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4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
What an absolute rip off this cruise ship is! Service Gratuity is Mandatory and not disclosed upfront. We left with a £150 Service Charge bill after a 5 night cruise. The onboard photographers are rip off salesmen! When we asked for ... Read More
What an absolute rip off this cruise ship is! Service Gratuity is Mandatory and not disclosed upfront. We left with a £150 Service Charge bill after a 5 night cruise. The onboard photographers are rip off salesmen! When we asked for discount on a large order we were told by the manager to quote "If you want memories of your children you have to pay for them" The bars only use bottled Pepsi so almost every drink we ordered was served flat! The breakfast buffet is abismal. Food is freezing cold....and if you go after 9 am then how can you expect them to still have teabags?!!! Actually what we were told. All inclusive....except if you want to eat at night.....then you have to pay extra! Our cabin, was a family cabin as I have two young children. The cabin was directly below the disco!!! Every night I struggled to get the children to sleep because of the noise. What a ridiculous location for family rooms. We did ask to change but were told only rooms with balconies were available which would mean and extra £700!!!!!!! First Costa Cruise and our last!!!!! Never again. Read Less
22 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
It was a maiden voyage. However, everything was terrible. They don’t care about Americans. TV for 21 days every language but English. Closet door fell off twice. Evevators always not working. Shows were repeats and they wouldn’t let ... Read More
It was a maiden voyage. However, everything was terrible. They don’t care about Americans. TV for 21 days every language but English. Closet door fell off twice. Evevators always not working. Shows were repeats and they wouldn’t let you see it twice. No activities to do. Food was TERRIBLE both in dining room and buffet. Buffet was closed most of the time and the and the water or juice machine was always broken. To much Opera shows. Everyone was complaining about nothing to do. I line at the reception desk was people with complaints. Also, on the dinner menu in the dining room they charge if you want lobster or special items. I’m not talking about the specialty restaurants. I came off losing weight. Also, everyone was sick on the ship with colds. AC didn’t always work and lots of the bathrooms were out of order. WORST CRUISE Gym had no scale to weight yourself. Also, HOT TUB by the pools - should be called cold tubs. It was like ice water. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
The food in both the buffet and the dining rooms was marginal. The entertainment especially the guest entertainers were terrible with the exception of Guillermo Guido. The disembarkation in Buenos Aires was a disaster. People were pushing ... Read More
The food in both the buffet and the dining rooms was marginal. The entertainment especially the guest entertainers were terrible with the exception of Guillermo Guido. The disembarkation in Buenos Aires was a disaster. People were pushing others out of the way, ramming others with their suitcases and cart . No direction from management. It took four hours to get off ship. The excursions with the exception of Funchal were poorly organized. The tour guides were weak in English and knowledge of their jobs. For Rio it took two hours to get from the ship to bus. So well recommended and such a disapointment. Very poorly organized . It was kind of like working with a company that is going bankrupt. This was a 22 day cruise From Venice to Buenos AIres. Of 5 cruises this is the worst, I will not use MSC again.I sent an extensive critque to MSC. Hopefully I will receive some kind of response. There appeared to be a bad relationship between service crew and management level personnel on ship. Not a happy service crew. One very bright spot was the clinic. Serbian Dr. Jelena Putnik took very good care of my unexpected lung infection in three visits. She was knowledgable and patient friendly. She was a real gem. Clinic was very well organized. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
Just off the Costa Deliziosa 24 day transatlantic from Venice (Trieste) to Port Everglades. Problems with embarkation: Arrived at the port from our Venice hotel via private water taxi. Ship was nowhere in sight! Was greeted by port ... Read More
Just off the Costa Deliziosa 24 day transatlantic from Venice (Trieste) to Port Everglades. Problems with embarkation: Arrived at the port from our Venice hotel via private water taxi. Ship was nowhere in sight! Was greeted by port personnel and told that due to heavy fog, we would need to be bussed to Trieste to begin our cruise. Was told that passengers were emailed/texted by Costa advising of this change. From what we could surmise, some Europeans were notified, but not all passengers. (Un)Fair enough-but where are the porters to assist with luggage? Was advised by the port staff there were none, (also told all the staff at the port were port employees and not Costa employees). So we had to carry/drag all our luggage about 1/3 mile through gravel, mud and broken concrete parking lots to another port building where Costa