While a large ship, we never felt crowded. Anyone that has an issue with walking may find the size a problem, as would be with of the mega-ships. We prefer the more intimate Divina rather than the open, more modern Seaside.
We have read reviews that criticize additional costs for some activities and services, or lack of services, but when you compare the cruise cost to other lines, MSC is a bargain. If you want more individual service, mints and towel animals on your pillow every night, or other luxuries, then you can pay for them by booking on another line.
5 out of 5
Process was quick and easy. You do have to activate your credit card after boarding the ship which is a little bit of an inconvenience as everyone tries to do it right away and at the first kiosk that they find. You do have time to do it later.
Food and Dining
5 out of 5
Main Dining Room
There are two main dining rooms and you will be assigned to one. We were assigned to the Ipanema which was arranged with square tables that can be combined to accommodate a range of dining parties. While some travelers like to dine with random other travelers, we prefer a table for two and this arrangement allows that. If we wish to converse with other travelers, tables are close enough to do so. Since MSC caters to a wide range of international travelers, it is not always easy to converse if we were seated together.
Food variety was good, portion sizes were adequate (you do not feel stuffed, but if you want more you can order multiple portions). Some had issue with the length of time it takes to eat but we are not in a hurry, wanting to relax and enjoy our meal rather than rush. Dinner usually took 90 minutes and if you are in a hurry you can tell your waiter; ours would make sure that you made your show or other schedule. Our wait staff was friendly and efficient.
Dress was smart casual except for the two “Elegant” (formal) nights. Dress code was not strictly enforced though we did see one couple turned back on a formal night—not sure of the specific reason. Some have complained that it is not enforced but we feel that it does not affect us.
We did not go to any of the specialty restaurants.
There are two buffets: a smaller one on Deck 16 near the pool, and the Marketplace Buffet on Deck 8. We only used the latter as it is larger, dining there for breakfast and lunch. There is plenty of variety, comparable to other ships that we have been on. We never experienced long lines or overcrowding, even on sea days. We never had a problem getting a table, th
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
There were three main shows each day and having to make a reservation was a plus as you knew that you would get a seat. You still should arrive about 20 minutes early if wanted a specific number of seats together. All seats are good and few pillars block your view. Each show in the theater were excellent when treated separately; however, most shows were very similar and not necessarily as advertised. While two shows were stated as Broadway and/or Movie tunes, they only contained a couple of songs that we recognized as from shows/movies. The one show that did follow a theme was the first show, a Frank Sinatra theme and it was our favorite.
HINT: We did not realize that you can make show reservations for all days. We had the 5:30 seating for dinner and it could be tight to make the 7:00 show (though our waiter said that he could get us out in time). The 8:15 show seamed to be the most popular and filled up quickly.
There were additional shows with themes like Italian, opera, etc. that were scheduled for 10:30 PM that is a little late for us, though we would have attended them if they were scheduled earlier.
Entertainment in the various bars seemed to be geared to a younger audience.
Service and Staff
4 out of 5
We found service good-to-excellent. Room steward serviced our cabin at least twice per day and often three times. Waiters were helpful and friendly. While the Guest Services Desk was often crowded (especially at key times), there was always crew available in the area to answer questions without going on line and were helpful with Internet issues, using the MSC for Me app, etc.
5 out of 5
Like many large ships, navigating from bow to stern can be a challenge but we never felt that we were crowded. The touch-screen displays scattered throughout the sip, and the MSC for Me app were very helpful navigating and checking schedules.
Common areas were clean and well-maintained.
Cabin / Stateroom
4 out of 5
The cabin was more than sufficient for two. Some have complained that the closet space is small but it also is sufficient (everyone usually takes more clothes than they need or wear). The only issue here was that the sliding doors make it difficult to easily access the entire closet space.
Beds are firmer than we would like but they are new, and this is a more subjective view as many may like a firmer bed. Pillows are comfortable, 4 per cabin for two people.
The bath area may be considered small by some, but is comparable to many ship cabins in this category. We had a close-to standard-size tub.
Balcony was of sufficient size for two.
Our cabin was mid-ship near the elevators closest to the atrium. Since the banks of elevators (2 banks, each with 4 elevators) are separated from the cabins by wall, there was not an issue with noise from guests using the elevators. Noise from the hallway or from other decks above or below.
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