I would not go on this ship again. Others said they'd been on other MSC ships and had been more than pleased. But this particular ship is understaffed and the services are poor to just ok. Staff isn't very friendly or helpful and not many go out of their way to make sure you have a great cruise. With so many choices to cruise, this was very disappointing and I'll shop around and check out reviews closely net time before choosing MSC.
3 out of 5
We were able to board early because the Aurea experience, which is an upgrade, came w/ our type of cabin. We only waited about 10 minutes to get to the agent who began the registration process and seemed at a loss as to what to give us. She took our picture, then had to go to another agent to get our materials bc she wasn't sure what we'd get. Took much longer to register than it did to stand in line! There was no explanation of any of the materials, including the items/services that were included with our cruise, since it was an upgrade. Virtually no information was provided at registration, including the fact that we could board that early.
Food and Dining
2 out of 5
The Seashore Dining Room was very nice, and our waiter/waitress, Cheryl & Ronell, were outstanding in providing service and making recommendations. The food, however was not even 4-star, in our opinion. The steaks were gristly, lacking flavor, and the sides lacked any seasoning, including salt. Fish dishes over or under cooked. I know the kitchen prepares massive amounts of food for an average palate, and I don't salt my food after cooking, but a little salt during cooking goes a long way in enhancing the natural flavor of the food. I'd rate the food, including that of the buffets, as just ok.
2 out of 5
We only used the pool area which was adequate in size, but the bar service to pool area was ABYSMAL! This is the first time I've ever had to stand in line for 30 minutes to get my own drink at a pool bar. There was a major shortage of waiters walking around, taking drink orders, so most patrons ended up getting their own drinks at the bar. Which would work ok if you have a large enough bar and plenty of bartenders. There were at least a thousand people on the pool deck on sea day and only one bar on one side w/only three bartenders, who were overwhelmed, and very grumpy if you asked a question and each w/only one blender going, on a ship where frozen drinks are specialties. So if someone ordered three different kinds of frozen drinks, each was made in the same blender, one at a time, w/the bartendender having to rinse/wash it in between each drink. Took about ten minutes per order, so as I said earlier, w/7 people in line in front of me, it took 35 minutes just to order and another 10 minutes to get my 4 frozen drinks, the first two having melted by the time I ws served the last. Very inefficient way to do this. There was room for at least 2 more bartenders, but I guess they were sort staffed or serving someplace else. The inside bars were much better. Quick service and friendlier faces, though not many smiles. Not many smiles going on w/any of the crew in the bar areas.
1 out of 5
Other than the Michael Jackson type show on Friday, the other 4 theater shows seemed all the same, just different costumes. Same tumbling acts, same aerialist tricks, same strongman/dancer acts. We've been on 2 week cruises where we were never bored w/the theater shows. This was boring in only 5 nights.And, they were too short...30 minutes! Length might have been a blessing, though, considering the quality. The opera was good but needed way more explanation since it was an adaptation. And why put in an aerialist and ballet dancers in it? Confusing for those not familiar w/the original.
Service and Staff
2 out of 5
Very disappointed w/overall service. Contacted MSC several days before cruising to ask about the availability of distilled water as one of us needs it for a breathing machine. We were assured that it was easily available on the ship so we asked our steward when we boarded. Four hours later, no one delivered, so contacted housekeeping who said it was guest services we needed to call, which we did. It was finally delivered that night, just in time for bed, and instead of an unopened bottle, we got two opened half bottles, which may or may not have been sterile or distilled water, since the only indication was a typed written tape identifying as distilled. Each bottle had other cabin numbers on them, as well. We asked for it again twice on the cruise since we'd run out, and room service told us that we should just use the hot water from one of the buffets hot water vats. ??? Obviously she didn't know what distilled water is or that it is used for medical reasons and not just can't used a substitution. We did get it bot times, again in the half bottles. We had no choice but to take them at their word, not to mention that anyone could put anytime of water in those bottles since they weren't sealed at all when we got them. Glad it wasn't life/deth necessity. We saw our cabin steward once at embarkation and once when we were disembarking. Our room was made up daily but not really cleaned. The dining table was never wiped off except when we did it, even though there were obvious spills/remnants left on it. The one and only trash can wasn't emptied daily. We had to ask for our robes/slippers, although she did say they had run out and she'd bring them the 2nd day, which she did. The hall in front of our room didn't seem vacuumed daily. There were few stewards around to ask about our missing steward. It seemed like each one was overwhelmed w/the number of cabins they had to take care of. The pool area servers were almost non-existent and most people trudged through the bar line themselves, waiting as much as 30-40 minutes in line to order a drink at the pool bars. Never saw any of the bar staff/servers smiling or happy to serve. Most were rather abrupt when taking an order or providing a drink. First time I've encountered grumpy personnel at a bar! I really think this ship needs way more service staff! Virtually no staff walking around the ship just to provide direction or assistance on any level at any point in our cruise. The only absolutely wonderful service provided was in the Seashore Restaurant. Our servers, Cheryl & Ronell, were fantastic, as were the two hostesses by the "anytime seating" entrance. They knew our names by the end of the first night and referred to all four of us by name for the rest of the cruise. Very personal service, even knowing our preferred drinks. Everyone else on the cruise provided cursory, at best, service, including the guest services staff.