had quickly set up and were loading people on buses for the trip to Trieste. Not a good start to this cruise, and unfortunately a harbinger of things to come. Arrived at the Trieste ship port about 2 hours later. Went through the check in process. Advised that we needed to complete a separate, compulsory health questionnaire even though the Costa boarding pass had health questions included. Fine, we’ll need 2 in English. They didn’t have any in English. Was told we needed to complete them nonetheless to board ship. Fine, asked if there was someone who could translate a non-English form for us to complete and sign. Staff was finally found to do this and we proceeded to board the ship. Didn’t feel very welcoming. Frankly, we thought that many parts of the ship were very attractive. Overdone in some parts, but on the whole very attractive public areas. Proceeded to our Panorama Suite on the 7th floor. Nice, but certainly not extravagantly decorated like the rest of the ship. Actually kind of drab, as were the hallways leading up to it. The wrap-around deck was great, although the patio furniture had seen better days. Bathroom included little bottles of shampoo and conditioner, but no lotion. Really Costa, not even for suites? Costa room cards and other materials on the bed waiting for our arrival. One problem: On the backside of card was “Water Plan USA” and no mention of the Intenditore Drink Package which is now included with all suites. No problem, or so I thought, as I had read on Cruise Critic that Customer/Hospitality Service Desk would issue new cards with the correct information on them. Luggage arrived and we were unpacked before the Muster drill. Attended Muster drill. During the drill, a couple of rows away an elderly gentleman collapsed, and was helped to stand again by guests around him. Staff was numb to requests for assistance and required many repeated requests to assist this poor fellow. After Muster drill, went to Customer/Hospitality desk to straighten out drink package issue. This is where Costa really showed their true incompetence. We were told by the Guest Services Manager that they would need to get approval from Costa head office to approve our drink packages and reissue our cards. (Now this has been a perk of suites on this very ship since June 4, 2016). We were told that if we had booked this cruise too early that the drink package may not be included since the cruise prices had increased as a result of the new perk. We asked to see where this was in writing, and no one could show us. We had booked and paid for a PS, and this was definitely a perk for this suite. (The only exception was it was not included on World Cruises, which this was not). We immediately went and emailed our travel agent, who could not believe that Costa would try and do something like this. He contacted his Costa rep, who agreed it was indeed a benefit of our suite. The rep emailed Costa headquarters, who in turn emailed the ship. 3 days into the cruise, we were finally issued new cards with the drink package included. There was absolutely no reason for this, and not in line with Costa’s own description of treating suite guests as “most valued” passengers. Now on to meals: As PS suite guests, we were to be able to have all three meals a day in the Club Deliziosa. After speaking to the Food and Beverage Director, we were advised that on this crossing, there were close to 400 guests assigned to this restaurant since along with suite guests, Diamond Pearl passengers were also extended this benefit. This perk was so overwhelmed with passengers, that it was a horrible and stressful experience. Since tables were not assigned, guests would line up an hour or more prior to seating times to ensure a spot in the restaurant. The Maître d’ Rudy had absolutely no control over the situation, and in fact held tables for certain guests, (including having drinks sent to tables before anyone was even sitting at them), all the while telling guests that all tables were first-come first-serve. Again, another fail by Costa-certainly does not make suite guests feel special having to line up for an hour to get a table at a supposedly “special” restaurant. On the first morning of the cruise, upon awaking we found the room extremely chilly. Checked the heat setting which was set all the way to warm. Simultaneously discovered the bathroom had no hot water. Tried to call the butler, but, after waiting on hold for several minutes were told she would have to call us back. We explained the situation to the receptionist on the phone, then decided to leave the room to get coffee and warm up. Encountered the butler in the hallway, who was carrying a tray with hot water for us for our room. This was the first of many miscommunications between us, receptionist staff and Hospitality desk. Very, very frustrating when someone nods in agreement only to discover later they had no idea what you were saying. The saga of the room temperature would arise again mid-cruise. We complained for 3 days and had repeated visits from the ship’s engineering staff to correct our ineffective air conditioning issues. The final solution: Our room was either hot or cold from this point onward. We needed to keep all the heavy curtains closed until at least 12:30 or 1:00 PM daily or the HVAC could not keep the room cool. Not the reason we booked a PS, to