We too are on the verge of booking an MSC cruise for the spring. The lovely Mrs. Jones was born in Italy, and we were going to book a Costa but after reading the review of the Opera, and looking at the prices, I think I may give it a shot! Anyone have any suggestions?
Thanks in advance.
We give MSC a thumbs up. We sailed on the Lirica in May of this year on a transatlantic and we were very happy. If you check "Other Cruise Lines" on this message board, you will find a brief review that I posted.
Thanks for the great info on MSC. After hearing from you, and looking at yours, and the other reviews of the MSC ships, I think the booking is a must. We've been on lots of cruises, and are ready for something a little bit different, and this sounds like "just the ticket". Thanks again, and we'll let you know in the future just how it went.
I,ve just returned from a Western Med cruise on the Opera in October.
I thought it was very good value for money, with good food,service and entertainment.
It's a lovely ship and just the right size at 58,600 gt, not so big that you never see the friends you make twice.As long as they don't make too many changes for the North American market I think you'll be alright.
I just returned from a 7 night western caribbean on the Opera. It was quite interesting.
With it being a new ship, there is room for improvement. Very European.
The casino has a total of 30 slot machines. 3 blackjack tables. 2 roulettes.
Very small. Service was good. Food was average.
This is my "review" of the Armonia which I recently suffered through. I donīt have any first hand experience with other MSC ships, but I can state with great conviction that I would never take another MSC cruise because any company that could deliver such a poor product - such as the Armonia cruise I was just on - is untrustworthy .
If you are thinking of cruising MSC....STOP and reconsider.Better to take a drive!!
I disembrked the MSC Armonia today. We sailed 7 days from Rio to Salvador and back. For anyone thinking about booking on this line my advice is DON`T!
I have been on 35 cruises on most lines from Seabourne and Crystal to Orient HAL Carnival Celebrity RCCL etc. I am knowledgeable and do not regard my self as a snob. I have no axe to grind. This was by far the worst cruise I have ever been on in absolute terms and in terms of value.
An inside cabin cost me about $300 per day per couple. I can usually get outside cabins on Carnival Corp and RCCL companies for that price or lower.
Without regard to price, the food was horrendous. Only breakfast you can get from room service is a continental one of bread and coffee. Other room service came with a charge. Breakfast buffet was scrambled eggs only sometimes with reheated hot dogs and/or greasy bacon or other unappetizing cold cuts. Canned fruit except for melon; white toast only- forget english muffins or bagels. Juice is like koolaid. No omelets. No variety day after day.
Lunch buffet was not much better. Seemed like the food was recycled. Dessets were bad. They advertise pizza....for Italians they ought to be ashamed of what they call pizza. Hotdogs (with strange rolls)and hamburgers at the grill...cheese anyone , relish or a pickle anyone - forget it. Food handlers often were not wearing gloves. I got the runs my last day. In the buffet lines and grill there are no food trays so you must carry a large dish and put everything on it. Forget about service. The waiters are there to clear the tables, nothing else. My wife and played cards for 4 hours at a poolside table on deck one afternoon and were never once asked if we wanted a drink.The ice cream bar was closed - I was told it wasnt profitable.
Dinner in the dining room was BAD. Service was marginal at best (can I please have a choice of salad dressing or must it always be oil and vinegar? - ever consider asking me if I wanted to exchange that plate I hadnīt touched?), but not as bad as the food itself. Pasta was served everyday , and with the identical mundane tomato sauce! Breadstick and roll ordinary - no bread tray. Soups all tasted same no matter what they were called. Over salted food. Meat as tough as shoe leather. Fish with scales not all removed. Some plates were downright inedible. My tablemates concurred.
Entertainment...the dance group were okay dancers, but the production values of the shows were poor. Costumes, lighting , props and decor all amatuerish. Music in the lounges was very limited and ordinary at best. No library or card room to speak of. On last day library was open 1 hour. It consists of about 2 feet of english paperbacks probably left behind by passengers. One spanish language scrabble set.
Tv in the rooms advertised pay movies.Thet were not operable in any language.Not much programming though we did get CNN for a while one day.The shops kept limited hours , but that was no problem as there wasnt tthat much offered.
The pool was always crowded because on this So American run there were/are loads of kids...to whom I have no objection. Just that it was noisy and crowded.
