My soon to be very short relationship with MSC Cruises,
I entered with an open mind that MSC was neither better or worse than any other cruise line, but it was just different. Well it has certainly been different. I did my homework. Read all the reviews I could get my hands on, went to their website and finally found a nice 18 day transatlantic cruise leaving from Genoa and ending in Fort Lauderdale.
I called my TA and she went to work getting me pricing. She called back a while later and I told her to go ahead and book it. My sister was interested in booking the same cruise but wanted a suite,so she called MSC directly they informed her none of the suites were quads, then she asked how much for a category 10 which happened to be the same category we chose, well the price just happened to be $700 less if you booked directly with MSC. My sister went ahead and requested a courtesy hold on that cabin under my name. So now I have two bookings, one is deposited and booked through my TA and the other is on courtesy hold and booked directly with the Cruise Line.
I call my TA and inform her for some reason MSC is charging me $700 more when booking through her, than if I call them directly. We are both pretty annoyed by this. She's frustrated for obvious reasons and I am ticked because I really love my TA and dont like seeing her get hosed by a cruise line. Not to mention the fact they are trying to relieve me $700 of my hard earned money. I immediately email Rick Sasso, President of MSC.
In the meanwhile my TA is contacting MSC to try and find out why they are basically undercutting her. They have no explanation. Then they are determined to make life as difficult as possible for us. They refuse to change the price on the deposited reservation, forcing us to cancel the first booking and then wait for their accounting people to transfer the deposit over to the new booking, then we have to transfer that reservation over to my Travel Agent, which took three faxes and 4 phone calls to follow up and ensure they got the paperwork. Because they refused to take a verbal order to move the reservation over to my TA like every other cruise line on the planet would have. Everytime I would call to confirm they got the faxes the guy on the phone would inform me how busy he was and that he would call me back sometime... After dealing with the lunatics running the asylum at MSC I am contacted by one of Rick Sasso's "people" This gal has no business working in any form of customer service. She had an attitude and a very unprofessional manner. She was reluctant to take ownership for any of the negative things that had transpired and made lots of very poorly thought out excuses. She then told me that she had taken care of moving the reservation over and transferring the reservation over to my TA which was BS, because my TA and I spent the better part of the day doing it ourselves, because no one at MSC would care for the situation they created without making us jump through all sorts of hoops.
At this point I am really starting to wonder if this is the sort of company I want to do business with. I exchanged a few emails with someone claiming to be Rick Sasso, I'm not sure if it was really him or someone responding to the MSC's hate mail that day. He claimed that MSC would never try to undercut a TA and it was some sort of pricing glitch /error etc... which I don't understand and no one was really able to explain it to me. I asked for copies of the kid's program dailies on a transatlantic itinerary and a floorplan or photo's of the room we were staying in, since it is what is referred to as a "family cabin and there are only two of them on this ship, and they do not have anything that really shows you the layout of the cabin on their own website. I also requested pricing on a another cruise in May 2009 which is advertised on their website, but when you called for pricing, it wasn't avalable. Rick Sasso (I think, a least that's who he claimed to be) emailed and promised me his minion Ms. Badittude would be following up with me on the requested information. Well days pass by with no word from anyone, so I dropped him a note asking when he thought I might be hearing from them. I then get an email from Ms. Badittude explaining that she was still trying to get the pictures of the cabin and the kid's club dailies for the transatlantic and she would be in touch the first of the following week which would have been the week of January 7th. Well on the 11th I email asking for an update since I still hadn't heard anything, no response. Then on the 14th, I basically said hey you must have enough business that you obviously don't need mine etc.. Then I get another email from Rick Sasso claiming that Clare is trying to get a copy of the kid's club dailies Transatlantic itinerary from their home office in Italy.
So finally yesterday I get an email that says: Attached please find photos of the family cabin onboard the Lirica and an example of the kid's program for a transatlantic sailing. OK I am no geography whiz but since when is Port Everglades, Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, St. Lucia, Antigua, Tortola and the Dominican Republic considered a Transatlantic cruise? And why if she is in Miami did she need to contact Italy for that? I did get the pictures of the cabin and it was nice and roomy enough.
