This was my 4th cruise, but 1st European cruise. I loved the itinerary to Genoa, Spain and Lisbon. The ship is huge and watching the captain dock this monster every day in a different port was a show in itself! Kudos to the captain and his staff for a job well done. Everything about the ship was wonderful. I was especially impressed with the trip through the Straight of Gibraltar.
Food and Dining
3 out of 5
Our group of 5 was assigned different seatings for dinner (4 got the early seating and 1 got the late seating) despite stressing to that we all wanted to sit together at the early seating. I don't know who got it wrong initially ( or MSC), but It was a little difficult to get the assigned restaurant (L'Ibiscus) to adjust the seating arrangements. The restaurant kept telling us that they didn't have room to put us together since the ship was fully booked, despite the embarkation team telling us, "NO PROBLEM, the restaurant will fix it". Eventually we were hooked up with Domenico, the maitre'd, and he solved the problem immediately. Kudos. The 6:30 early seating was better for us.
I was a little disappointed in the dinner menu choices. I expected more from an Italian ship. I felt that the lunch buffet offered better meals than the dinner menu. I had excellent cannaloni and salmon at lunch.
On the good side, I loved all the fresh fruit available.
3 out of 5
The shows were good, but needed some variety in the entertainment staff. It was the same tenor, soprano, sexy girl and younger man who performed every night. The best shows were the Circus and Celtic Dream shows. Very entertaining. Bravo to the acrobats and Riverdance teams.
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
Everyone was very friendly and helpful. My cabin steward, Carol, greeted me when I arrived and called me by name everytime I saw her - very impressive. My waiter was very attentive and made our dining experience fun all week. He went out of his way to see that we were fed after arriving an hour late from a shore excursion. Kudos
5 out of 5
Since I cruised during the Swine Flu season, I was particularly impressed by the ship's attention to cleanliness. Automatic hand sanitizers were everywhere and passengers were encouraged to use the ship's version of Purell vs. a brand brought from home since the ship's version was a little stronger. Cabin stewards sanitized the bathrooms and balconies on a daily basis. I saw cleaning crews sanitizing the handrails throughout the ship: stair rails, hallway rails, elevator rails, etc. Very impressive.
The public areas of the ship were beautiful.
Cabin / Stateroom
5 out of 5
My balcony cabin on Arpa deck was wonderful - a little compact, but room for everything. My luggage arrived promptly after boarding. No 3 hour wait for suitcases.
My only complaint was the mattress on my bed was way past it's prime. I felt like I was sleeping in a hole every night. Obviously, the bed closest to the sliding door is everyone's favorite so maybe the mattresses should be rotated more frequently.
Pros: Laying in bed looking at the Mediterranean every night
Cons: Not enough tables in the buffet restaurant for breakfast and lunch. Always searching.
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