be kept in the dark for half a day for the entire cruise. Back to the Butler as a perk for Suites: Ours advised us that she had 19 suites to look after! How can one person do quality service for that many rooms? Answer is they cannot! Sounds good on brochures, but in reality it’s all lip service with no substance. Once again Costa failed to deliver as promised. Room attendants have 23-25 rooms to service twice daily. We’ve never been on a cruise where you see them working all day long, and then into the evening. Overworked is an understatement. It is actually very depressing to see them working so hard for so long day in and day out. Not an uplifting, holiday environment. Another fail for Costa. The waiters in the Albatross restaurant have 35 passengers to serve, with no assistants like many other cruise lines have. This means overworked and exhausted wait staff. This is one of the reasons that only beer and wine are served with meals-staff have no time to get drinks. Lack of individual service, Costa once again fails to deliver. Food was anywhere from average to poor. Many, many items sounded good on the menu but the execution failed miserably more times than not. Have never seen such an obscure list of ingredients on any menu. Pastas generally good, but after 24 days….. Costa fails again. Daily service charge/tipping: Inquired at the Guest Services/Hospitality desk about the breakdown of our 10,00 Euros/day/per passenger hotel charge. (All cruise lines list this, X amount to room attendants, X amount to waiters, etc.). Surprisingly, was advised that this was a service charge and not a tip by the Costa staff. Really? If so, big, big fail for Costa. Last, but certainly not least was debarkation. Began inquiring about this a week before we were to leave the ship. We had an early flight and wanted to know how the Priority debarking was to happen for the suite guests when we were told the meeting point was usually the Club Deliziosa. Alarm: approximately 400 guests (Suite and Diamond Pearl) are not going to fit into a 150 seat Club restaurant. What amazed us is that they weren’t sure how they would do this and would know only the day before. When reminded that this was not the first transatlantic cruise to the US after a European run with that many “Priority” guests, we were met with blank stares and assurances that they would know the day before debarkation. It was as if they had to approach each problem as if it were new and weren’t able to build on past experiences. Sadly, the last day was a fiasco, as expected. We had to carry off our own suitcases without staff assistance contrary to what was promised by the Senior Cruise Specialist, and the Guest Relations Manager in the days prior. Again, big fail for Costa. This cruise was a big eye-opened for us! Costa has changed dramatically since the Carnival Corp takeover, and not for the better! This is not an Italian Cruise Line experience vs. an American Cruise Line experience difference that everyone warns about. Their cost-cutting measures have reduced this cruise line to the equivalent of Ryanair of the Seas! Customer service is non-existent. There is no access to any supervisory personnel. No one is willing or truly able to correct any real customer issues. There is no follow through by ship personnel to solve any passenger complaints. No direct phone numbers to any Specialty Restaurants or Spa. Butlers are unreachable, and when available-useless, (at least ours was). Overworked waiters and room attendants. Food beyond horrible. Pasta dishes were good, but after 24 days more than boring. Suite accommodations mediocre to say the least. Sad, since we had cruised with Costa several years ago, and enjoyed that cruise immensely. Quite different now with Carnival at the helm. Big changes and not for the better. The lack of pride and effort to provide a quality customer experience should relegate Costa below the radar of any serious cruiser. It certainly has for us. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2015
It was a shame what the corporate office did when they decided to add 200 more rooms on the ship. Apparently they didn't account for the 400 more passengers to eat in the main dining room. We had my time dining and most nights were ... Read More
It was a shame what the corporate office did when they decided to add 200 more rooms on the ship. Apparently they didn't account for the 400 more passengers to eat in the main dining room. We had my time dining and most nights were given beepers to wait for an available table. Never had that happen before. Thought I was waiting at Rec Lobster! On formal night they ran out of beepers and we were told to come back in 45 mins. When we came back after 45 mins we were then handed a beeper to wait some more! One night ordered prime rib medium rare. When it came the meat was beige. When the waiter asked me how was my dinner I told him it was too done. He said "you ordered it medium rare and it looks medium rare to me". I then replied "I guess I'll have to order my meat rare from now on". No sommeliers so waiter was responsible with getting people's wine and drinks. I think this added to delays as it took 2 hours to complete our meal. Buffet area was so-so. Boring selection for lunch. Gym was in a small, windowless unappealing room. Casino was so tiny and unattractive. No shopping on board to speak of. Being the cruise was in November you would think that they would have trinkets and souvenirs to pick up. Very little to do on the ship during sea days. Hot tubs did not gave bubbles. Just sitting in a tub of hot water. We got the upper respiratory sickness that had spread throughout the ship. Did not see any aggressive cleaning to try and curtail the spread. Came into our cabin one day after an excursion in port to find our wastebasket sitting on our bed with a damp towel in it under where our sprinkler was. The comforter and mattress were all wet. They just left it like that! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2015