Ok now here's the kicker, They finally give my TA the pricing for the May 2009 cruise I asked about. If you go their website, and on any of their correspondence, even the emails I had gotten from Ms. Badittude it says in big bold letters: ASK ABOUT OUR SPECIAL $100 DEPOSIT OFFER: ALL SHIPS, ALL SAILINGS, ALL ITINERARIES!
So then we come to find out this promotion ended at the end of the year, but they're still advertising it and not honoring it.
This was an amazing odyssey. I doubt very much that I will hang on to this reservation too terribly long.
Yes that's not a problem! I am considering what other cruise line I want to piss off and annoy next. I made a reservation at a Villa in Italy for the week precruise, but its early enough I can change it to a different week if needed.
Truthfully I am considering RCCL, Maybe even Carnival Splendor, NCL Jade possibly. The one thing about NCL, I like the variety of places to eat, but I really dislike how they run the kid's club on port days, very inflexible and it was even worse on the Pearl last month than the other two NCL cruises we went on. I never have a problem with Carnival, or RCCL's kid's Clubs and they have supper clubs on the newer ships.
I don't know enough about HAL's or Celebrity to know if they have good kid's programs or not these days.
Here's a tidbit of trivia for you, Rick Sasso who is the president of MSC, is the former head honcho of Celebrity, hard to believe.
If any business treated me in this manner BEFORE I actually transacted my business with them, I think I'd cut off the relationship immediately. No matter how good a "deal" these cruises seem to be, I'd be too afraid of "surprises" once onboard.
I'd simply take my money elsewhere. There are other deals to be had.
From our experience the multitude of restaraunts on NCL seemed so inviting.
The only problem was we could not get into most of them.
The "Free Style" concept does not really work and just added stress to our cruise.
When we sailed HAL years ago my nephews (10 and 12) were split on the kids program. My 14 year old son would not even go,
Peace through superior firepower.
Hey Rinker, thanks for being a wonderful sounding board. I had Nancy go ahead and cancel the reservation today. I also had a really nice discussion with a gent from NCL's corporate office today who kindly called to take care of a few customer service issues that resulted in them cancelling my booking, which never should have been cancelled, and to rebook now would have meant higher prices, fuel surcharges and all that rot. So they took ownership and did their best to make it right. So it looks like I going to be doing a Transatlantic on the Jade with them instead of MSC. Let's hope all goes well and we dont have any more issues.
That sounds great, beenie!!!
We had a nice cruise on NCL's Pearl.
The only negatives were the food and cabin air quality.
I understand there is an attempt to improve the food fleet-wide and the air should definitely not be a problem on the Atlantic ocean.
Peace through superior firepower.
We were on the Pearl at the end of November. We never had a bad meal, but I have a strategy for dining on NCL that works well for me. I avoid buffets like the plague except on the mornings we don't get up and moving in time to have breakfast in the dining rooms and then I try to keep it simple, have a bagel and cream cheese, some fresh fruit stuff like that. I did have an omellette and that was good. For lunch we go to the dining room and really enjoy that. Dinner we go to the speciality restaurants and try to hit them all at least once. The reservation policy stinks to say the least and is about as "anti-freestyle" as one can get, but what are you going to do? They also just eliminated concierge service from the list of perks afforded to mini suite guests. I had originally booked a mini suite for this cruise because I really found the concierge to be a great benefit, but I can save $2000 by downgrading to an oceanview. So that is what I booked the second time around. I think they may realize they are being penny wise and pound foolish in this regard.
What was wrong with the cabin air quality? Too many smokers around? I did find that sometimes when we had our bacony door open it created a kind of windtunnel effect, and when our neighbors would be smoking on the balcony it was sometimes pretty intense. but aside from that, the only issue we encountered were lazy Kid's Club workers that couldn't be bothered to work on port days. All in all it was a good cruise, just a few minor hiccups.
