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MSC Cruises: MSC Musica

Fodorite Reviews

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Jan 1, 2017

Review of MSC Musica

Kimberly Age: 46 Occupation:production worker Number of Cruises: 1 Cruise Line: MSC Cruises Ship: MSC Musica Sailing Date: 2014-02-9 Itinerary: southern caribean The wait staff were great, and spoke English, the bartenders spoke English as well and were funny and very pleasant to be around, Our cabin Steward was happy all the time. If it wasn't for us leaving the ship at the beautiful islands (PORTS) and getting away from the Rude and extremely ignorant

French passengers my first cruise may have been my last. It certainly is my last with MSC lines Hopefully writing this will help others with their decisions. and STAY AWAY!!! The food was good, small portions, so but day 2 I started ordering the appetizers, eating my bread, bun and breadsticks, then entree, and then ordering the dessert. Our stateroom was just fine actually very cute, the balcony was small, but still no complaints on the room. Our Steward was the best thing, he was happy and very pleasant and courteous. just one word BORING and not geared for the non-french ST,MAARTEN!!! No need to spend money for the very expensive excursion's provided by the ship. A 10 min. walk from the terminal, is a wonderful and fun boardwalk and great beach to spend your time ashore. for $ 15 US we got 2 lounge chairs with cushions and umbrella, and they will bring your drinks and food,( anything you need or want), they tell you to just RELAX. The boardwalk is loaded with restaurants and bars. one street over is shopping. I love this Island and we are already planning a week stay there. Antigua... we went to swim and snorkel with STING RAYS the best experience I highly recommend it. the trip in whole was very memorable, We will remember the fun. The ship is lovely and very beautiful. The Reception/Information people are useless and misinformative. Its unfortunate that the uncaring Reception and the rude passengers seemed to try to ruin our holiday. Thank you for our off ship trips, through their efforts our trip was wonderful.

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Feb 17, 2014

southern caribean

The wait staff were great, and spoke English, the bartenders spoke English as well and were funny and very pleasant to be around, Our cabin Steward was happy all the time. If it wasn't for us leaving the ship at the beautiful islands (PORTS) and getting away from the Rude and extremely ignorant French passengers my first cruise may have been my last. It certainly is my last with MSC lines Hopefully writing this will help others with their decisions.

and STAY AWAY!!! The food was good, small portions, so but day 2 I started ordering the appetizers, eating my bread, bun and breadsticks, then entree, and then ordering the dessert. Our stateroom was just fine actually very cute, the balcony was small, but still no complaints on the room. Our Steward was the best thing, he was happy and very pleasant and courteous. just one word BORING and not geared for the non-french ST,MAARTEN!!! No need to spend money for the very expensive excursion's provided by the ship. A 10 min. walk from the terminal, is a wonderful and fun boardwalk and great beach to spend your time ashore. for $ 15 US we got 2 lounge chairs with cushions and umbrella, and they will bring your drinks and food,( anything you need or want), they tell you to just RELAX. The boardwalk is loaded with restaurants and bars. one street over is shopping. I love this Island and we are already planning a week stay there. Antigua... we went to swim and snorkel with STING RAYS the best experience I highly recommend it. the trip in whole was very memorable, We will remember the fun. The ship is lovely and very beautiful. The Reception/Information people are useless and misinformative. Its unfortunate that the uncaring Reception and the rude passengers seemed to try to ruin our holiday. Thank you for our off ship trips, through their efforts our trip was wonderful.