We relied on the very good reviews of this ship when we booked our cruise late in 2014, and the resulting high rating of the ship , but unfortunately most of the reviews and the resulting rating predates renovations that were recently ... Read More
We relied on the very good reviews of this ship when we booked our cruise late in 2014, and the resulting high rating of the ship , but unfortunately most of the reviews and the resulting rating predates renovations that were recently completed in March 2015 after we booked. So be forewarned look at the recent reviews only and ignore the ship rating or you will be misled by them like we were. The renovations among other things added cabins and passengers, blocked off the back of the no promenade deck, eliminated lounges and common area seating, reduced the size of the fitness center, and eliminated any dining options in the piazza like on most Princess ships. As a result there is overcrowding everywhere on the ship. Almost everyone on our crossing got sick with a respiratory illness and while this happens on any ship from time to time the overcrowding makes maintaing good hygiene to prevent the spread of illness more difficult. Forget about anytime dining on this ship...the wait for a table is so long you will be much better off getting a seat in tradional dining. Even in traditional dining many of the meals arrived cool like they were prepared hours before. Even the fries in the grill were not fres or hot. . And if you like buffets while the buffet food was hot and generally good, getting a seat in the Horizon Court was always a challenge. And the buffet line was way too crowded with people running into you and coughing over your food except at dinner. We have cruised on Royal Carribean, Cunard, Holland America, Seven Seas, and this was without a do to the worst ship we ever experienced. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2014
Just sailed on the Regal Princess for our transatlantic cruise... Let me tell you about the positives.... The ship was gorgeous. The food in the buffet was adequate.... The bad news.... The elevators were not running properly.... You had ... Read More
Just sailed on the Regal Princess for our transatlantic cruise... Let me tell you about the positives.... The ship was gorgeous. The food in the buffet was adequate.... The bad news.... The elevators were not running properly.... You had to wait sometimes 1/2hour to 45min to get into an elevator..... This was not a 17 day cruise.... This was a 30 dy cruise, were it picked up addt'l passengers in Barcelona Spain. If your looking for an older crowd 75 and older, this is the cruise for you. Me and my husband took this cruise to celebrate our 20 wedding anniversary. We were the youngest ones on the ship. The entertainment was mediocre to say the least. The ship cuts outs on level 5 and ends. So you have to go to level 7 and cuts across to get to one end or another. There were no activities at all. There was one ping pong table where was never readily available. They had a game room which you could not use, only for children. Really? There was one child on board who was maybe 4- 5 yrs old? The excursions wer very well planned out,but that's about it. Our room R304 was small and the balcony was tiny. No room to put your clothes in a drawer.A ship of this size should have had more activities and things to do doing the day and they missed their mark. The Ocean Grill was fabulous, Sabatini's was fabulous, but that's it. Spent a lot of money thinking the entertainment and onboard activities would be plentiful but was disappointed. Will not cruise again...... Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2014
If you are considering a cruise please please do not choose Costa ,I have just returned from the worst cruise ever on the Fascinosa...English speaking nations are just ignored...Its a waste of time complaining ,it goes in one ear and out ... Read More
