Not worth your money. From day 1 to day 7, this is a chaotic, unfriendly, and boring cruise I have ever been on.
I am told there were only 66 Americans on this cruise. They treat the European citizens different from treating the English and non- EU counties such as the Americans. They kept our passports and we all had to stand in separate lines.
People on this cruise cut in line at buffet, at drink stations, at waiting lines to get on or off the ship. Imagine you are standing at the buffet line next to your party, and all of the sudden, a human arm poked in from behind you, and under your armpit with their own fork/spoon sometimes, to pick up the food you are about to pick up for yourself and not even say "excuse me". Isn't that frightening?? And if you don't keep up the pace with the rest of the line, someone will cut in and separate you from your party on a daily basis.
Now that I am home and have some time to reflect on this cruise, I regret having made the choice to be on MSC. I hope you will do your homework carefully before taking any cruise on MSC.
2 out of 5
Checking in process was strange but orderly, however, the ship waited for a family who missed the flight into Hamburg and we did not embark until 1 AM, instead of 6:30 PM, which set off a dominoes effect of late port arrivals and departues for the entire cruise.
1. We arrived and departed at each port late and the reasons were either not given, or someone late or someone sick, to the point that we did not believe them!
2. Be aware that the ship will hold your passports while you are off the ship
Food and Dining
2 out of 5
Portions in the dining room are small and mostly salty. Pasta are undercook and tougher than al-dente. You can taste most the frozen ingredients in the meals. Waiters are not friendly. Don't introduce themselves. Don't talk at all when they serve the guests.
Coffees and Regular/tap water are not included in the dining room. You are forced to buy bottle water at 2.80 euros + 20% service fee which makes more than US $3 extra for each meal.
Food in the buffet are not consistent. Salty 1 day, no taste (as if they forgot to season) the next. No varieties at all. Same food served every day. Servers just walk around and do not clean the tables until you ask them to.
In the theatre, there are no servers to take your drink order. You have to get up to the nearest bar to order the drinks. It is such an inconvenience.
1 out of 5
No activities on board other than dancing lessons every day.
1 out of 5
The same crew of 10 to 15 performers singing, juggling and dancing every night. They do have different themes each night but essentially the same performance repeated in confusing plots and different costumes through out the cruise. On the last day, there is an 55 minutes opera play but the stage is naked with no props and again, the dancing was poor and silly
1 out of 5
Service and Staff
1 out of 5
Staff were not friendly. Our dining room waiter never smile or greeted us at each meal. Our cabin steward never said "good morning" or "have a nice day off shore", or "how was your day" to us. When we run into other crewmembers on board, they just ignore us and walk away.
MSC does not offer coffee or regular water, instead forces us to pay for bottled water at every meal which is something outrageous since the ship filters water and no cruise ship in the US would charge for water. Our table are all Americans. One couple complained to the service desk and got their vouchers for the water. They were told that if guests booked the cruise from the US then water is free of charge. One other couple talked to service desk and got the same water vouches, but when I came up to the guest relation desk on the 5th deck with the same request, I was told they had to contact my travel agent, check my booking code, and it took 2 days, 3 long conversations, and 3 representatives later to tell me that someone with authority would send me a message in my cabin to give a final decision on whether I should get free water voucher. I never heard from anyone or got any message from anyone wanting to help me. This is the worst guest relation service I have ever experience from a cruise ship. They just don't care to make you happy!
3 out of 5
The ship in general is clean, but in poor design.
Cabin / Stateroom
3 out of 5
Cabin is of good size but poorly designed. There are no light options. Once in the cabin, a single switch will turn on all the lights in the cabin whether you need all the lights or want to create a mood. Worst, all lights are on top of your head so if 1 person stays up late or wakes up early in the morning, and keep the lights on, then all lights shine on the face of the other person still in bed!
I do not plan to ever take another cruise again. This is my first and last cruise with MSC.
The cruise was chaotic from start to finish. Ports were removed, added and back and forth several times without prior notice. Even after they gave us printed daily schedule late at night, schedule still changed! Port arrival times published in itinerary do not include docking time and custom and border clearance. These times are literally the time boat arrives to shore. No more. No less.
Getting off the ship at every port is frustrating as each crew member gives you a different directions. Excursion groups cut in at every line on all decks at the same time every one else trying to get off orderly so there are no rules. Most passengers ended up circling decks 5,6, and 7 several times before finding the right line to stand in. Getting off the ship at each port took 20 minutes!
All passengers had 2 days while on the ship to show up in person to check in with immigration officers, who also boarded, before everyone could get off the ship. Most of us did so, however, the crew failed to enforce this requirement, and the morning we arrived to South Hampton, the crew had to call out on the PA the names of 4 to 5 passengers who did not check in with custom agents to make sure they complied. As a result, all passengers were held on board more than 3 hours waiting for the crew to track down these 4,5 passengers before they let us off the ship and our time at this port was cut in half
MSC uses 24 hours system on their daily communication prints. They printed arrival Friday 14:00, and departure Saturday 9:00 without the usual "AM" or "PM" notations next to the time, so many guests and I misread the length of stay to be 2 days. I thought we did not have to leave Amsterdam until 9 PM when it was 9 AM, I realize that this is entirely my fault, but it would be nice if the crew director goes on the PA to announce and point out to us the possible confusion.
5 out of 5
I was looking forward to and so glad to get off this ship!
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