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Oct 7, 2012

Adriatic

Appalling. If we had never previously cruised, this would have put us off from ever doing so again. The attitude and professionalism of the majority of the staff we were unfortunate enough to have to deal with was at worst non existent and at best awful. A lovely ship with very little positive to say about either it, or its level of service. On the morning of check out we had to leave to cabins at 7am, the ship at 10 am and spend the entire

day ashore with bags (until 11pm). Transfers to the airport arranged for 4pm, with the corresponding 6 hour wait in the terminal. None of the check your bags in and collect them on arrival at your home airport here, nor was a day room on offer. Very tiring, very bad customer service. If you get the opportunity to cruise with MSC, particularly on the MSC Musica, decline. It truly is the worst cruise experience we have ever had. Okay, but sometimes mediocre in the buffet Clean and tidy with good standard Okay, but the bars were like corridors with very little segregation between areas. As long as you didn't actually want anything, you got no hassle from the staff. If you did require something, it was usually too much trouble. Complaints ignored, staff level of service in the restaurants and bars awful or non existent. Book them ashore when you can, they are usually available and much cheaper than the ones from the ship. Nice places visited, lovely ship, appalling holiday experience as a whole. Never, ever again do we intend to use MSC.

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By C_CR

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Jul 7, 2011

EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN

A nightmare, i wouldnt go back if they pay me, i cant find a single positive thing about it A lot of food but very average So small we couldnt even move, i felt sick after a few days Very very disappoited, i have never seen anything worse Far too expensive, DONT BOOK them, you can easily do them yourself and save a fortune. The worst holiday of my life. Seams they are only interested in making money, far too many people

on the boot and not enough room for everybody. you had to queue for lunch or breakfast which i tought was disgraceful. Never any sunbed available even at 9am. Entertainment so bad they should be ashemed of. Staff at the reception not helpful at tell. I wouldnt send my worst enemy. AVOID LIKE A PLAGUE

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Aug 23, 2010

greek

I love it!!!. It was the perfect cruise , the entertainment was like been in a Cirq of Solei performance, the food was excellent . If you have read other people's negative comments , Don't pay attention . The excursions was perfectly organized and as difference with other cruises the $$$price was reasonable. The Ship is new, clean and with people serving you at all times. I was traveling with a group of friends and with my teenager daugther (15) .

My daughter and her friends found the activites for teens fun and exciting. This is definetly not a cruse for elders. The spa was wonderful and filled with great specials everyday, I already booked my next cruise and whenever I choose a cruse It will be an European Cruise Line, Of course It will be MSC. Great at all time Perfect location , I had what I paid for. Excellent and Fun

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Sep 12, 2009

Greek Isles

Don't do it! First, I'll start with something positive about the Musica. It is a beautiful ship and a great deal of effort is put into cleaning and maintaining the ship. I can't think of anything else that is positive beyond this. There is one word that can sum up the staff of the Musica: RUDE. No one wants to help you with anything at all (especially when they realize you are an English speaker). So, in this case, we had to work hard trying

to figure what is going on, because it was useless to try to ask a question of the staff. Needless to say, this is not how we wanted to spend our "relaxing" vacation in Europe. Most of our other cruises have been on NCL or Carnival and we had expected the service to be simlar on the Musica. Based on the NCL standard, we were completly disappointed. We were Euroed to death on this cruise. You even have to pay for water with your meals!! When we asked a waiter about this, he said "don't complain to me, complain to hotel management". You have pay for just about everything while on board. Executives from MSC should book a few NCL cruises to see how to properly do this business. Right now, they don't have a clue. The food was a just step above slop. And there was very little variety. The one bright spot was the Japanese restaurant where we had our only good meal, but we had to pay extra of course. Our stateroom was quite small, but it had a nice balcony that we enjoyed very much. If you were Italian, you might have enjoyed the onboard activities. However, they looked like total chaos to us. The Musica's excursions were O.K., but expensive. At most of the ports you can find similar excursions at 1/2 the price, if you book them yourself at the dock. We didn't let the poor experience we had aboard the Musica ruin our trip. We had fun together as a family and really enjoyed every port we visited. There was great weather the whole time and no one got sick. We were even able to find a ways to laugh at the numerous problems we faced on the Musica. It was like "O.K. what could possibly happen next? Ha Ha..." In other words, we made lemonade out of lemons.

