The cruise itself was sub par, most of the ports of call were great. Casablanca is ridiculously terrible, and Lisbon is awesome. As far as MSC is concerned, if you're used to the entertainment of Carnival you will be disappointed. If you're used to good food and included service of a Royal Caribbean you will be disappointed. The food was poor, everything you might want to do on-board costs extra, and apparently you have to be a black card member in order to receive wash cloths. This will be our first and last MSC cruise.
3 out of 5
Food and Dining
1 out of 5
Food at all locations was almost inedible. We ended up having "second dinner" every night due to the small portions and unappetizing taste of the formal dinner. The only problem was that second dinner consisted of scavenging through the buffet, after two or three trips through you might have put together enough edible food to make a full meal.
1 out of 5
What activities? We're used to carnival. MSC had literally no activities planned on port days, and the days at sea had very little to choose from.
2 out of 5
Performers did ok executing, the problem is that their shows were apparently written and produced by a second grader.
Service and Staff
2 out of 5
The staff did an ok job (minus the luggage crew yelling to each other at 1am right outside our room, the issue is the leadership has really backwards policies in place and the way they do everything on board is sub par.
2 out of 5
Cabin / Stateroom
2 out of 5
We were told we "hadn't purchased the right package" when asked where the wash cloths were. Kind of ridiculous
The bus ticket is a scam, they drive you 1 mile from the ship by way of doing circles, but they sell the need for using the bus as "we'll drive you 20 minutes to the city", you can totally just walk across the street
Why do you even make this a port of call? We specifically booked this cruise because we wanted to visit Casablanca, it was the ultimate disappointment. The cruise lines shouldn't visit there, but if they do it should come with a huge disclaimer. You begin with getting hassled and literally grabbed and followed by rude taxi drivers that won't take no for an answer. Once you get past that you walk down a one way street where large groups of men dressed in black peer down upon the vulnerable Americans from rooftops like you're in black hawk down. The mosque is actually quite impressive. Everything else in the city looks like a war zone and smells like a waste recycling facility. We soldiered on to finally make it to the "grand bazaar", this consisted of about 6 shops selling highly overpriced trinkets. Then there's the trip back to the ship. We had 6 members of our group, we had taken a large taxi to the grand bazaar, however all the taxi's hanging out there were tiny. We talked two taxi drivers into splitting our group with the understanding that we were going together. 30 seconds into our drive one car took a left, the other took a right. Then, the car with more women than men suddenly stopped mid street and the driver took off and ran into a building. Our group jumped out of the car as to not be trapped and at least have the option to run. The driver came back and after some angry questioning he explained that he had decided to stop and put in an order for lunch. Bottom line is we have multiple world travelers in our group, Casablanca is hands down the worst place any of us have ever visited.
For as much as Casablanca was a disappointment, Lisbon is a gem that we would plan a trip around visiting. There are tons of shops, cafes, restaurants, street performers, etc. We did a city walking tour with a local independent guy named Peter @ Lisbon Walks that was fantastic. The city is clean and friendly, a definite win.
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