Overall MSC does a pretty good job of managing 3000 passengers who speak many different languages. I applaud them for that. The service is variable and reflect language problems and different ideas of what service is compared to North American standards. The food is obviously mass produced and has to cater to many different tastes. Don't take this cruise if you want excellent onboard cuisine (but occasional they would surprise me with something wonderful). If you are a native English speaker (and that is your only language) be aware that finding someone who knows conversation English will be a challenge which to me really was major negative for this trip. But if you want a really international experience and want to me folks from many different countries (and not just Americans, Canadians, Aussies and New Zealanders) and or you speak some conversation Italian, French, German or Spanish, then MSC is the cruise line for you.
5 out of 5
Food and Dining
3 out of 5
Only specialty restaurant is sushi
2 out of 5
Limited due to the multiple languages of passengers and crew but they is something going on all the time...but much less than on other cruise lines
4 out of 5
Very good dance troupe and vocalists. Bars entertainers were among the best I have experienced on cruise ships.
Service and Staff
3 out of 5
Variable service quality. Crew come from 50 different countries and therefore 50 different cultures with differing definitions of good customer service. If you are an English speaker, not every staff member you interact with may speak conversational English.
3 out of 5
Clean. Ship was built in 2008 so may be dated when you consider what has been built since. But certainly had everything I needed. Gym is very small for the number of passengers so pretty crowded and they request that you et off of equipment in 20 minutes.
Cabin / Stateroom
4 out of 5
Size, comfort and cleanliness were all adequate. This cabin is in the stern (my first experience there) where there is more motion and propeller noise/vibration but not enough to bother me or my wife. Interesting view from back of the ship so glad I did that at least once.
If English if your primary and only language be aware that less than 5% of passengers will be native English speakers. All announcements are done in 5 different languages. We like to meet and make new friendss on the ship by meeting them on excursion on in the dining room. We had a very difficult time finding English speakers our first week, better luck the second week. Communication from ship staff was sometimes a bit confusing if it wasn't written down. On most of our ship excuriions there were two guides doing translation in two or three languages. There are so few English speakers that the excursion desk can't guarantee they will find you an excursion with a guide who speaks English although none of our excursions were cancelled because of lack of English translators.
Charming European capital. Danes are very friendly. Clean and several waterways. You can walk to most of the major sites. Palaces and museums as per most European cities. Not Paris, London, Vienna or Budapest, but a nice place to visit.
Berlin is a 6 hour bus trip roundtrip. That leaves you about 3 hours in Berlin. Not one who did this excursion had anything positive to say about it. Adequately seeing Berlin ffrom Warnemunde didn't seem at all practical to us. Warnemunde is a beach vacation resort for Berliners and not much else there. Nearby Rostock has a rebuilt medieval core with very few interesting sites. We visited Lebecke, 2 hours by bus, which has a very neat medieval core which is a UNESCO world heritage site which was worth seeing. Interesting to see and learn what it was like to live in East Germany (both Rostock and Lubecke) before the fall of the iron curtain. If you have been to central or southern German you find this area of Germany comparatively uninteresting. Least interesting port-of-call and too bad you need to go here twice but many passengers embark and disembark at Warnemunde.
One of our best days. Flaam is tiny, less than 100 inhabitants and can accommodate only one cruise ship at a time. Spectacular beauty of Norway fjords area in full display here. Definitely need to book a ship excursion here or something on your own because there is nothing to do in Flaam. On our own we booked the "Norway in a Nutshell" trip which is recommended by tour guide Rick Steves. Pricey (over $300 for the two of us) but worth it with 2 hour boat cruise two fjords, bus trip on Norway steepest road, train trip on the Bergen to Oslo railroad and finally another train back Flaam. The last train to Flaam is the steepest railroad in the world and an engineering marvel. Trip takes six hours and scenery is...fjord, waterfalls, rivers, meadows...is spectacular. This was my wife's favorite day.
The town here is Geiranger which has 200 people and booking a ship excursion would be advised here. Hiking, biking, and kayaking in this area. A spectacular trip is taking the ship excursion via bus up the road to the Dalsnibba viewpoint. At 45ooo feet elevation (way above the tree line) you have a spectacular view of Norway's mountain and way below you can see your ship which is now tiny in comparison. Fabulous sight. We went on the 8 hour bus tour that eventually got here. Better would be the 3 hour trip which would give you some time to kick around tiny Geiranger on your own.
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