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Aug 3, 2009

Venice - Corfu - Mykonos - Santorini -

Chaos cruise - I never go with MSC again! The food was always nicely presented, but not very tasteful. If you had chicken or salmon - the taste was the same! There were no free alternatives to the main restaurants. The cafeteria was complete chaos both during breakfast and lunch and many of the waiters were rude and lazy. It was only possible to get a meal due to the few nice waiters. I had to ask our waiter several times to bring the wine so

we could have it to our dinner and not after, that was they same every night! I ate one night in the sushi restaurant on board and spent the next day with a food poisoning! I was not able to reach the medical center at the ship at all! Everything on the ship was primarily taking place in Italian and usually at a level of more than 100 dB. It was then translated into Spanish, German etc. and then English was 5th on the list, which was hard to understand due to their lack of English skills and all the Itailan guests were extremly loud all the time! Mykonoos showed out to be a very positive surprise, and Santorini is always fantastic. In Corfu we went with the shuttle bus to some old ruins that were not so nice, but the beaches weren't bad. MSC Musica and I guess MSC in general is apparently mainly aimed at Italians! Everything was presented in Italian and 80% of the passengeres were also Italian. They were very loud and rude - one old Italian lady even tried to steal my towel! No one of the Italian staff could speak proper English, and they were very disorganised and loud all the time. The translations into English was always very short and no. 5 in the line of translations. The only well organised things was the embarkment and disembarkment - everything else was not really enjoyable! The only staff who was nice and helpful was the persons from Asia and South America.

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May 19, 2009

Greek Isles

MSC Musica was a terrible experience. I would describe the staff as rude and uncaring. The entire week was very disorganized, from getting on the ship to excursions (for one trip, we sat and waited for an hour, while the staff whispered and provided no explanations). They nickel and dime you to death (they forget to tell you that once we are port, you are charged about 8 Euros per person to get to the town); the explanations of the excursions are

quite deceiving (the excursion says you will have great views from the olf wall in Croatia...which you could, if you paid additional fees). Charges on our statement were incorrect and it took several trips and much persistence to get it adjusted. I would not recommend this cruise to anyone....save your money and go with a cruise line who cares. Breakfast and lunch was the same everyday, no variety. It was a nightmare trying to get to through the lines; once you had your plate, there were no tables to be able to sit at. There were 3 restaurants, in which you had to pay and they were good, but part of the point in going on a cruise was to have meals covered in the price. Small, but okay. The last night (once tips are given), we did not even receive clean towel and our sheets were left for us to change ourselves. Minimal and geared towards the teenage crowd. Get off at all of the ports - they are incredible. Save about 50% by booking your excursion once you are off the ship, with the local folks.

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May 19, 2009

Greek Isles

MSC Musica was a terrible experience. I would describe the staff as rude and uncaring. The entire week was very disorganized, from getting on the ship to excursions (for one trip, we sat and waited for an hour, while the staff whispered and provided no explanations). They nickel and dime you to death (they forget to tell you that once we are port, you are charged about 8 Euros per person to get to the town); the explanations of the excursions are

quite deceiving (the excursion says you will have great views from the olf wall in Croatia...which you could, if you paid additional fees). Charges on our statement were incorrect and it took several trips and much persistence to get it adjusted. I would not recommend this cruise to anyone....save your money and go with a cruise line who cares. Breakfast and lunch was the same everyday, no variety. It was a nightmare trying to get to through the lines; once you had your plate, there were no tables to be able to sit at. There were 3 restaurants, in which you had to pay and they were good, but part of the point in going on a cruise was to have meals covered in the price. Small, but okay. The last night (once tips are given), we did not even receive clean towel and our sheets were left for us to change ourselves. Minimal and geared towards the teenage crowd. Get off at all of the ports - they are incredible. Save about 50% by booking your excursion once you are off the ship, with the local folks.