If you are considering a cruise please please do not choose Costa ,I have just returned from the worst cruise ever on the Fascinosa...English speaking nations are just ignored...Its a waste of time complaining ,it goes in one ear and out of the other...The food was fine ,so was the cabin staff and the waiters in the dining room but that was it ..The Shop staff were rude and did not want to know,two TV channels both News Channels for the English speaking yet the Italians had 29 channels...We complained 4 times but nothing was done about it..The entertain was naff very amateurish,most night it was the cruise staff that had'nt got a clue.We took the drinks package which was well worth it,3 drinks and you had you money back.The Service charge of 11 dollars per day which is compulsory is a joke...We spoke to a number of staff and asked if they got any of this money and everyone of them said ,NO they never see a penny...Does Costa cream this off!!!!I received my final bill ,was disgusted to find I had been charged 1.50 dollars service charged when I purchased 2 packets of cigarettes from the bar .I had already paid the 11 dollars per day service charge..My final bill came to 269.50 Dollars but they rounded it up to 270 dollars,whilst it may only be 50cent ,if only half of the cruises on board had their bill rounded,what a nice little earner for Costa [3,800 on board]70 dollars not bad for nothing..Never would i recommend Costa to anybody ,and reading the reviews so many people feel the same .STEER CLEAR OF THIS COMPANY Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2013
We have done some 26 cruises and not all were great but most were but nothing could be worse than an MSC cruise. I would never ever cruise with MSC unless it was free. To start with we left Venice on a cruise to Miami and virtually none ... Read More
We have done some 26 cruises and not all were great but most were but nothing could be worse than an MSC cruise. I would never ever cruise with MSC unless it was free. To start with we left Venice on a cruise to Miami and virtually none of the crew could speak English, there was no service at any of the pools for the first seven days. The food was the most boring and tasteless. We went to the dining room for 8.30pm and would not get in until 9.30pm a lot of the nights. My partner ordered a chicken dinner, it came out late and it was cold and all she got was a small piece of rubbery chicken and a few chips and there were no vegetables or salad, I went and grabbed the Maitre dey and all he was lost for words after mine. The buffet meals were terrible also. We had a suite which was fantastic. There was no one to complain to about anything as they just didn't care and didn't speak much English.. The ship was nice but there was nothing else on the outside decks but two pools and a couple of spa pools, no mini golf. Every time the cruise director made an announcement it was repeated in 8 languages, it was a novelty the first day but it got on every ones nerves pretty quick. For 25 days there was no entertainment on the deck at all, but when we arrived in Miami there was fireworks and entertainment for the next three nights because there were a couple of hundred travel agents sailing for the 3 nights. The food never improved but the service was a little better. If you are thinking about the MSC Divina think again and go on one of the other cruise lines. The best thing the ship had was the drinks package $28.00 a day. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
First: The staff, food and service aboard the Royal could not be better. EXTREMELY satisfied in those regards. Our issues deal with the overall ship design. They eliminated some of the most popular venues, (e.g., Explorer's) and the ... Read More
First: The staff, food and service aboard the Royal could not be better. EXTREMELY satisfied in those regards. Our issues deal with the overall ship design. They eliminated some of the most popular venues, (e.g., Explorer's) and the dance floor in the Wheelhouse. The Wheelhouse lounge is now merged with the Crown Grill: it's hard to tell where one starts and the other stops. The only entertainment in the Wheelhouse is a piano!! The Explorer's Lounge has been replaced with the most ridiculous waste of space on the seven seas named "Princess Live!". The hold game shows, etc. in this small theater. They try and hold trivia in there - but how can you play any team games in auditorium seating? The promenade deck is virtually eliminated. You can't walk around the ship on deck 7 on the Royal. And who designed the elevators? They have four elevators fore and aft, working as a set of two rather than all four working in harmony. You can stand for five minutes waiting on an elevator only to see it whiz by your floor for reasons unknown. And what is up with this "Club 6"? Who in their right mind would ever create a lounge 100 feet in length and put a postage stamp size dance floor in one far corner? What was wrong with the center of the space? The eliminated the video screens in the Vista Lounge, anchored the small tables and narrowed the isles. Once you're in a seat in the middle of a row, you'd better hope you don't need a bathroom soon. It's nearly impossible to navigate a fully populated isle thanks to tables, immovable chairs and non-existent knee room. Same for the Princess Theater. The seats have been jammed together like a U.S. Airways flight. No more drinks in the Princess Theater folks! No more trays. Sad. But they try and sell everyone on the new expanded Piazza that is supposed to allow for more centralized entertainment. Well, if you like dancing on a marble floor, you'll thoroughly enjoy yourself. But unlike the older ships, due to the open design, you can't have anything going on in the Piazza if someone is at the piano in the Crooner's bar. The Internet Cafe has been downsized due to portable, personal tools such as smart phones, etc. But the speed of the service is extremely slow and was down several times during the cruise. The ship is more for the younger Carnival crowd than seasoned cruisers. With the right bands and plenty of booze and young people in swim wear, they'll never know what they're missing. But my bet is, that crowd had better like it because most of the preferred cruisers (Elite and Platinum) won't be back - and are already cancelling cruises booked on the Regal for the reasons stated above. We'll continue to cruise with Princess on their other ships (e.g., Ruby, Coral, Sapphire, etc.) but we'll not sail on the Royal again or the Regal. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
