12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
My wife and I took a Cruise at MSC Musica. RIo-Buenos Aires-Rio. After purchasing the tickets, directly with MSC, we received, on the eve of the trip, an email confirming a cabin with a balcony. We were very happy because we bought the ... Read More
My wife and I took a Cruise at MSC Musica. RIo-Buenos Aires-Rio. After purchasing the tickets, directly with MSC, we received, on the eve of the trip, an email confirming a cabin with a balcony. We were very happy because we bought the Bingo rate and knew we could go to internal or external cabin with balcony. Confirmed that it was external, with balcony, we rejoice even more. On the day of the checkin, they confirmed our cabin and we dispatched the bag. Arriving in the cabin, our bag was already there and even the beverages tickets that had been bought, were on the bed, waiting for us. The chamberlain introduced himself, "ticked" our name on the passenger list under his responsibility and put himself at our disposal. The journey began in the best possible way. My wife loved the cabin, took pictures, sent them to friends, etc. After about an hour we were there, I decided to take a shower. When I went out of the shower, naked, the door of the cabin opens and another couple enters !! I pulled the towel over to cover myself, but it was extremely embarrassing. The couple, it was not their fault. MSC gave them another card with the same number of our cabin! Very embarrassed, I put my clothes on and went down to reception to try to solve the problem. The man at the front desk said that I would have to leave the cabin for this couple to use and they will send me to an internal cabin. I answered that no, I had received that cabin, the checkin had confirmed that cabin and that my things were waiting for me in that cabin (suitcase and beverage tickets) We even had already taken all the clothes and kept them in the closet. Also, I confirmed with this couple that their ticket was also promotional. So, why they would get us out of there ??? The receptionist said that he could not do anything and that I was supposed to go upstairs, pack my things and that someone would come there to help me with my bags and tell us where we were going. I went back, embarrassed, My wife was very upset and we started to pack things back. We waited for an hour in the cabin.Nothing. I went down again with the same gentleman and he asked me: Why do you not changed yet? I lost my temper: I said: you told me to wait. I do not know which cabin you will send me. even if I knew, would I open the door with my finger? Where's the card? He then took the card and gave it to me. Needless to say, we had to carry the bags ourselves. Arriving in the inner cabin, my wife almost cried. Suffocating. She went totake a shower. It only had cold water. Can you imagine the disappointment ??? We called the maintenance service. The guy went there after a while and said that he needed to change the register that opened the water, but that he did something that we would be able to use for a while, until he fix it later. In fact, the hot water worked. But it was closing after a few time and we had to constantly regulate. All of these situations have spoiled our whole experience on the ship. On the second day, at night, they left a champagne in our cabin, apologizing. Later, around midnight, we were informed that there was an external cabin availiable. I decided to move in the same night, because the internal cabin was very bad. We packaged everything and by one o'clock AM, we were in our new cabin. Tired, but at least we got a decent shower. I felt really embarrassedin froint a couple of strangers and MSC ignored our suffering. The ship's reception staff is insensitive and does not seem to care for the guests. Oh ... I forgot to mention one detail: On the first day, I called the MSC number where I had bought the ticket and they advised me to talk to someone from the guest relation in the ship. I went to the front desk and asked to speak to her. I was told that she was not available and that if I wanted to, I could schedule a meeting with her the other day, at 10 o'clock AM. But it would not help me, because she coulddo nothing. Even so, I scheduled the meeting. The other day at 10 AM, what happened? She was not there and could not receive me. I reiterate that in the purchase of the fare, I knew that the cabin would be allocated by lot. But after the confirmation by email, checkin, after we are using the cabin, to be surprised by other guests, in a delicate situation, It was terrible! We could not have been "ripped" out of our cabin like that. It was a monumental MSC mistake that, I repeat, embarrassed me and spoiled our experience on board. They tried to solve it later, but it was little, in comparisson to what we went through. I would not recommend this cruise because of the lack of organization, the insensitivity of the attendants on the ship and for the embarassement I was exposed. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We've just returned from a 12 day cruise from Rio to Buenos Aires. We met a great crowd of people and made several new friends. The food was generally of a very high standard although the portions were small like nouvelle cuisine - a ... Read More