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May 19, 2009

Greek Isles

MSC Musica was a terrible experience. I would describe the staff as rude and uncaring. The entire week was very disorganized, from getting on the ship to excursions (for one trip, we sat and waited for an hour, while the staff whispered and provided no explanations). They nickel and dime you to death (they forget to tell you that once we are port, you are charged about 8 Euros per person to get to the town); the explanations of the excursions are

quite deceiving (the excursion says you will have great views from the olf wall in Croatia...which you could, if you paid additional fees). Charges on our statement were incorrect and it took several trips and much persistence to get it adjusted. I would not recommend this cruise to anyone....save your money and go with a cruise line who cares. Breakfast and lunch was the same everyday, no variety. It was a nightmare trying to get to through the lines; once you had your plate, there were no tables to be able to sit at. There were 3 restaurants, in which you had to pay and they were good, but part of the point in going on a cruise was to have meals covered in the price. Small, but okay. The last night (once tips are given), we did not even receive clean towel and our sheets were left for us to change ourselves. Minimal and geared towards the teenage crowd. Get off at all of the ports - they are incredible. Save about 50% by booking your excursion once you are off the ship, with the local folks.

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Apr 28, 2009

Greek Isles and Croatia

We had an amazing time...IN SPITE OF MSC CRUISES. From beginning to end, this cruiseline's customer service and SOPs lacked immensely. Our itinerary said that we would be boarding the ship at 10:30 am and departing at 6:30 pm, and recommended to be at the port 2 hours before boarding time. We arrived at 8:30am and there was only one other couple there...and no staff. The staff started showing up and informed us that we could check in after a little

