July 2015 - MSC Preziosa to Europe - Western Mediterranean
As a first time cruiser on MSC, with experience on Royal Caribbean and Norwegian, I was looking forward to learning about an Italian-based cruiseline. It was interesting to note that this line allows passengers to come aboard at each of its ports. That means there is a muster just about every day. Our request for extra towels and pillows (a standard request on the other lines) was met with an argument first, then a two-day delay in providing them. Dinner service was stilted, with the servers not understanding rudimentary English. Servers refused to provide plain tap water , insisting that we purchase water instead. Coffee/tea was also not offered - we were told to go to the cafe and purchase it there. At breakfast, service was poor to non-existent. Occasionally, but not always, we were offered juice and bread. Refills on coffee were available, if you could flag down a waitperson and ask for it. Except for breakfast, the food was either tasteless, or comparable to dishwater (soups) or cardboard (sauces). Only two dinners had portions that were acceptable. All the areas of the ship were invaded by unruly, unsupervised children. Despite signs saying that under-sixteens must be supervised by an adult, said adults were not in evidence. I was extremely disturbed to see toddlers in diapers (expressly forbidden in all pools) present, occasionally with parents, in all the pools. The health hazard of this seems not to disturb the management. Children were roughhousing - pulling or pushing each other into the water, running around the perimeters, generally being totally obnoxious. Needless to say, there was NO place on the ship to avoid these encounters. The crew seldom smiled or responded in a friendly manner, unlike my experiences with the other cruiselines. The ship generally docked far from the cruise terminal, then offered 'shuttles' to town or the terminal for 10 - 15 euros.