We've just returned from a 12 day cruise from Rio to Buenos Aires. We met a great crowd of people and made several new friends. The food was generally of a very high standard although the portions were small like nouvelle cuisine - a started portion of 3 Tiger prawns is hardly going to satisfy most people. The website stated that the Sirena was refitted in 2016. This is misleading - the speciality restaurants may have been but the common areas were very dated rather like a 3 star hotel. Very disappointing as we had only previously sailed with Celebrity and we were told that Oceania was a step up. I would strongly disagree. The Staterooms (I prefer to call them Boxrooms) were minuscule and the shower rooms were like telephone kiosks and fitted to a standard that reminded me of an NHS hospital. In summary I would say that the Sirena is past its "Sail by" date. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
We are from the UK and after previous cruises on Princess Royal Carribean NCL Carnival we were worried about the sailing we had booked on the Costa Facinosa from previous reviews we had read we got a great deal for £399 each in an ... Read More
We are from the UK and after previous cruises on Princess Royal Carribean NCL Carnival we were worried about the sailing we had booked on the Costa Facinosa from previous reviews we had read we got a great deal for £399 each in an inside cabin for the South America Transatlantic cruise back to Europe . We had no need to worry at all the ship was one of the best we have sailed on she is pure elegance and the inside cabin was the largest we had stayed in and the bathroom was huge with a large shower .Plenty of storage space in both and the bed was so comfortable. The ship was spotless and the elegant quality of the furnishings and lighting truly amazed us. The crossing was so smooth and we had hot sunny weather most of the way. After reading previous reviews that no one spoke English this was a complete load of rubbish. All staff spoke English the daily update was printed in English and the Captain gave updates in English too. After reading reviews there was nothing to do during the day again a load of rubbish there was something to do from 10:00 to 18:00 every day. We joined in pool games quiz afternoons dance lessons art and craft lesson all with English speaking staff and there were many more activities to choose from. The food and quality was some of the best we had eaten on any ship the quality of the Italian hams cheeses bread pizza meats soups salads etc etc were of a really good standard. Every evening we had a different five course evening meal in the restaurant on Deck 3 and during Gala Nights the meal was also excellent.Lots of people did wear elegant outfits for the Gala Nights. We enjoyed the shows on an evening so much variety acrobats dancers opera singers magician illusionist and many more . We would highly recommend the ship and really enjoyed the South America Transatlantic crossing we had so much value for money and would not hesitate to book another cruise with Costa . Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
The Good –the Itinerary & the Weather; The bad – the Dining; The Ugly – NCL’s Nickel & Diming We decided on this cruise because of the itinerary and the opportunity to visit Iguazu Falls post cruise. Embarkation was ... Read More
The Good –the Itinerary & the Weather; The bad – the Dining; The Ugly – NCL’s Nickel & Diming We decided on this cruise because of the itinerary and the opportunity to visit Iguazu Falls post cruise. Embarkation was shambolic. Queue for luggage drop off, queue for health documents, long walk or shuttle to ship, long queue to check in. We later learnt that this was because the ship was too far away from the terminals for the computers. The credit card terminal was inoperative when we checked in so we could not register our credit card. The next morning we received a poorly worded, aggressive letter saying that as we had opted to pay cash (not true) our signing rights were cancelled and we would have to deposit some money. Not impressed, compounded by the front desk forgetting to tell the computer when it was sorted and our cruisecard then being embarrassingly rejected for a $6 purchase. To be fair, customer recovery was excellent. Our balcony cabin was fine although the bathroom is indeed tiny. Storage space was sufficient. The ship appears to be well maintained and all public areas were clean and tidy, if a little old fashioned. We thought dining ranged from poor and abysmally repetitive in the buffets to just OK but lacking any pizzazz in the main dining room. We ate at three speciality restaurants, le Bistro, the Italian and Cagneys. They too were OK but I wouldn’t hurry back although the steaks in Cagneys were excellent. On the whole the crew were excellent, being pleasant and efficient. We particularly enjoyed the Great Outdoors bar. Some of the ports required tenders, and we thought the NCL operation slick and safe. We never had to wait long. Disembarkation was OK but getting a taxi a nightmare. Wonderful weather and some chilled ports of call made the cruise. We have some concerns with the NCL pricing model (extra charges in the MDR, extremely expensive drinks, overpriced excursions) which makes it unlikely we will return. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