longer. A line started to form sometime around 11 am, so we got in it only to be told that we all should sit down again, since they would not be checking anyone in until noon. A little before noon, the line started forming again and by now a mob has formed around the area as well. When they started motioning that people could finally check-in (1:30 pm) everyone rushed the counters, paying no attention to the barriers. We were finally onboard at 5 pm. However, the cruise tickets stated something to the effect of "we are not responsible for service you receive while not onboard the ship." so we figured that was why they put in that disclaimer. We had chosen late dining thinking it would be around 8 pm. It was actually 9 pm every night, which would have been okay, except every night it didn't start until 9:30 pm and in the case of that first night on the ship 10:15 pm. We had wanted to attend a show that was supposedly timed for the late dining crowd, beginning at 11:30 pm, but made it right on time for the final closing of the curtain. This was true of every show, since dinner always started late, it also ran late. We had assumed they would at least provide tap water with dinner, but no drinks at all were included. You could purchase a bottle of water for 4 euros (over $5) or a can of soda for 3 euros ($4) or had the option of buying a book of coupons which discounted these by 1 euro each. The food on the ship was okay, it was not bad but not up to the standards I had heard about other cruise lines' food. The excursions were extra, which we knew, but somewhat expensive. So we had decided to just catch a cab or the shuttle buses that were offered for many of them at a 9 euro charge. Taking the shuttle bus out was fine, but returning on one proved to be a feat. Again, it reminded me of the chaos at check-in...people in a huge mob trying to push their way onto the buses. We may have been able to maintain some sort of line, except that the buses kept stopping at different places along the street instead of pulling up to the sign. Sometimes they would go past the sign. We made it back after waiting to get on a bus for almost 2 hours.We met some friends on the boat that had booked a private excursion to Santorini and invited us along. We had been informed on the daily newsletter that we would be receiving numbers indicating what order we could disembark at Santorini, beginning after the people who had booked the MSC excursion. According to the itinerary, we were docking at 7:30 am and everyone could leave the ship sometime around 8:30 am. Our friends had arranged to meet the driver by 9am. When we all received our numbers, they had number 10 and we had number 16 (no idea how these were allotted). When they asked the front desk roughly what time they would be disembarking with this number, they were told sometime around 11 or 11:30. Essentially, after they not-so-calmly argued this, they were given number 1 for all 4 of us. We were able to meet the driver at 10am and had a great but somewhat rushed tour. When we returned to the boat we found out that people who had numbers 15 and up ended up getting off the boat with only 2 hours left before they had to return. The stop at Mykonos was scheduled during the evening, so we had decided not to leave the ship since it would cut into our dinner time. Apparently they had decided to make the early seating open and have no late seating. It was printed in the newsletter but not very clearly...it did not specifically state that late seating was cancelled completely. Our friends had not even received a newsletter that day...and every other one they had gotten was in German, which they tried to correct daily. Bottom line, there was no food except the restaurants where you could purchase food. After arguing with the customer service desk again, our friends were able to get us dinner at the sushi restaurant on the house. Had they not spoken up, we wouldn't have gotten a meal at all unless we paid for it. All of the spa massages, facials, etc. couldn't be booked because there was one person there at any given time running reception/appointment desk AND giving the