Embarkation ...donīt ask. We somehow got left off the passenger list. A friendly land agent of MSC ( I later learned) who didnt want to recognize his affiliation told me to go F my self as we frantically tryed to convince MSC staff we had indeed paid for this fiasco ( had I known what was in store I would have happily stayed ashore). When I complained to MSC management (after boarding and in a detailed written memo ) I was told they would get back to me. No apology was forthcoming.
As usual on many occasions the cabin attendant provided the best and in this case the only decent service. An oasis in a sea of incomptence and poor quality.
There has to be a better way to spend your money. MSC started as a freight moving line. I predict that they will get out of the passenger business in a couple of years. They will not be able to sell their product to or in the north american market...and I canīt see europeans forking over cash for this product when there are other options.
My husband and I were aboard the Opera for 7 days out of Ft. lauderdale Dec 4 thru 11. Our experience was much the same as Babyzino's results (above) on another ship. The service was very bad, and dinner was so slow we missed the show each night- over 2 hours for a mediocre meal. Often scheduled events were late or not held at all. The lifeboat drill was a joke- no one ever did a roll call, and it took way too long, as everything was announced in 5 different languages. This was our second cruise, Norwegian being the other, and I felt that, though the price was low, it was no real bargain, since the service was so bad, the food not that great, and the attitude sometimes snotty and careless. I watched a deckhand fling a wet mop OVER people's sandalled feet one morning as they stood in a breakfast buffet line! At one of our ports, we arrived at 7 pm and left at 2 am- so much for sight seeing. In another port, the dock was being overhauled, so all the businesses had shut down in the towm. Spend a bit more and get a company who has built a reputation already and can offer you some real service.
we just got back from the MSC OPERA on 1/29/05 sailing.
A very beautiful clean ship. It was nice to have such a new clean ship , new linens
Pasta dishes, bread. ship design, no art auctions, gold by the inch, watches for 19.99., bargain buys at a gift shop ( very easy to get around shops , not crowded and disorganized and had unique things)
no hassles getting on or off the ship, very organized. you can bring on your own liquior if desired. plenty of eating options. entertainment was excellent ( saw the best show the next to last night ( I have been on 42 cruises and it was the best!)
embarkation and debarkation very organized
alot of storeage in cabin.
nice public rooms, great music in lounges.
no hassles to buy drinks at t he pool
the animation team was very active, though I prefer to relax and not get involved they didn involve the passengers in activities.
food not very good and often cold at the buffets.
you served yourself which is fine, but I saw so many people with poor hygiene ie touching the food with their hands, and not just the pieces they wanted but pieces they were leaving for others. reaching in and handling food.(apparently didn't hear of cruise ship illnesses)
service staff were not very attentive except for our dining room and cabin steward.( who were excellent)
for example : I was carrying my food from buffet, waiter did not open door for me and when a passenger did to let me go by, another waiter dodged me and went in before me almost making me drop the plate.
did n't like at the omlet station being asked' what do you want' as if I was disturbing them.
cost of pictures: 19.95 for a 5 X 7 seemed abit high to me.
room size small but was ok by me if if we had to either put your chair in hall or on its side under the vanity. the shower extremely small, ( cant turn around or bend over)
My sister and I are just returning from the Eastern cruise. I have been on many cruise ships over the past 15yrs. On a scale of 1-10 I would personally rate this as a 1 or 2. This is why? The ship is new and nice but compared to others lines there is much to be desired. We listened to latin music 24/7. We did not have a choice of clubs as they were all Latin music. Excursions were of horror, considering that the normal ship provides 15-25 to choose from this cruise we had 3-5 to choose from. Notice on there web site that no excursions are listed ( there is a reson for this). We were told as we neared our 1st port of San Juan that due to the seas we would not be able to port for an additional 3 hours. We sat for 3 hours in the water until 9:30pm. The water was calm during this time frame, most everything was closed when we arrived. When we ported in St. Thomas, we were on the back side of the island docked beside a tanker. All other ships were docked on the front side of St. Thomas. St Croix excursions were also of bad timing. We arrived at 7a.m (when everything opens at 9am) and we left port at 2pm. As we talked with other Americans concerrning the Opera, we all came to the same answer. We would not take another MSC cruise line. Food was also of poor taste and quality. I found many of the waitresses and desk attendents to be rude. The price was cheaper for us and in the end we got what we paid for. In the future I will pay the additional fee and cruise with a line that appreciates Americans being on there ship.