This was a bucket list trip around South America. Boarding was total disorganized and took over 4 1/2 hours. No one in the terminal had any answers as to why the delays. The ship is old and outdated. stains in carpeting, ratty mats and ... Read More
This was a bucket list trip around South America. Boarding was total disorganized and took over 4 1/2 hours. No one in the terminal had any answers as to why the delays. The ship is old and outdated. stains in carpeting, ratty mats and flooring in the gym, no nets on basketball courts, broken machines in the casino. When I spoke to a supervisor about the condition of the ship I was told" Sir, you have to understand that the ship will be going into dry dock so we're not bothering now with those things." Could not believe a crew member would say that to a recently boarded passenger. Got sick first night. Went to medical center second day but could not be seen then due to emergency. went next day and received a bill for $600. Due to critically ill patient we had to turn around and as a result of the delays we missed two of 5 ports- Montevideo and Falkland Islands. Cabin next door to us flooded and at 5:30 AM we had to move ourselves into another cabin. No help from crew as they were "busy" cleaning up. Two small fires during cruise- one in engine room and one in incinerator room. Food was very mediocre in buffet and dining room. The food in Sabatini's was very good. So many problems that the line finally offered passengers a credit on the cruise and on a future cruise. That was well received but as for this cruise, we spent 11 of 14 days at sea on a somewhat run down ship. Very disappointing and a waste of a lot of money. Front desk staff were great as was Cruise Director, trying to be helpful. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
As part of my wife’s and my 50th wedding anniversary celebration, we planned a “bucket list” cruise around South America. We planned and reserved the trip in September 2015, while aboard an Alaskan cruise on the Pacific Princess. We ... Read More
As part of my wife’s and my 50th wedding anniversary celebration, we planned a “bucket list” cruise around South America. We planned and reserved the trip in September 2015, while aboard an Alaskan cruise on the Pacific Princess. We sailed on a 14-day cruise on the Crown Princess leaving out of Rio de Janeiro on 04 January 2017, ending up in Valparaiso / Santiago, Chile. The first half of our cruise was like the “cruise from hell”! The second half turned out very nice. Some of the problems we encountered were particular to us, while some affected everyone on the cruise. Some were not the fault of Princess, while some I totally attribute to Princess. Some were due to weather and some due to an unexpected medical emergency. However, others were due to what I consider poor maintenance on the Crown Princess; some due to poor attitude of some, but not all of, the Princess staff; and some due to what I consider poor planning and execution by Princess Management. Problems started before we boarded the ship. The Embarkation process in Rio was a disaster. It was not a process at all, but rather total chaos! There was no organization and the subcontractor hired by Princess to manage the embarkation was untrained, unknowledgeable on what was going on or supposed to be going on, and totally rude to some passengers, notably handicapped ones. There was a very noticeable total lack of Princess staff present until very late in the boarding experience. Once a Princess staff member did come out and try to make announcements, they were audible only in about the northern 1/3 of the building. There were far too few chairs for the number of folks there (about 1/3 had to stand the entire time) and the air-conditioning was woefully inadequate. There was no water or cold drinks available except for purchase from one vendor which had a 30-minute line to check out. Priority boarding was non-existent. Platinum, Elite and Suite passengers were given “boarding numbers” just like everyone else, (seemingly at random) based upon when they arrived. Everyone should have boarded by 5 PM and sailed at 6 PM. We, along with two other couples traveling with us arrived at 1:30 PM. We finally boarded around 5:45 PM and our traveling companions did not get aboard until around 7:15 PM, and they were by no means the last to board. We sailed about 3 hours late, missing our scheduled dinner assignment and unable to see Rio de Janeiro’s harbor sights in daylight. It was the worst embarkation, by far, we have experienced in some 16 cruises in numerous North American and European ports, and with six different cruise lines. A couple next to us in the Rio embarkation warehouse said it was the worst embarkation they had experienced in 35 years of cruising! During our first day at sea, an announcement was made asking for any blood donors with AB+ or O- blood and a donor card to please report for the ship’s medical center since a passenger had a medical emergency and was in need of a transfusion. He was stabilized, but needed to be transported to a hospital onshore for further treatment. The ship diverted course and sailed back to the Brazilian mainland and the patient was transferred to a smaller vessel near shore and thence to a hospital. Unfortunately we learned the next morning he had undergone an emergency procedure there, but had not survived. This necessary diversion caused us to be another 8-10 hours late. After another day of cruising we had entered the