massages/facials. They had no openings for the entire week when we checked the 2nd day. We were also unable to use the jacuzzis because the rules were not enforced about 20min time limit and max of 5 people...there were at least 10 or more kids in all 4 jacuzzis every time we checked.We were given a letter about 2 days before the end of the cruise stating that they would be automatically charging our account 6 Euro per person per day for gratuities, totalling 84 Euro (over $100) for my husband and myself. We had been giving tips to the wait staff that deserved it and we had planned on leaving something for the woman who serviced our room, but had not been told this at any point...even by those we had tipped. We were informed that the only way to change this amount was to fill out a request at the Accounting desk, which was only open 2 hours a day. We not only made it a point to visit the desk, but we also changed the amount to zero...citing on the request exactly why and that we would leave what we thought was fair for the housekeeping staff. The staff at the desk responded a rude, "Thanks a lot..." to my husband when they saw that. The food was decent, but not spectacular. There was plenty of it served, though. I did have higher expectations for the quality of food for the price we had paid. Our balcony ocean-view stateroom was nice, and this was the only aspect of the cruise I can say was great. The people who serviced our room were thorough and timely, they even folded some of my clothes that were left on a chair! We did, however, have friends who had paid for an "ocean-view room" without a balcony, and ended up with one that you could only view the ocean if you had x-ray vision to see through a lifeboat. The activities we were able to attend were entertaining, especially the Mr. and Ms. Musica contests. My husband and myself had entered for fun and were more than happy to lose to an older Italian gentleman and a very beautiful Asian woman with a great sense of humor. We also enjoyed the dance contest, which we took 2nd place in. We were unable to attend most of the night activites that were offered due to our dinner consistently running late. Excursions were extremely pricey and not very well organized. We had friends that arranged a private tour in Santorini and we almost were unable to disembark in time to meet our guide, as I mentioned in my general comments. Out of all the stops, my favorite was definitely Santorini. Other friends that had taken that excursion through MSC mentioned that they were disappointed in the quality of it and the sights they had seen, compared to what we got to experience on our own. We found that overall, the best way to tour the cities was to find a taxi at each port and request for them to take you to the city center or to specific tourist spots. The price averaged only 10-20 Euros per ride (for us, split between 4 people) as opposed to the 50-70 Euros per person charged by MSC. I pretty much summed up my cruise experience in the first comment box. I know some of this may seem trivial but in my opinion, this was a lot of money to spend to experience this level of stress and inconvenience. After my experience with MSC for my first cruise, I am not sure if I will ever take another cruise...period. If I do it will definitely not be with MSC. I filled out their comment form and mentioned all of this in it but I do not know if they will take it seriously. But talking to several other people on the ship, including the new friends we had met before check-in, no one was at all satisfied with the quality of this cruiseline.

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Apr 28, 2009

Western Mediterranean

We had an amazing time...IN SPITE OF MSC CRUISES. From beginning to end, this cruiseline's customer service and SOPs lacked immensely. Our itinerary said that we would be boarding the ship at 10:30 am and departing at 6:30 pm, and recommended to be at the port 2 hours before boarding time. We arrived at 8:30 am and there was only one other couple there...and no staff. The staff started showing up and informed us that we could check in after a little