I guess "quality" was the wrong word.
We were in the Carribean and just could not cool the cabin down.
We had a balcony but that did us no good because outside was where the heat was!!!
The AC was just worthless. Closing the curtain to keep out the sun did not help much.This problem was throughout the ship from the villas down. Many of us commiserated over this.
Sweating while sleeping just sucked.
You are right about wind tunnel!!! More than once I chased our crap down the passageway if I opened the cabin door when the slider was open.
Peace through superior firepower.
you really should try to relax a little. if you're this amped up 11 months before your trip; i can only imagine what it's like when you're actually on vacation.
this issue seems to be solvable. if the price to book directly with the cruise line is $700 less, then book directly with the cruise line to obtain this pricing. let reservations know that you are planning on cancelling the reservation that was made with the travel agent and you would like to tranfer this new reservation to the travel agent. the cruise line is not going to go out of their way to make it a bad experience.
best of luck in finding a cruise line that can meet all of your expectations.
have you thought about any of the following itineraries:
seabourn pride sailing from lisbon on october 30th
seabourn legend sailing from malaga on november 8th
crystal serenity sailing from lisbon on november 21st
Steve, I don't know who you are, I do notice this is your first post here. So you think it is normal to be overcharged by $700? Do you think it is normal for a cruise line to charge one price to a client that books directly and another for someone who utilizes an agent? I can tell you my agent thought it was a huge deal! My agent also appreciated the fact that I was loyal to her and basically advocated for her and the fact I didn't just dump her to get the cheaper price. You obviously didn't read the portion of my post about us trying to do exactly what you suggested cancelling the original booking, transferring the second one to the TA etc.. But the bottom line is that MSC claims to value TA's and also claims not to penalize clients who use a TA or undercut the TA. IF that is truly the case the pricing issue should never have happened and when the "mistake" was caught, they should have done a better job caring for the problem THEY created.
Most reputable companies when they discover an error go out of their way to try and make amends and correct the error. Instead MSC created more hurdles and obstacles for us to ovecome due to their error.
Do you think it is normal for someone who works in the Cruise Line's executive office to not know the difference between a Caribbean itinerary and a Transatlantic?
Do you really think it is OK to advertise a promotion after it has expired and then refuse to honor it?
If these issues were easily cleared up, then I wouldn't be posting about it here now would I?
Our family cruises on varied lines 2-3 times per year and I have never seen anything like this on any cruise line, ever.
While you imply my standards are too high, I would say you need to expand your horizons and raise your own standards. I would suggest that if you think this is an acceptable way for a company to conduct business, feel free to give them your money, they are not going to get mine.
You are telling me I need to relax a little? Does that mean I should let them relieve me of $700 of my money? I don't think so. Let them take yours, but their not getting mine.
The two other people who posted on this thread are seasoned cruisers and neither felt this was an acceptable way to conduct business and advised me to RUN!!! Why would anyone invite a cruise line to treat them like crap? If you enjoy giving a company thousands of dollars and have them take a dump on you, I would invite you to please book a cruise with MSC.
Please don't think I(we) have a grudge due to the staff or company headed by MSC Lirica cruises. We dont.
We are AVID cruisers and our family has been on thirteen cruise lines and over 90 ports of call.
Read VERY carefully the posts which are dedicated to LIRICA. As the majority of them are negative for a reason.
We understand that LIRICA is a new pattern for the European ship to the US, and seriously took that into consideration.
You will not enjoy any part of this cruise! You will have more fun paying someone to murder you.
This is by far the WORST cruise experience ever.
This is and was the general concensus of 90% of the ships 2200 passengers. It was almost as if it was just a repositioning of the ship as there was ZERO music by the pool on any day. Even at sea. The food is terrible if you're lucky enough to find any. Literally, there are hours out of the day you cannot get any food.