Rio de la Plata river / estuary between Buenos Aires and Montevideo, where we dropped anchor! The Captain explained that 24-36 hours of very strong Northwest winds had caused an unusually low tide in the estuary and there was insufficient draft for us to proceed to Buenos Aires. We stayed at anchor for maybe 6-10 hours while the winds abated and the tides returned sufficient water for the required draft of the Crown Princess. The next morning we were docked at Buenos Aires, albeit a full day late. We awoke to find that out of some 8 or so planned shore excursions in Buenos Aires, the one we had signed up for was the only excursion cancelled. The reason given was equipment or technical issues. The same exact tours, but with German and Spanish speaking guides, proceeded as planned. It was too late to schedule another tour. We and one of the other couples traveling with us took a taxi into the Plaza de Mayo. From there we walked 2 blocks and took a “Hop-On-Hop-Off” bus tour of Buenos Aires. After several hours on the bus, and consulting the guide, we got off the bus and walked 3 blocks to the Recoleta Cemetery to see Evita’s grave. This had been one of the major stops on the Princess shore excursion that was cancelled. While walking the three blocks through a very nice park, we were “scammed” and I had my pocket picked and lost my new iPhone! Someone threw some foul-smelling stuff on all our backs and while we were distracted, thinking a flock of birds had pooped on us, their accomplice, seeming to help point out the stuff on our backs, picked my pocket. Apparently it is a favorite ploy of gangs in the city. The guide in Recoleta saw our soiled pants and shirts and said “Oh, you have been scammed”. He said we were not the first that day. When I reported it to two nearby policemen, they simply said that’s the way the gangs operate. Guest Services said when we reported it back aboard ship that we were not the only Crown Princess passengers to fall for the same scam that day. We told the staff member working there that future passengers should be warned about this scam. Indeed, the excursion speaker did then warn of exactly this type of scam before we arrived in Santiago. We went to our stateroom, took off our clothes, showered and left quickly for our scheduled early dinner seating. We planned to wash our soiled clothes the next morning in the self-laundry on our deck. The next morning we “learned” that because we are a day late, we had lost our docking spot in Montevideo and thus would not dock there during the day but only a short time in the evening to take on supplies and food. All shore excursions in Montevideo are thus cancelled. We are also told that we “must take on fuel” and because we have lost our docking slot in Montevideo, we again sat at anchor for 6-8 hours in the Rio de la Plata while a small tanker and pump barge tied up alongside and loaded bunker fuel. Also when we awoke that morning we found some of the carpet in our stateroom wet. We learned that the toilet in the adjacent stateroom had overflowed and somehow seeped through the bulkhead and into our stateroom. We also found that all the laundries were closed for “water rationing”? We complained to the head steward who was on the hall overseeing carpet clean-up, asking when the laundries would be open because we had the fouled clothes for our Buenos Aires scam. He offered to take our clothes and have them cleaned complementary with the crew’s laundry. We thanked him and then went to eat breakfast. We had to stay out of our cabin most of the day while the carpets were vacuumed, shampooed, and dried (or at least partially dried). We had a very noisy blower in the room for two days. It seems strange to me that a ship capable of extended cruising and making trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific crossings of 7-10 straight days at sea should have to refuel only 4 days after leaving the beginning of the cruise in Rio de Janeiro! I am guessing that since this ship for the remainder of the season cruises alternatively between Buenos Aires and Valparaiso that they have attractive bunker fuel contracts in both areas. However, with only one stop per season in Rio, I suspect that Princess had to purchase fuel at a more expensive “spot market price”, and thus Princess management chose to sail from Rio with only partially full bunker tanks. Then after unexpected weather and unforeseen medical situations, we must sit anchored in the muddy Rio de la Plata and refuel for 6-8 hours. In retrospect I think this may also be the reason for the “water rationing” since I doubt if that the reverse osmosis water-makers could properly handle the very muddy water being taken in from the Plata while we sat at anchor. I had noticed water from our tap the night before being somewhat cloudy or brown! We finally docked at Montevideo just at dusk and passengers are allowed ashore for about 3 hours and told to “enjoy the nearby shops, bars, and restaurants” since no tours weree offered. My wife and I disembarked and got just to the end of the pier before a major thunderstorm unleashed torrential rains. We quickly re-boarded, being some of the lucky ones to get only slightly wet instead of thoroughly drenched. People who did stay ashore later complained that all the shops and many restaurants and bars were shuttered for the night (or the rain?). We just got to “set