prices exactly the same!), the drinks and the colorful shows (Treasure Island, Witches In Paris and Michael Jackson). Honest to goodness, MSC is a great ship. With caveats. This was my 2nd time sailing with MSC, on the Divina and it was nice to be able to reflect between my voyage 2yrs ago for NYE and this past cruise. People live to overshare with me and this very much happened on the cruise cruise. No company should want to hear someone say "MSC is great, if you lower your xpectations." I come from a family of seasoned cruisers. The staff were great, to me, but I am a horse of different colors and I can adapt. You have to have dog hearing to hear the announcement for passenger embarkation. I was standing next to the escalator and even the attendant didn't hear it, just the crowd of passengers. Get to the embarkation port EARLY, like 10:30 or 11 and line up at the right door. Not the door as soon as he cares pulls up towards the middle of the ship where all of the disembarking passengers are, walk forward to head of ship and line up there. Put your stuff at the door and sit down. There is a stampeed closer to the time to board when they check your passports. You get a low number, get on and relax. For US Americans, all you have to do is dangle some keys in our face and we'll be satisfied like a toddler. If we like you, there's no bad word we'll say about you, but give us a reason to NOT like you and that's all we'll remember. I get this kind of crazy and I adapt. I am on a European ship, which is working to adapt its vision with its passengers having a good time.....but having us sail 12/2 from Miami to the Caribbean and there being NO Christmas decorations on the ship (we put up decorations the day after Thanksgiving and they're up to New Years) was a real downer, for example. I was able to show passengers what it LOOKED like in '15 when I sailed for NYE and it made other passengers bad situations worse. Decorations work. It makes people feel better, even when they feel worse. Enough of us asked the crew who said they had no idea, either, when it was going up. Reviews of a bare ship could go up, if the passengers feel the ship put in some decorating effort. Service charges. We should be able to go to reception and have them removed from our cabin without needing a permission slip from our room steward and creating a sense of awkwardness for everyone. One passenger in the cigar lounge told me he wouldn't be tipping ANYONE because he had to remove the charge via this fashion AND MSC will not provide a breakdown of where the service charge goes just like other cruise lines do. $5pp per day is standard for room steward, I found online, if its a $12.95 service charge, dining room is $6. He also said it in a (he felt) mockery of a French accent, or as he called it, "snooty European." It's a simple task, gives people ease and staff get their tips. A US liaison would have been able to help you avoid this. Why are there no maps in the middle of the elevator areas?? Having them on the sides is nice if you're there, but having them IN the elevator or in the middle of the elevator area,so you can peak out if you're lost is great....if you had it. Dining. Mashed potatoes come with gravy, but the gravy was NOwhere near it. My aunt and I discovered it on day 2 near the meat. People complained about the food, not because it was bad, but because it was organized....differently. Lounge chairs? You know, passengers like to lay on them outside of the pool area. I had a HUGE balcony in room, (love the triple size!)...but there was no lounge chair like up in Sofia Loren's suite. Deck 7 should also have them as well. Or chairs out like on RCCL. We want to be able lay out just on the deck. And then leave them there, like Holland America does. The deck is just bare....which is off putting. Smoking. We get it. You can't smoke on earth anymore, but having smoking on one side of Deck 14 outside at the pool, in the corner, like on RCCL, means the world for US citizens. Be unique with the great cigar room, but you may want to be able to see your kids in the pool and smoke, not just going up to 15. To some, the vagueness of the private adult pool on 14 is ok, to US citizens, adult only should mean adults only. I didn't mind, but a number of passengers told me this irked them. MSC Divina is a BEAUTIFUL ship, but missing the mark with the US market as they are still working to break into our market. 7yrs in our market, people should not still say "what is MSC?" They definitely need to do more marketing. ADDITIONALLY.... Why is the music so outdated in the public areas where we drink outside of the pool? We had a great time listening to the music....coming from RCCL's Rhapsody ship when we were docked in one of the ports. Everyone doesn't want to go to the Disco or Black and White Lounge to hear music from the Top 20. Again, US American's need to learn to adapt to other cultures, but it would be nice if MSC tried a bit harder in our market. Over in Europe, we'll get what we get, but in this hemisphere, we feel left out when we see other party ships and we feel like we are at a collegiate cocktail hour....for a week. The ship is so clean. US citizens like to party, but compared to other ships, you are SO clean. I loved it! No trash cans, we get it, but I applaud how clean and pretty MSC is. I love your decor, even without the late Christmas directions. Those stairs are amazing! They are swarovski crystal! The staff who do activities like arts and crafts NEED an assistant. One person is so not enough. Cintia did great, because we helped her. She just did not have enough arms to be in two places at once with multiple tables. She was super happy for me to show passengers how to do 3D snowflakes when we realized we could NOT do her boxes. She and I got along great. She said I should apply for MSC. I LOVE HOW PRETTY THE SHIP IS, but definitely could be room for improvement. Omg, wow, I have never sailed on a ship that was more disorganized with the final disembarkation than I was this with MSC. With US citizens, unfortunately, it only takes one person standing to make a line, for everyone else to line up behind them. And that is where the madness started. There was ONE line going down the middle of the ship and through the lounges on 7 and then we looked to our right and saw another line out on the deck! I am a mover and a shaker, so I told my aunt, lets go. But not before the major wave of resentment spread across the land of us not knowing which was the real line. MSC let us line up for port disembarkation in Jamaica, only to tell EVERYONE in the stairs area that they needed to make one line around reception after we had been there 10m. Having a posted staff member there preventing us from lining up in the first place would have helped US citizens and everyone feel better about your planning skills. Lines, we all have to wait in them, but knowing which is the RIGHT line goes a long way with getting return passengers. It was December and I have sailed with MSC during the last week of December and I KNOW how much prettier your ship can be for the month and it can definitely change the atmosphere of how passengers feel about their sailing when you decorate what our culture calls on time, which is December 1st. Back to US citizens being easily pleased, IF you try. We need karaoke every night and 3 or 5 rounds of daily trivia, a mid-day Marriage/Couples game in the theater or pool area. Moods and reviews can be altered if we are made to be in a happy place. A unique happy place from MSC? Your AMAZING drink voucher option. Not everyone wants or needs unlimited for $600 and all passengers in the room needing to get it. I will now purchase it on my next MSC cruise, since my family WANTS to do a Mediterranean one, as I'm a big fan of the Count of Monte Cristo movie. Hello, Malta! t's alarming that MSC thinks the previous cruise passengers winning ONLY $10k on the last cruise is a good thing. There are over 4k passengers, 10k is weak. A number of US passengers AND European ones told me they were quite alarmed with their lack of winnings in the casino, myself included. We did hear that one lady won $6k on our trip. Must be nice. Read Less
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