2 out of 5
Housekeeping lacking, at least on our level, and hallways that smelled of something unpleasant on the last 3 days. Atrium areas were clean, though never saw anyone cleaning off the tables in the common bar areas and some of the tables were sticky and dirty and we had to request a cloth from the bar to clean them off. The design is weird....that's all I can say. From our cabin which was at the bow of the ship,, you made 4 turns w/in about a 300 ft walk before reaching an elevator. One elevator was always out of service and another, at disembarkation on last day was Reserved for Yacht members only, I guess, since it only stopped at the 19th floor and expressed to the deboarding level w/o picking anyone else up. The disembarking on last day was CHAOTIC at best! No staff anywhere to help/answer questions and the lines to deboard were up to an hour long for express deboarders! What a mess! Very disorganized and lines wrapped around common areas that were being used by patrons not getting off yet. I guess it's bc the ship is designed w/no long hallways on most levels, so lines snaked around gift shops, bars, and elevator areas.
Cabin / Stateroom
4 out of 5
2 bedroom/2 bath cabin. Master had queen bed w/a view of balcony, but the balcony has a solid high wall, bc it is on the bow of the ship, about 5 ft tall, on all sides, so you had to tiptoe to see the water. Definitely NOT conducive to sitting out and enjoying a view bc there is none for this cabin. Second bedroom had two single beds and a closet, no windows. Adequate and roomy enough. But it had NO Outlets so you couldn't charge anything in that room which is very inconvenient for cell phones at night. Both baths are at the entrance of the cabin, across from each other; one has a full tub and the other only a tiny shower, besides the toilets and sinks. Again, No electrical outlets in either of the bathrooms so you can't use a hair dryer/hair curler in either bathroom. The only electrical outlets are one in the master bedroom and one in the living area above a desk/vanity area. There is only one hair dryer and it's wired into a dresser drawer in the master bedroom so you have to disturb that person everyeimt you need to dry your hair. If there were four women in this cabin, they'd need to start getting their hair done really early! I'll bring my own next time so I can at least plug it into the plug in the living area. They reallymake it inconvenient to use any electric items, for safety reasons,I guess, but if you leave something plugged in, it will automatically shut off when you leave the room and take your id card off the door slot. The cabin is perfect for two couples or 4 persons w/plenty of storage, a living area w/a couch and coffee table, a dining table w/4 chairs. I do't think I'd get it again, though. I want that balcony view!
It is a HUGE ship so wear comfortable walking shoes and get a cabin close to elevators so you don't spend ten minutes just winding your way around and down to the elevators. If you need special water, bring your own, along w/a doctor's prescription so you do'nt rely on the ship to bring it to you.
In five hours, after 5 pm docking time? What was there to see? The major attractions, El Morro and La Fortaleza, forts and castles, were already closed. The only thing we saw were shopping areas in downtown areas and they all used heavy handed tactics to get you to buy stuff.
Used Shore Excursions Group to book a city tour and the van was way too small for the 30 people on it. The aisle was abut 12" wide and most people couldn't even sidle through it w/o pressing flesh. Not comfortable, at all.
Only stayed along the pier shopping area. Not great shopping but nice enough for souvenirs
1 out of 5
Chaotic at best. Long, long, long lines, snaking around common areas that were being used by other patrons not wanting to get off. Elevators opening and people cutting in line. No staff anywhere to organize it. Never been on anything like this before and I've been on 7 other cruises all over the world, 4 different cruise lines. By far, the worst disembarkation process ever.
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