foot” in Montevideo and Uruguay, and had no excursions or tours! The next morning we were informed that we would totally bypass the Falkland Islands in order to get back on schedule for the remainder of the cruise. All shore excursions in the Falklands, including the one we had booked to go and see the penguins, were of course cancelled. Seeing the penguins had been one of the anticipated highlights of our cruise! We went to the Shore Excursion Desk to see if there were any options to change, or add, excursions in Ushuaia to see penguins there. We were told they were all already full with “very long waiting lists”! People were really getting upset by now. After waiting in line for quite a while at the Shore Excursion Desk, two men cut in from the side and went directly up to the desk. Several people behind us yelled at them to “wait their turn and get in line like everyone else!” When we then approached the staff member (we were next in line before the men attempted to cut), my wife told the staff member working there that in addition to helping with shore excursions, he should also help maintain order and ensure that folks kept in line and did not cut. He, almost indigently, told her that he had been there several days and nobody had ever cut before! He also said that we should not anticipate on getting on any excursions to see penguins as they were all much too full. As new Captain’s Circle Platinum members, my wife and I were disappointed in the lack of attention that was paid to the “claimed Platinum Benefits”. First there was absolutely no priority or preferred boarding in Rio for us as Platinum members. There was a “Happy Hour” for Platinum, Elite and Suite passengers held in the Skywalker’s Lounge every night. We received no notice of this initially. We only learned about it after 3-4 days at sea from a fellow Platinum passenger. My wife called the Guest Services desk and inquired about these functions and about an invitation. She was told we should have received an invitation in our stateroom (which we didn’t). My wife requested one and was told it would be sent to our room shortly. Late the next day after still not receiving one, I finally went to the Guest Services desk and asked for one. After a lengthy “verification” that we were indeed Platinum, I was given a copy. We did utilize the special disembarkation lounge for Platinum, Elite and Suite guests in the Explorer’s Lounge and that was nice. There were also a number of smaller instances which all pointed to the age of the Crown Princess and what I consider poor condition and maintenance. There were numerous plumbing problems. In addition to the overflowing toilet next door, our toilet overflowed once but thankfully was contained on the tile bathroom floor. Over the remainder of the cruise, we heard of several other “overflowing toilet issues”. The tub in our mini-suite was VERY slow draining for the entire voyage. Initially there was no Wi-Fi service in our stateroom. I called and complained and was told that the “router would be tweaked and it should be better”. It was never consistently available. Occasionally I could get a weak Wi-Fi signal in one or two spots in our stateroom, but if my phone or iPad shifted more than a few inches, I lost the signal. I resolved myself to going to the ship’s common areas to text, and send and receive email. One day we were both in our stateroom, my wife in the bathroom and I on the couch reading. There was a loud thump or bang. I thought my wife had fallen and she thought I had fallen. Instead a large fabric-coated wooden panel had fallen off the wall beside the bed between us and bounced over the lamp and onto the floor. It probably weighed 20 pounds. I informed our steward and it was promptly reattached. I know we experienced some rough seas both in the Atlantic as we approached Cape Horn and also in the Pacific as we came out of the Strait of Magellan and the ship rolled and pitched. However, all the attached wooden furniture (desk, cabinets, etc.,) in our stateroom (D515) creaked and popped so loudly that on several nights my wife could only get to sleep after putting in earplugs and taking some melatonin. As a football fan I was also disappointed in the choices of Princess as to how games were presented on television. We watched all the pre-game hype and interviews for the NCAA championship game on our stateroom TV. Just as the game was about to begin, however, the screen went blank and then a message was displayed that “this presentation is blacked out on this station”! The first weekend of the NFL playoffs, games were shown on the large poolside screen and on the TV’s in Gatsby’s Casino, but not in the staterooms. The next weekend of the NFL Division Playoffs the same arrangement was initially started. There was so much interest in the Dallas – Green Bay game that Gatsby’s was standing room only. The Blackjack Dealers could not even get chairs around their tables and no one came to the tables to play in spite of the dealers trying to set up. Finally the head man or Pit Boss came out and told the dealers to just give up and wait until after the game. At the end of the Dallas – Green Bay game, they made an announcement that the next game between the Steelers and the Patriots would instead be shown on the stateroom TV’s! I’m not sure of Princess’s arrangements with satellite television but when the business