I would pay the extra and take a cruise that has better quality, less rudeness, and a line that understands what Americans are looking for. MSC cruise lines is not for children and unless you enjoy the Italian lifestyle then this ship is NOT for you. Worst cruise I have taken in the past 15yrs.
My husband and I just returned from the 7-night Southern Caribbean cruise on the Opera. We went with high hopes, since this was a new ship and my husband's family is of Italian lineage. I knew going in that the cabins were smaller than some other lines, but this was not ultimately a factor. (Would have been nice to see these stats in black and white, had to make a phone call). Embarkation was smooth, but from then on we had to decide to enjoy it for the good points, and watch out when booking future cruises. Food service on this ship is nothing like what Americans have come to know on other cruise lines. Even excusing the fact that eating does not have to be a 24-hour experience, the quality of the breakfast and lunch fare was only medium at best. Dinner in the restaurants was better, but the service was poor. The noise level in the restaurant was also nearly unbearable, and made conversation with table mates almost impossible at some points. Timing of port call at San Juan eliminated any sightseeing possibilities, but other than the inconvenience of being docked away from the main port at St. Thomas, that port call went very well. St. Croix was another early call, but the facilities at St. Croix are the detractor here, not the beautiful island itself. We did not avail ourselves of the short excursions, but the choices appeared adequate to us. The crew of this ship was not friendly if you compare to other ships where the entire crew is from one country (i.e., Indonesia, possibly the friendliest people on earth). They did not seem to have any direction as to the level of passenger comfort that they might be expected to provide. The theater entertainment was a little subpar, but the activities staff was enjoyable. Pictures were expensive, and many were left due to the poor shots. We both agree that if allowances were made for the differences in culture the cruise itself was not that bad. However, I would not sail on this line again when so many other choices are available where better results are almost certainly guaranteed. A closing note, most of the other passengers overheard or those who were quite vocal seemed to be more dissatisfied than we. Several talked to management while aboard ship to voice their complaints. Five stars to cabin attendant, it was not her fault that cleaning carts were in the narrow hallways at all times of the day and night.
It is just amazing how everyone either loves or absolutely hates this cruise line. I found it to be absolutely horrible. I have been in Celebrity, RCL, NCL and Princess and MSC doesnt even come close to any of those lines in almost every area. I just wonder if the people who praise this line have anything to compare it to? I am not a real particular person, very easy to please. I was just astounded at the poor quality of service and food on this cruise line. Having travelled to Italy 4 times, once for an exteneded 6 week trip, I can tell you with a great degree of confidence that the food in Italy is nothing like what I experienced on this ship. As for the ports of call, the timing of arriving and departing ports is something that is within the control of the cruise line. They pay fees for docking and MSC is just too cheap to pay the higher fees involved in getting the premium time slots and spaces.
Sadly after 17 days aboard the superb MSC Opera we had to disembark !
We are still suffering the withdrawal symptons as every moment of every day was so memorable..
The service was outstanding and the food very good indeed. Sea food, Prime Ribs, Lamb all perfect in preparation service and quality. Pastas, Risottos, Breads and rolls to die for.
Yes we had one incidence of gross rudeness - but would we let that spoil an entire cruise experience? No way!!
We have already booked MSC Opera for the transatlantic sailing Fort Lauderdale to Venice April 2006.
Thinking of booking MSC Monteray for July - with 2 teenage boys - itinerary looks good - greek isles, egypt etc. - I am concerned at the earlier comments on this cruise line and yet encouraged bythe latest of Barrydan - any comments would be most welcome - thanks, Linda
Linda - If you would like to e-mail then please do so and I will do all I can to help.
At this moment would say that Monterey is one of the older "classic" ships. Nothing like the large modern liners of today. It has a very dedicated following and thus hard to obtain bookings and it is more expensive that many other options.
MSC may not be the best line in the world for teenagers (perhaps especially Monterey)
but if you went during the European School Holiday season you will find many families with teenagers of diverse nationalities. However if your boys are the kind that can entertain themselves and make their own interests and enjoy other cultures and the ports with their history then it could still work out.