Was looking forward to this cruise, all the aft rooms had soot all over the balconies. Food was not good in the dining room we only ate there 3 to 4 times. Had turkey one night is was tough white meat, corn bread was bad also. They put a ... Read More
Was looking forward to this cruise, all the aft rooms had soot all over the balconies. Food was not good in the dining room we only ate there 3 to 4 times. Had turkey one night is was tough white meat, corn bread was bad also. They put a slice of sweet potato on the my plate. Desert was almost the same every night. Food was good in the Crown grill but there was a charge for that $50 a couple. Bathrooms were so small toilet paper you had to twist your body up to reach it. Had to ask for soap to wash your hands. The whole ship was boring mostly a geriatric cruise ship. Laser light show wasn't working at all. TV was constantly not working. Shows limited to 30 min. only. Princess theater has no tables in it to hold drinks or even cup holders built into chairs. Coming from Deck 12 you take the elevator to Decl 7 then walk down the hall a ways to center of the ship then take another elevator to deck 5 were the dining rooms are. Not enough people working on the ship and for sure they do not smile much at all. Would not use this cruise lines again. Ship had a lot of hipe but thats it. Just not an upbeat experience. Seems most of there passengers play scrabble and play cards thats it. Even at times the music is boring. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2009
Having thoroughly enjoyed several previous cruises, including trans-Atlantic "repositioning" cruises, we booked a 17 day repositioning cruise on the Poesia without a second thought. In researching the port itinerary for the trip ... Read More
Having thoroughly enjoyed several previous cruises, including trans-Atlantic "repositioning" cruises, we booked a 17 day repositioning cruise on the Poesia without a second thought. In researching the port itinerary for the trip we came across numerous reviews on Msc generally and the Poesia in particular - practically everyone of which was strongly negative. We sailed in October 2009 and, with negative reviews spanning the period from May of 2008 (launch date) through September of 2009, went sought refuge in denial - "It can't possibly be as bad as they say", "They must have improved that by now" and so on. Denial of course, turned out to be wishful thinking. I cannot think of a single negative comment contained in other reviews that we would not emphatically endorse although that is not to say that everything was bad. The ship itself was and is excellent and our balcony stateroom was on a par with other carriers we have experienced. Cabin housekeeping and service likewise were both excellent and, if these items were all a cruise offered, we would rate this a four or a five. Unfortunately, every other aspect of the package was somewhere between mediocre and downright awful. We like to walk, especially on sea days. If your pleasure is to treadmill at $30.00 per hour then the Poesia might be just what you are looking for. The Promenade Deck (deck 7) was available on just one day of the trip. Every other day parts of it were closed off for bunkering the lifeboats, washing the deck, painting and other obscure maintenance tasks. In any event the, the deck does not go completely round the ship and requires either a repeated U shaped walk or cutting through the rear stairwell to complete each circuit. The Jogging Track on deck 14 was a travesty. By 7:00 am it was so littered with sun-chairs and bodies, staking their claim for another day of cancer cultivation, that it was impossible to walk around without having to step over such obstacles or waiting while a deckhand, with a fresh stack of sun-chairs, threaded his way between the broiled bodies. Unless you are a tour fan, don't rely on Msc providing any assistance whatever on the port stops. No information in the daily sales promotion sheet delivered to the cabins, no maps, no list of features, no restaurants, no highlights, nothing at all except a flat "No." to any question asked about off ship activities. Moral: Expect to be treated like a second class citizen if you intend to do your own thing in port. Worst of all however, is the entire food service management or, more accurately, mismanagement. Wrong orders, room temperature milk for cereals, strange 15 to 20 minutes total lapses in service, slow water refills if you were one of the lucky ones that received water in the first place, undrinkable coffee, uncooked potatoes, meats that seem to actively fight back, salads awash with half a cup of water and on and on. Soups were generally passable to good and we did have one good dessert. Msc is a proponent of Fixed Dining - that is to say, you are expected to dine with the same folks every evening for the duration of the trip. All we typically wanted was a main course choice and possibly a dessert. with eight people on the table debating their wine choices and then discussing each of the five or six courses that seemed necessary to their existence, dinner typically took two hours and was simply an appalling experience. The only alternative to this zoo is "Slices of Pizza" from the buffet that is otherwise shutdown for the day. After three seemingly interminable nightmare dining experiences in the restaurant, we opted to live on pizza for the rest of the trip. Ironically, there was an upside to the astoundingly poor restaurant operations - we both lost two pounds on the trip! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2009