in the casino suffered, they certainly found a way quickly to broadcast the games in the staterooms! Why didn’t they do it earlier for the NFL and for the NCAA game? Although there was clearly a bad attitude among some of the Crown Princess staff, especially the staff manning the Shore Excursion and Guest Services desks and some of the shops, not all were of this same attitude. Our stateroom steward was very attentive and efficient and very promptly attended to every issue raised with him. The Botticelli formal dining room wait staff and the staff at Vines Wine Bar deserve special praise. They were excellent. We were also somewhat disappointed in the overall quality of the entertainment. The specialty venue musicians were all very good and the comedian in the Explorer’s Lounge was very good. The Princess Production crews (singers and dancers) were very talented, but the production shows themselves seemed “dated” and unimaginative. Nathan Foley, whom we had seen win Princess’ Entertainer of the Year on the Caribbean Princess last year, was great as usual. The audience response to all shows, however, even including Foley’s, seemed to lack the enthusiasm we have experienced on other recent cruises. The food in the main dining rooms (Botticelli and da Vinci) where we ate and the Horizon Court buffet were adequate. The food in the International Café, which we frequented for lunch, was very good. Our two meals in Crown Grill and Sabatini’s specialty restaurants were probably the best dining experiences and meals we have had on any cruise. The second half of the cruise was much better; making all ports and having no shore excursions cancelled. Cruising around Cape Horn and the glaciers around Beagle Channel and the Strait of Magellan were spectacular. Ushuaia was beautiful and fun to visit. Our Wildlife Watching excursion there was excellent. Punta Arenas was interesting also. Disembarkation went very smoothly in Valparaiso. One last personal problem did arise related to disembarkation, however. We had dutifully placed all our large bags outside our stateroom the night before so that they could be transported to a lower deck for offloading into the passenger terminal. We kept only our small carry-on bags and one set of clothes to wear ashore and on the full-day tour of Valparaiso, Vina del Mar, and a wine tasting and lunch en route to our hotel in Santiago. I had saved the hiking pants that had been taken and cleaned by the chief steward for us after they were severely soiled in our earlier scamming incident. I had checked that all of the odorous substance had come out of the trouser legs and that they had not been stained. Much to my chagrin, however, I discovered as I put on the trousers that last morning, that in the washing, drying or ironing that the entire zipper pull was missing! Luckily I had also left out a pullover golf shirt with an extra-long shirttail that I could constantly pull down to cover my open zipper! I did fill out a Damage Report at the Guest Services desk, but it was still an uncomfortable, embarrassing day until I could get to the hotel in Santiago and get another pair of pants from my suitcase! I have yet to hear from Princess or receive any reimbursement for the ruined pants. I know this was not the experience or quality cruise that I, nor other passengers, nor Princess was expecting. Obviously Princess realized this since they offered each passenger ½ of that they had paid for the cruise in a “Future Cruise Credit” and another ½ of that they had paid for the cruise as a credit in their “Onboard Spending Account”. I am grateful for that, but still do not think that this particular cruise and ship was anywhere near the quality on prior Princess cruises. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
We chose this cruise because of it's great itinerary. We sailed Rio de Janeiro > Buenos Aires stopping at 5 ports along the way. Firstly, the boarding procedure was quick and simple but when we were on board there was literally ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of it's great itinerary. We sailed Rio de Janeiro > Buenos Aires stopping at 5 ports along the way. Firstly, the boarding procedure was quick and simple but when we were on board there was literally no one to assist us in the direction of our cabin. We eventually found one staff member and asked him and he had no clue where to point us. it took about 15 mins to finally find it. The ship itself was clean and elegant inside and quite luxurious. Our room attendant Jay was superb and so were a couple of bartenders namely Sy and Santos who were super friendly and always remembered our names. I would like to warn anyone who is on the "ultimate beverage package" that the package is very limited. We were shocked to find out that bottled water is somehow not included and they were trying to charge us $4 - $6 for a bottle of water! Also small things like teas and coffees in the cafe were also not included in their "ultimate beverage package". Out of principal we refused to buy bottled water as we paid $800 each to be on this package. My girlfriend got quite sick after three days, probably from drinking the tap water on the ship! The bottled water policy didn't make sense to me at all, how can a $15 cocktail be included on the package when a bottle of water isn't? None of the staff could explain the logic to me either. Perhaps I