longer. A line started to form sometime around 11am, so we got in it only to be told that we all should sit down again sice they would not be checking anyone in until noon. A little before noon, the line started forming again and by now a mob has formed around the area as well. When they started motioning that people could finally check in (1:30 pm) everyone rushed the counters, paying no attention to the barriers. We were finally onboard at 5pm. However, the cruise tickets stated something to the effect of "we are not responsible for service you receive while not onboard the ship," so we figured that was why they put in that disclaimer.We had chosen late dining thinking it would be around 8 pm. It was actually 9 pm every night, which would have been okay, except every night it didn't start intil 9:30 pm and in the case of that first night on the ship 10:15 pm. We had wanted to attend a show that was supposedly timed for the late dining crowd at begin at 11:30 pm, but made it right on time for the final closing of the curtain. This was true of every show, since dinner always started late, it also ran late. We had assumed they would at least provide tap water with dinner, but no drinks at all were included. You could purchase a bottle of water for 4 euros (over $5) or a can of soda for 3 euros ($4) or had the option of buying a book of coupons which discounted these by 1 euro each. The food on the ship was okay, it was not bad but not up to the standards I had heard about other cruise lines' food. The excursions were extra, which we knew, but somewhat expensive. So we had decided to just catch a cab or the shuttle buses that were offered for many of them at a 9 euro charge. Taking the shuttle bus out was fine, but returning on one proved to be a feat. Again, it reminded me of the chaos at check-in...people in a huge mob trying to push their way onto the buses. We may have been able to maintain some sort of line, except that the buses kept stopping at different places along the street instead of pulling up to the sign. Sometimes they would go past the sign. We made it back after waiting to get on a bus for almost 2 hours.We met some friends on the boat that had booked a private excursion to Santorini and invited us along. We had been informed on the daily newsletter that we would be receiving numbers indicating what order we could disembark at Santorini, beginning after the people who had booked the MSC excursion. According to the itinerary, we were docking at 7:30 am and everyone could leave the ship sometime around 8:30 am. Our friends had arranged to meet the driver by 9am. When we all received our numbers, they had number 10 and we had number 16 (no idea how these were allotted). When they asked the front desk roughly what time they would be disembarking with this number, they were told sometime around 11 or 11:30. Essentially, after they not-so-calmly argued this, they were given number 1 for all 4 of us. We were able to meet the driver at 10 am and had a great but somewhat rushed tour. When we returned to the boat we found out that people who had numbers 15 and up ended up getting off the boat with only 2 hours left before they had to return.The stop at Mykonos was scheduled during the evening, so we had decided not to leave the ship since it would cut into our dinner time. Apparently they had decided to make the early seating open and have no late seating. It was printed in the newsletter but not very clearly...it did not specifically state that late seating was cancelled completely. Our friends had not even received a newsletter that day...and every other one they had gotten was in German, which they had requested in English each day. Bottom line, there was no food except the restaurants where you could purchase food. After arguing with the customer service desk again, our friends were able to get us dinner at the sushi restaurant on the house. Had they not spoken up, we wouldn't have gotten a meal at all unless we paid for it.All of the spa massages, facials, etc. couldn't be booked because there was one person there at any given time running reception/appointment desk AND giving the massages/facials. They had no openings for the entire week when we checked the 2nd day. We were also unable to use the jacuzzis because the rules were not enforced about 20 min time limit and max of 5 people...there were at least 10 or more kids in all 4 jacuzzis every time we checked.We were given a letter about 2 days before the end of the cruise stating that they would be automatically charging our account 6 Euro per person per day for gratuities, totalling 84 Euro (over $100) for my husband and myself. We had been giving tips to the wait staff that deserved it and we had planned on leaving something for the woman who serviced our room, but had not been told this at any point...even by those we had tipped. We were informed that the only way to change this amount was to fill out a request at the Accounting desk, which was only open 2 hours a day. We not only made it a point to visit the desk, but we also changed the amount to zero...citing on the request exactly why and that we would leave what we thought was fair for the housekeeping staff. The staff at the desk responded a rude, "Thanks a lot..." to my husband when they saw that. The food was okay, most nights it was pretty good. However, I definitely had higher expectations for the quality of food for the price of the cruise. Our ocean-view balcony stateroom was nice, it was probably the only aspect of the cruise that lived up to my expectations. The staff that serviced our room were very friendly and thorough...they even folded some of my clothes that I had left on a chair. We had friends, however, who had paid for an ocean-view room without a balcony, and the only way they could have viewed the ocean was with x-ray vision to see through the lifeboat. The activities we were able to attend were entertaining, but as I mentioned earlier we missed many of them due to our dinner running late every night. The Mr. and Ms. Musica contests were enjoyable...my husband and I entered them both for fun and were happy to lose to an older Italian gentleman and a beautiful young Asian woman who had a wonderful sense of humor. We also entered the dance contest and took 2nd place...but that was the only night they had decided not to video tape for the cruise DVD. What we figured out about the excursions was to make our own arrangements. At each port we caught a taxi and asked to be brought to the city center or to specific tourist attractions we knew about. Santorini, Greece was definitely my favorite of all the stops...our friends had booked a private excursion. We heard from other friends that took the MSC excursion (and paid over 60 euro, about 80 dollars, per person) that they didn't get to see much and that it was as badly organized as the cruise was overall. Dubrovnik, Croatia was also a beautiful location...again we planned our own day and did not involve MSC. I just about summed up everything in my first paragraph. I know some of this may seem trivial but in my opinion, this was a lot of money to spend to experience this level of stress and inconvenience. After my experience with MSC for my first cruise, I am not sure if I will ever take another cruise...period. If I do it will definitely not be with MSC. I filled out their comment form and mentioned all of this in it but I do not know if they will take it seriously. But talking to several other people on the ship, including the new friends we had met before check-in, no one was at all satisfied with the quality of this cruiseline.