First the good... The ship is almost new and in good condition, clean and sort of attractively decorated. The service is excellent, the crew does speak english for the most part and they appear very polished in starched white uniforms. ... Read More
First the good... The ship is almost new and in good condition, clean and sort of attractively decorated. The service is excellent, the crew does speak english for the most part and they appear very polished in starched white uniforms. Service staff always greets passengers and they are warm and accommodating. Cabins are OK, not great. Now the so so... Entertainment and activities are below average to poor. Deck space is crowded and lounge chairs are in short supply with most chairs sitting for half the day "reserved" with a towel on them and no passenger in sight. Bottle necks are everywhere, especially in the "cafeteria". The mens and ladies steam room and sauna area are very European in their layout with clear glass doors offering full views of nude passengers of the opposite sex. Alcoholic beverages are insanely expensive, with a mixed drink at $10 and a beer at $9. The big problem... THE FOOD!!! Do not fall for the oh it's Italian food line. I'm Italian and please let me assure you that this food is no more Italian than McDonald's. Sadly enough the food served by MSC is just plain cheap, nasty food with very little choice period. You know you're in trouble when every day the lunch buffet begins with sawdust dry burgers and hideous pink hot dogs and then it goes down hill from there. For dinner the dining room is your only choice for dinner. There is NO "Lido Deck" buffet option. Please get this straight. Everyone at their assigned table for dinner every night with night after night of inedible food. Perhaps this is where I should tell you I am not some picky gourmet type. Yes I like great food, but hey if I'm hungry average will do the trick. MSC's food is just plain BAD and if you think you can make it through a cruise that appears to be a "deal" by compromising food, think again. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2008
I am 61 years old and have been on several cruises before although not with Holland America. On this cruise I travelled with my wife and another couple who are also very experienced travellers. We like to dance and enjoy experiences not ... Read More
I am 61 years old and have been on several cruises before although not with Holland America. On this cruise I travelled with my wife and another couple who are also very experienced travellers. We like to dance and enjoy experiences not available in our home towns. Our first shock came when we went to the dance bar on a Saturday night to find there was no band. Instead, there was a three piece combo playing songs like Moon River. You can imagine the type of dancing you can do to those kinds of tunes. This continued throughout the trip and even when there was a band it finished at 11:30. In the afternoons many cruise ships have activities around the pool. I mistakenly assumed this was the same on this ship. To my great disappointment the only entertainment was a single piano player who entertained for one hour with such rousing tunes as Moon River. I assumed this was to not wake the dozens of people fast asleep by the pool. Even the nightly entertainment was over by 10:00 PM so we were forced to go to the 7:00 PM show before our 8:00 dinner seating. To their credit there was a disco, which I describe as an unimaginative hole in the wall with irritating strobe lights. The disc jockey could not figure out whether to play 50's, 60's or RAP so it became more annoying than pleasurable. There were many other irritants such as no iron, having to go through the main switchboard anytime you wanted the steward or other service, entertainment scheduled during your dinner hour and insulting social staff. Also, the Pinnacle Grill, which is their marquis dining room, served us the worst fish I have ever tasted. It had the texture of a rubber ball. This dining room is $10 extra for lunch ad $20 for dinner. Of course this was above the GI on board. Speaking of the GI the crew kept insisting the number was around 22 when in fact the actual number was closer to 300. The crew also refused to give any information on the spread of the GI other than wash your hands. Did you know the virus can last up to 21 days on a surface? I found this out after I left the ship. My warning is this. If you are under 70 or can actually dance something faster than a waltz, do not go on this ship. If you like to have fun and actually laugh do not go on this ship. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2008