was spoilt on my last cruise with Celebrity where their "ultimate package" was inclusive of absolutely everything, even premium whiskies and wines where Norwegian are quick to charge you extra for this. It was really disappointing. Apart from the few staff members i mentioned above, I found the crew to be quite unprofessional at times. There were a few instances were crew were clearly speaking negatively about Norwegian cruise lines in front of guests (happened twice on the tendors and again while we were waiting to be seated at the dining room). I'm not sure whether they are not paid enough or are working too many hours but it is reflecting in their service and we could tell that they were not happy. Overall we enjoyed the cruise because of the ports of call and it was comfortable but unfortunately it doesn't compare to Celebrity Cruises in terms of value for money, service and overall experience. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2016
We had a two week South American cruise on the Star Princess. Inclement weather made this cruise difficult. 3 ports were aborted due to rough seas. No one can control the weather, but it is a very long way to travel from the UK to not ... Read More
We had a two week South American cruise on the Star Princess. Inclement weather made this cruise difficult. 3 ports were aborted due to rough seas. No one can control the weather, but it is a very long way to travel from the UK to not make the ports on the itinerary. Special mention should go to the Captain Stefano Raneiro, who had to make some tough decisions, for the safety of the crew and passengers. The entertainment was not as good, as on previous cruisers I have taken with Princess. The food in the Capri dining room was wonderful, as were the staff. Embarkation in Rio de Janeiro was a complete fiasco. Standing in line for up to 4 hours, just to check in, with no seating, and very little organisation. For first time cruisers it would have definitely put them off. The debarkation, however worked like clockwork! Our cabin was fabulous. We always have a balcony. The cost of the airfare is prohibitive, unless you get to see the ports. So maybe Princess needs to compensate consumers for flights as well as the cruise. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
Sailed 10 day cruise from Rio to Buenos Aries. We haved sailed on multiple lines before but Oceania has my vote as "favorite." Ship is smaller than other ships we have sailed with about 1200 passengers, is very low key and very ... Read More
Sailed 10 day cruise from Rio to Buenos Aries. We haved sailed on multiple lines before but Oceania has my vote as "favorite." Ship is smaller than other ships we have sailed with about 1200 passengers, is very low key and very tastefully adorned. Everything was quickly reachable and "crowds" were non-existent. Food, especially the 4 included dine-around restaurants, was the best of any previous cruises and was gourmet level. We were on Concierge Deck and cabin was excellent; very roomy with couch, table and balcony. Daily on-board activities was limited (I expected some topical talks), but the overall atmosphere lent itself to total relaxation. We love bridge and there was a daily game but we spent more time just lounging around the pool. Service was excellent. Shows were entertaining but don't expect major productions like bigger ships. Several Ports of Call on this particular trip were not particularly interesting unless you are into beach or water activities but this lent itself to more on-board relaxation. Boarding and disembarkation was very smooth and efficient, especially latter. Overall, Oceania is more pricey than other Lines but definitely our first choice and will watch promos for future trips. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2011
My wife wanted to go to Rio de Janeiro for our anniversary. I always wanted to go to Buenos Aires. Only one cruiseline gave us both with significant time in Rio on the dates near our anniversary plus a stop at Punta del Este, Uruguay - ... Read More
My wife wanted to go to Rio de Janeiro for our anniversary. I always wanted to go to Buenos Aires. Only one cruiseline gave us both with significant time in Rio on the dates near our anniversary plus a stop at Punta del Este, Uruguay - MSC. So, I researched MSC very thoroughly both on this board and elsewhere. Thanks to everyone who provided information like boardmember woodofpine (see his helpful review here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?p=24572068&highlight=#post24572068) and many others. This is my full review of THIS cruise. I say this one specifically because I don't know if this experience is completely reflective of MSC in all other cruises, but I'd suspect so from the many comments I have read. Here is a quick summary, using the A - F grading system, of how we viewed the cruise: Itinerary: A+ Food: D Cleanliness and Condition of Room: A Condition & Layout of Ship: A Customer Service from Crew: C Pricing of Cruise and Drinks Onboard: A Embarkation/Disembarkation Process: F Now, from the grading you can see we didn't hate our time on the cruise, but there were several very low marks and we probably will not cruise MSC again. First, about the issue of MSC not providing complimentary water and coffee, to me it was a non-issue at the buffet because coffee is provided at breakfast and water