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Apr 28, 2009

Western Mediterranean

We had an amazing time...IN SPITE OF MSC CRUISES. From beginning to end, this cruiseline's customer service and SOPs lacked immensely. Our itinerary said that we would be boarding the ship at 10:30 am and departing at 6:30 pm, and recommended to be at the port 2 hours before boarding time. We arrived at 8:30 am and there was only one other couple there...and no staff. The staff started showing up and informed us that we could check in after a little

longer. A line started to form sometime around 11am, so we got in it only to be told that we all should sit down again sice they would not be checking anyone in until noon. A little before noon, the line started forming again and by now a mob has formed around the area as well. When they started motioning that people could finally check in (1:30 pm) everyone rushed the counters, paying no attention to the barriers. We were finally onboard at 5pm. However, the cruise tickets stated something to the effect of "we are not responsible for service you receive while not onboard the ship," so we figured that was why they put in that disclaimer.We had chosen late dining thinking it would be around 8 pm. It was actually 9 pm every night, which would have been okay, except every night it didn't start intil 9:30 pm and in the case of that first night on the ship 10:15 pm. We had wanted to attend a show that was supposedly timed for the late dining crowd at begin at 11:30 pm, but made it right on time for the final closing of the curtain. This was true of every show, since dinner always started late, it also ran late. We had assumed they would at least provide tap water with dinner, but no drinks at all were included. You could purchase a bottle of water for 4 euros (over $5) or a can of soda for 3 euros ($4) or had the option of buying a book of coupons which discounted these by 1 euro each. The food on the ship was okay, it was not bad but not up to the standards I had heard about other cruise lines' food. The excursions were extra, which we knew, but somewhat expensive. So we had decided to just catch a cab or the shuttle buses that were offered for many of them at a 9 euro charge. Taking the shuttle bus out was fine, but returning on one proved to be a feat. Again, it reminded me of the chaos at check-in...people in a huge mob trying to push their way onto the buses. We may have been able to maintain some sort of line, except that the buses kept stopping at different places along the street instead of pulling up to the sign. Sometimes they would go past the sign. We made it back after waiting to get on a bus for almost 2 hours.We met some friends on the boat that had booked a private excursion to Santorini and invited us along. We had been informed on the daily newsletter that we would be receiving numbers indicating what order we could disembark at Santorini, beginning after the people who had booked the MSC excursion. According to the itinerary, we were docking at 7:30 am and everyone could leave the ship sometime around 8:30 am. Our friends had arranged to meet the driver by 9am. When we all received our numbers, they had number 10 and we had number 16 (no idea how these were allotted). When they asked the front desk roughly what time they would be disembarking with this number, they were told sometime around 11 or 11:30. Essentially, after they not-so-calmly argued this, they were given number 1 for all 4 of us. We were able to meet the driver at 10 am and had a great but somewhat rushed tour. When we returned to the boat we found out that people who had numbers 15 and up ended up getting off the boat with only 2 hours left before they had to return.The stop at Mykonos was scheduled during the evening, so we had decided not to leave the ship since it would cut into our dinner time. Apparently they had decided to make the early seating open and have no late seating. It was printed in the newsletter but not very clearly...it did not specifically state that late seating was cancelled completely. Our friends had not even received a newsletter that day...and every other one they had gotten was in German, which they had requested in English each day. Bottom line, there was no food except the restaurants where you could purchase food. After arguing with the customer service desk again, our friends were able to get us dinner at the sushi restaurant on the house. Had they not spoken up, we wouldn't have gotten a meal at all unless we paid for it.All of the spa massages, facials, etc. couldn't be booked because there was one person there at any given time running reception/appointment desk AND giving the massages/facials. They had no openings for the entire week when we checked the 2nd day. We were also unable to use the jacuzzis because the rules were not enforced about 20 min time limit and max of 5 people...there were at least 10 or more kids in all 4 jacuzzis every time we checked.We were given a letter about 2 days before the end of the cruise stating that they would be automatically charging our account 6 Euro per person per day for gratuities, totalling 84 Euro (over $100) for my husband and myself. We had been giving tips to the wait staff that deserved it and we had planned on leaving something for the woman who serviced our room, but had not been told this at any point...even by those we had tipped. We were informed that the only way to change this amount was to fill out a request at the Accounting desk, which was only open 2 hours a day. We not only made it a point to visit the desk, but we also changed the amount to zero...citing on the request exactly why and that we would leave what we thought was fair for the housekeeping staff. The staff at the desk responded a rude, "Thanks a lot..." to my husband when they saw that. The food was okay, most nights it was pretty good. However, I definitely had higher expectations for the quality of food for the price of the cruise. Our ocean-view balcony stateroom was nice, it was probably the only aspect of the cruise that lived up to my expectations. The staff that serviced our room were very friendly and thorough...they even folded some of my clothes that I had left on a chair. We had friends, however, who had paid for an ocean-view room without a balcony, and the only way they could have viewed the ocean was with x-ray vision to see through the lifeboat. The activities we were able to attend were entertaining, but as I mentioned earlier we missed many of them due to our dinner running late every night. The Mr. and Ms. Musica contests were enjoyable...my husband and I entered them both for fun and were happy to lose to an older Italian gentleman and a beautiful young Asian woman who had a wonderful sense of humor. We also entered the dance contest and took 2nd place...but that was the only night they had decided not to video tape for the cruise DVD. What we figured out about the excursions was to make our own arrangements. At each port we caught a taxi and asked to be brought to the city center or to specific tourist attractions we knew about. Santorini, Greece was definitely my favorite of all the stops...our friends had booked a private excursion. We heard from other friends that took the MSC excursion (and paid over 60 euro, about 80 dollars, per person) that they didn't get to see much and that it was as badly organized as the cruise was overall. Dubrovnik, Croatia was also a beautiful location...again we planned our own day and did not involve MSC. I just about summed up everything in my first paragraph. I know some of this may seem trivial but in my opinion, this was a lot of money to spend to experience this level of stress and inconvenience. After my experience with MSC for my first cruise, I am not sure if I will ever take another cruise...period. If I do it will definitely not be with MSC. I filled out their comment form and mentioned all of this in it but I do not know if they will take it seriously. But talking to several other people on the ship, including the new friends we had met before check-in, no one was at all satisfied with the quality of this cruiseline.

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