The Zuiderdam is a lovely ship with nice amenities, such as a 3 deck high theater, glass outside elevators, a nice view astern in the lower dining room, a large and diverse buffet, a pool area with a removable cover. The ship had evidently ... Read More
The Zuiderdam is a lovely ship with nice amenities, such as a 3 deck high theater, glass outside elevators, a nice view astern in the lower dining room, a large and diverse buffet, a pool area with a removable cover. The ship had evidently recently had renovations as the deck map available did not show the internet access area and library had been moved from the promenade deck, Deck 3, to the Crow's Nest on Deck 10. This made room for additional shop space and a small movie theater on Deck 3. The dining arrangements are either fixed dinner in the upper dining room, or anytime dining in the lower dining room. Breakfast (usually 8:00 - 9:30) and lunch (12:00—1:00, except there is no table service in port) are anytime dining in one dining room or the other. There is no fixed seating for either of these meals. I found the breakfast, lunch, and dinner anytime dining room service is completely dysfunctional. It is impossible to obtain a complete meal as ordered in a timely manner. A couple examples, I ordered the breakfast special, two eggs with grits, with a side of ham at about 9:15. I received the dish, without the ham, after everyone at the table was finished at about 10:20 and waited 10 minutes more for the ham, or another time a person at our table was told they were out of oatmeal. Later in the cruise we found that by waiting until near 9:00 pm to enter the dining room for dinner, the service was better. This may have been due to the lack of a crowd, or the number of complaints resulting in an improved effort. The service in the dining room appears intended to drive one to the buffet, at least for breakfast and lunch. There are some nice touches in the buffet, namely fresh cooked stir fry and pasta dishes for lunch and made to order omelets and egg benedict for breakfast. Dinner selections available were usually similar to the dishes available in the dining room. When GI illness is present the ability to serve oneself is removed and the service in the buffet becomes iffy, meaning it is often difficult to communicate with the serving staff to obtain what is desired, and the lines are often long. The cleaning personnel appeared to be lacking in training or experience. We were in deck chairs on the promenade deck one afternoon and were splashed by water hitting a nearby boat. Then a second splash occurred, and I got up as the third salvo hit. Looking up I saw a room steward cleaning a balcony two decks up. With the sickness on the ship it is easy to imagine the worse as to what he was cleaning and tossing off the balcony. Room cleanliness was hit or miss, an example is I wiped up a coffee stain on the bathroom floor after our room was made up for the day. Beverage service personnel are prevalent on the upper decks and in the bars and theater prior to shows. There is a wine card available that provides 20 glasses of a limited wine selection for a fixed price of about $80. The card evidently is not highly thought of by the staff as the first time I tried to use it the server took our order prior to a show, punched the card, and I never saw him again, no wine, nothing. From then on I waited to see the wine before allowing them to punch the card. The GI illness on the ship was a holdover from the previous voyage. There were no precautions taken at the start of the voyage to avoid its spread, and it quickly showed up either due to a lack of cleanliness or a carryover of sick people from the previous voyage. The state of the epidemic was given daily in the afternoon status briefing at the beginning, but soon was not mentioned after measures to stop the spread of the disease were ineffective. We had an itinerary change near the end of the voyage. The last port was suppose to the Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas, which serves other Holland America ships. It was decided to go to Nassau instead. This decision was obviously made to avoid contaminating the other company ships. In response to the GI illness, after our voyage a general cleaning was undertaken prior to boarding the new passengers. Of course if the crew is infected this will be ineffective. I hope the new passenger take every precaution themselves to avoid illness. My personal defense was to avoid the gym and spa, don't touch anything on the meal table, and when in the buffet use only one hand to touch serving utensils, don't touch plates or glasses with that hand, and then disinfect hands after obtaining food and prior to eating. Even with the no touch policy in place I found myself disinfecting my hands after obtaining anything at the buffet. Since the hot tubs were closed the entire voyage I didn't have to avoid them, but this would be a good idea if they are available. Entertainment in the theater varied from non-existent on a couple nights to very good performances from some individual artists. There were also two pianists, a string quartet, and a dance band available in the bars. I'd give entertainment overall a C, as it provided what you'd expect on a cruise ship catering to an older crowd. Read Less

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