is provided at all times. Plus, you can buy a water package (21 bottles of 16 oz. of mineral water) for about $31 USD which we did. It was a little annoying when in the main dining room not being brought water automatically, but we have experienced that in Europe before and we knew about it heading into the cruise. What was much more disconcerting is the service levels of most of the employees we encountered at the bars and restaurants. On more than one occasion, we waited in the buffet for over 10 minutes before any employee came towards our table for beverage service. Also on more than one occasion, when an employee did approach us they said they weren't the waiter and our waiter would be by shortly only to wait even longer. Never have I been in a restaurant, resort or cruise ship where an employee in that situation neither a) called my waiter over or b) just took the order her/himself. I also remember asking for additional ice for Cokes we ordered and the waiter said "the ice machine is over there"; I wouldn't have minded this at all except for the ice machine to which the public had access was on the fritz for almost the entire cruise. I have traveled to many places in Europe and in Latin America and this is not the standard sort of service I've come to expect; this isn't a "European problem" or "American problem", it's a service problem. Speaking of the restaurants, we had a couple of dishes that were "ok", but I was never wowed or even satisfied with any total meal. The traditional Brazilian feijoada was good, but not great. The desserts were bad except at the Gala Buffet. The meals in the main dining room included some very overcooked beef tenderloin (think a dry washcloth), very underseasoned fish, fatty beef stew and spoiled prawns delivered to my wife and the second to last night. On the spoiled prawns, I literally didn't believe her and I tasted it myself and promptly spat it out. I guess I figured no matter how bad the food was, serving spoiled crustacean was impossible for a competent kitchen staff. We also thought the embarkation and disembarkation was a nightmarish process. We arrived to our last cruise with NCL after 2:30pm in Barcelona. We had a balcony and were shown to a shorter line because we paid more and got onboard by 3:30pm (maybe earlier). We arrived to the port in Rio at 12:30pm. We got onboard the ship at 4:20pm. Why? Not only were balcony and suite passengers not given preferential boarding, everyone got what seemed to be a number based on their deck level regardless of when they arrived at the port. That number determined when you boarded the ship. Boarding didn't seem to start until after 1:30pm when the first number was called. We had a similarly hellish experience leaving the ship. We didn't pick up passports on the night before; instead we picked them up the morning of disembarkation but weren't told where. So I hobbled about the ship (with a bad foot... that's another story ) and got ours from reception just as a madhouse began by lots of angry and pushy passengers fighting for their passports. There were definitely some great things we experienced. Irene, our cabin steward, was fantastic. She gave us a few special favors we needed. She helped me out when I was put down by the forementioned foot problem. She was flat out the best service person on the ship. Our main waiter at the dinner restaurant, Gregorio, was great as well. He learned our preferences and had bottled water and ice waiting for us at our dinner time. We also had some pretty good bar staff. As for the ship, it's beautiful with good shops and has reasonable prices for things. Overall I'd say we had a good experience being together and seeing great cities, but MSC isn't really for us I would say. Not because it isn't "American" enough, but because they still have significant operational and service "kinks" that we can avoid by using other lines like NCL. My advice is make your own determination through thorough research if you are considering MSC, but unless they have a "once in a lifetime" itinerary, I'd counsel you to choose another line. As for the destinations, they are excellent. Rio de Janeiro is a city I fell in love with years ago and it's even better now. We got into town a day before the cruise and stayed one night at the Acapulco Copacabana hotel which is 2 blocks from the beach and only 2 blocks from nightlife. The hotel is a boutique property that had a large room and kingsize bed in its superior room for $169 per night in high season. The service was good and the staff were very nice. In Rio, we used private guide, Martha Vasconcellos for a small group tour of the Rocinha favela and a private tour of Corcovado (Christ statue). She was fabulous and I would wholeheartedly recommend her. Buenos Aires was great as well. Pedro Werberg provided private guide services for us there. We did a full city tour viewing some of the old mansions, the Pink Palace for the lowering of the flag ceremony, the Recoleta cemetery, a coffee shop and a great steakhouse (El Establo). I also would highly recommend Pedro. Also, if you love hot beaches and can stand cold water, Punta del Este's beaches were some of the best I have been to and because of the currents it had some of the coldest water I've experienced. Let's hope some other lines pick up this itinerary. Read Less

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