One day the rude idiot staff members (entertainment) yelled at an old handicap man that was playing sit down volleyball with other bored passengers, because he couldnt understand italian when she told him to switch sides. YELLED AT HIM!
At dinner (disgusting), the rude idiots (all men) will not give you water or anything you ask for, and will bump into your chairs at least 50 times per seating. We were so sick of the crap they fed us, that we decided to just order room service which consisted of three things. We figured they cant f*** up a tuna sandwich, we were wrong. Because a dried out peice of leftover dinner roll was filled with half of a white onion and the amount of tunafish was no bigger than your thumb nail. We took a digital picture of the filling and sent it to Mr. Sasso (director and CEO of MSC cruises) to show him what "EXTRA TUNA ON THE SANDWICH" looked like.
We all thought about tossing our asses overboard on day 4, because it would be more fun.
I could go on for hours about this nightmare, but I've already wasted money, and not to mention time on writing this post.
I am absolutely not kidding when I say, email me at Capman69@Juno.com, and I and my other 11 companions from the cruise will gladly reply and even take your phone call to help you out of this mess called LIRICA. If you have already paid and cannot get your money back, bring a walkman and some sleeping pills to get you through between ports. I feel for you though.
My name is Chris, we are all between 38 and 68 and the nicest group of people you'd ever want to meet. However, the staff and entire experience turned us all into swearing, cussing, upset asses.
PLEASE, Pretty please with sugar on top...DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY ON THIS CRUISE!!!
Check the other posts and websites dedicated DIRECTLY to the horrendous experiences others have also had to endure because of MS LIRICA.
We welcome your emails or calls!
Dr. Chris Capman
P.S. Miserable Hell Cruise- December 14, 2008 - December 21, 2008 (half of us got off at FTL port, half way through the itinerary as did over 2 hundred others, they couldnt take it either).
By the way, they will rip you off and take $32 a day per stateroom PER DAY for tips. 32x7= $224 for the worst service you have ever witnessed. The line at the pursers office (accounting) at the end of the cruise, there were over 700 people in line for 6 hours opting to remove all tips and pay nothing.
Maybe that's why the staff is so rude. No wait, it was only the second time LIRICA was in the states. Weird.
One benefit to this Cruise-You will find out the hard way where the bottom of the cruise industry is. Next cruise, even if it's Carnival will seem like you're a billionaire in Shagri La.
I would not have believed your story if I had not experienced MSC corporate's lack of customer service already. I am quite certain I would have dismissed your post as eing from someone who was delusional or had a bad cse of sour grapes over something. I am so glad I saved myself 18 days of that hell!
My favorite line of the entire post:
"You will not enjoy any part of this cruise! You will have more fun paying someone to murder you"
I would take Capman's post with a big grain of salt. He posted the same thing on 3 other posts, that is his total 4 posts (all the exact same wording).
When we were on the Lirica I never saw a single crew member rude to anyone. In fact as much as we thought you couldn't get better staff than on Princess the staff on Lirica did top Princess.
True there is no band playing at the pool they are just past the pool area where people definitely were dancing to them.
I understand why you decided not to cruise with MSC and probably for your family MSC is not the right line, just as NCL is not the right line for my husband an me. But even though we did not like,enjoy our NCL cruise I stated at the end of my review "Overall we were not impressed with NCL and would not recommend to our friends, but that is something that each person/couple needs to decide on their own. I would not discourage someone I don't know not to try NCL. "
Caribbean Trip Reports
Star Princess 2005, Sun Princess 2005
Caribbean Princess 2006, MSC Lirica 2006 , NCL Pearl 2007, Majesty of the Seas 2008, Carnival Destiny 2008, MSC Lirica 2009, Carnival Valor 2009,Carnival Legend 2010, Carnival Liberty 2010,Carnival Fantsay 2011,Carnival Valor Feb 2012, MSC Poesia Dec 2012, MSC Poesia April 2013, Carnival Legend Nov 2013, MSC DIVINA Jan 2014, MSC Divina Oct 2014