This itinerary was great. But the ship is massive, crowded, and not at all set up to make new friends - one of the things I enjoy about cruising. Thought we would be seated with others for dinner - nope. Table for 2. Thought we would have drink coupons (paid for that level of room). Nope - "discontinued a couple month ago", even though we booked 11 months ago it was no honored. No Library, no piano bar, no quiet space. Tons of upselling and staffers being made to stop you to sell you things (worse than Times Square!). LOVED the MSC Armonia trip to Cuba, and was shocked what a different experience this was. Not sure which is the real MSC. If it is this, then I'm done. No Kleenex available for provided slot in the bathroom because the ship didn't onboard any at last provisioning was just the topper - spending a winter trip having to wipe our noses with toilet paper. That's MSC this trip!
4 out of 5
Embarking was nice and easy.
Food and Dining
3 out of 5
Food was ok. Desserts were great. Be careful of the drink plans - what you purchase and what is reality by the time you sail may be two different things, and areas they say are free are not.
2 out of 5
Too big, to many people, and want to nickel-and-dime you for activities. And if you are a solo - you are screwed. There was NO "solo/singles meet", no joining others at dinner (you were seated only with those that you booked the cruise with), no ability to set up a group meet - nothing.
4 out of 5
Circ at Sea was cancelled the night we had tickets due to rough seas. Singers around the ship- good. Piano - great.
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
Helpful, attentive, friendly.
3 out of 5
Very clean. Not the best design. No quiet area. No library. No piano bar. No place for a solo's/singles meetup to make new friends. No place to make new friends at all - everything is small tables, and dining room is set up for just your travel group as seating.
Cabin / Stateroom
4 out of 5
The shower - AWESOME!!!!! The storage/closet set-up? One star. But a big bathroom with a nice size shower at the end of the day makes up for many things! The beds were incredibly comfortable, and could have taken one home :-) BUT - there was no Kleenex. Not just in our room. No Kleenex loaded onto the ship. In the winter. Crazy.
Be ready for people to try to upsell you on everything all day long. :-(. And don't go solo on this boat.
Excursion - Palermo Sightseeing and taste of Sicily. Good excursion. Reversed the order, so we were doing wine and dessert first, at 11am, lol! Good guide, nice walking tour, interesting sights, and would recommend!
We ended up being sent on the wrong excursion, but enjoyed it. We were scheduled for Essential Malta, Local Flavors and Sights, but were mistakenly sent on the Harbor Cruise and Wine tasting tour. Fun ride on the water, tucking into every canal. Masterful Captain, and ended stopping in a glass shop, drinking wine, and eating local appetizers. Yummy and informative.
Highlights of Barcelona, Montserrat & Wine Tasting. Again the tour reversed the order, so we were drinking wine by 10:30am. Very interesting Vineyard tour, but the wine company was relatively new (started after 2000), so used stainless steel tanks. With all the old vineyards around, I would have liked to see how they "always did it" - wood casks, etc. Barcelona was last, it was a half-hour drive-through, and next time I might just get off the boat and go wander. BUT, that being said, this time we saw the surrounding area, so next time we can just concentrate on inside the city.
Best of Two Cities - Aix-En-Provence and Marseille. Our guide, Julia, was delightful, and we walked all the way through really interesting areas. Enough time on our own, and hit a bunch of great sights. Really enjoyed, even though it was a rainy day!
Genoa Panoramic Tour - Good bus tour with three stops with great views.
3 out of 5
Easy. Walked right off! BUT MSC never asked me my flight needs or anything - just assigned me a group. A group that that wasn't ok, and reception was no help. My group was for 1 hour after my car would arrive!
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