No, no no I I started acruise in Veniice and had some really nice ports of call But the ships food is not good, very mediocere. I have been on carnival and the food is much much better. The entertainent on the Opera was good. They close donw all the food places after 9. I got sich about 4th day into the cruise , saw the ships dr, who failed to notice that I had a ruptured bowel , all t they did was give me suppositiors and didnt even suggest getting me off the ship and home . I spent 3 days in the cabin unable to move. They have a sorry excuse for dr. I got home and had immediate surgery to save my life. Plese dont give them a try, It is not worth the money you might save Jan
Definitely! I agree with Barry dan.
We have sailed on Celebrity, Princess, Carnival and HAL as well as the Lirica on its transatlantic route this May. What a bargain! Food was definitely its weak point (but not for quantity) from a North american perspective ie the meats were not the best quality. The pasta, though, was great, (as vouched for by our tablemates who raved about it every day) and the fresh fruit was the best of any cruise line we have seen. there was even a server cutting it fresh on demand by the pool every day. Desserts were a disappointment and we found that lunch in the dining room was better than the buffet (and different) Presentation and service were not quite up to the standards of the other lines but...
The staff try really hard and the ship is immaculate(it received a rating of 100% from the health and safety reviewers)
How hard do they try? the Maitre d' when informed of a companion's dietary requirements apologized because they didn't have the ingredients on board to make the dessert he desired that night, but said they would pick them up at the next port and serve him the following night (They did)
The cruise director, when he heard that one of the passengers(a chef) was too seasick to attend the galley tour with the rest of us, took him on a personal tour.
One of the guest relations people gave us Italian lessons for 4 days to better prepare us for disembarking
And the entertainment was fabulous and refreshing! We had 17 days without repeats! And all shows were presented in 5 languages! Instead of the usual Vegas style show, we had flamenco dancers and a talking basset hound. The musicians on board were awesome. On most ships there is only one group that appeals to us, but on this ship we liked them all. and there was a lot of danceable music.
there was just so much energy on board. the ship had an entertainment team of about 10 young folk in their 20's who bounced around night and day encouraging passengers to participate in trivia contests, sports events and dancing. they were the best on any line--BY FAR! They even encouraged over 20 passengers to take part in the talent show (not a contest--they awarded all prizes) The show took place at 11:30pm and lasted almost an hour--the theatre was packed!
IT was fun and we would definitely go again. We much preferred it to our cruise onHAL (and it cost us 1/3 the price!)
we have just got back from a 7-night cruise in msc lirica. overall we share the complaints made in this forum. msc is a waste of money and time.
it is more like a ferry going from place to place picking up people. at each stop
rome-messina-tunis etc people disembarked and new one embarked. Is this typical of a cruise?
Shelley Jean I would love to know on which of the ships you sailed as your experience is so different to ours. We have enjoyed superb food and totally professional service on each of the MSC ships on which we have cruised.
Just a few weeks ago a friend from Florida who is a respected Travel Agent and a very experienced cruise sailed on Sinfonia. It was a first MSC experience. Apart from an issue with children during the summer holidays she had such a fabulous time that she has now booked 300 customers onto the Opera in the Caribbean in 2006. That truly is an endorsement as these are clients who are very important to her!
we sailed on the MSC Lirica from FT. lauderdale to Genoa this May. It was wonderful! The food was perhaps not as good as that on some other ships (although the pasta and fresh fruit was undoubtedly the best ever), but the ship was clean and bright. The entertainment team was so far above any other we have experienced on Carnival, Princess, or Celebrity that you can't even compare them. a group of about 15 young people were on deck from 7am until about 2. they ran everything from aerobics classes to trivia contests, sports events, dance lessons, and "pub" entertainment in the evenings. The entertainment and music throughout the trip had a definite european flair--quite different from the usual Broadway shows. Very refreshing! There was a late night buffet every night. the crew was wonderful --they all spoke at least 5 languages and went abobe and beyond to serve eg. one of our tablemates requested specific food becuase of health issues. the maitre d' explained that they couldn't comply immediately because they didn't have the ingredients on board, but they would purchase same at the next port. They did! And the concoction was delivered the next evg. If you have specific questions, i would be glad to answer. We definitely would cruise with them again!