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Old April 3rd, 2008, 08:41 AM
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Default Taking a chance on MSC

So I've read everything I could about MSC and despite some of the negatives I have booked the December 16th, 2008 transatlantic voyage of the Orchestra for my family of four.

I booked through an online agency that does a lot of their bookings and to whom my online request from MSCs website was forwarded. I was impressed that I received a call within 10 minutes of sending the information request. Knowing that things were not always what they should have been with MSC I asked the vacation planner if he would mind if we communicated by email to work out the main details. It was no problem for him. We ended up deciding on a category 3 cabin and with kids sailing free the total was $2680 including the fuel surcharge and all taxes for a 17 day voyage. I am absolutely thrilled. I also asked him specifically about kids programs and he told me he would ask the line directly and would email me back. Within 20 minutes he had forwarded me an email that indicated that on this voyage they would be running a full kids program and there were piles of things that are on their list of fun. The breakdown for activities appears similar to Carnival in many ways although we are well aware that there will be differences.

As a platinum guest with Carnival we were a little nervous about changing lines but the itinerary is perfect, with a minimum amount of lost school time for the kids(3 days) and a perfect combination of Europe and the Caribbean and the price is fantastic. The fact that the deposit was $200 for our whole family booking was awesome and far better than what Carnival was asking for a twelve day ($500 per person even when the 3rd and 4th were only $499). We've already got a cruise booked with carnival for the Spring of 2009 so we're not switching loyalties but I sure am excited about trying this new line.

I thought I would post so that others would know that there appears to be some positive with this company. I'm hoping that it continues but even if we have bumps we will all be together on a cruise ship and we will make the very best of 3 weeks spent together. I greatly respect Beenie Weanie as a poster and I'm disappointed that the line appears to have not treated her very well and I know that there are others who feel badly treated as well but at the same time I know that on our 2006 Destiny cruise on Carnival we had an absolutely horrible experience but I still go back to Carnival because I know that one negative can't paint an entire cruise line. Just like one very lousy Carnival PVP doesn't accurately represent the 200-300 other great ones. If this all turns out very badly for me I'll post and let you know so that I can be a warning to anyone else who wants to try MSC but hopefully I'll be posting good stuff as the line grows and gets even better at what it does.

Cheers!
Michelle
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Old April 3rd, 2008, 11:19 AM
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Michelle,

I'm glad to see more people trying MSC. We have been on oce cruise with them and have our second booked for next year. Since we went I have read about positive changes and are really looking forward to next spring.

From your post I am sure that you will find more positives than negatives about MSC.

We found one big positive was the attitude of all the crew. Even the maintance people that are seldom seen had smiles when ever around passengers. And when you have smiling and helpful crew you have a better cruise.
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Old April 3rd, 2008, 03:09 PM
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Hi Nancy,

Thanks for the response. It's important to see positive people. I really believe that it is what you make it but I have to admit if booking it had not gone smoothly I probably would have had some nagging doubts. My kids are pretty excited but are a little worried that the ship will be too "stuffy" for them but I think they will be okay.

If the crew is great that will go a long way with me. We love talking to the crew and meeting new friends and language issues don't normally bother any of us. I speak both english and french and I am now looking to learn a little italian before December.

WOOHOO I cannot believe I booked a transatlantic cruise and I will be off of work for almost a whole month, oh my, oh my. I hope it is great.
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Old January 7th, 2009, 07:43 PM
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kk i'm 14 and i just took a 17 day cruise across the atlantic...

nd i LUVED it!!

there were enough kids that they had a somewat form of a children's club!

as a teen on the other hand...we were kinda neglected lol...

as a teenager u can do wateva u want on the ship becuz the ship rely doesnt care...

i luved the ship becuz i met new friends and had fun...i'm always optomistic so im always going to enjoy the ship...

i did find a negative of the ship was the organisation of the younger crowd.

there was one boy from london of the age of 11 who managed to buy cigars n champagne from older passengers on the ship...

so he smoked in the TEEN AREA alot nd i thout it was kind of disgusting the crew didn't intervene...

u were allowed to smoke in the TEEN AREA nd nobody was eva there...

but i luvd the cruise and i only had one major problem...

THE PEOPLE!!

many ppl were negative about EVERYTHING in both the ship and the ports...don't worry about the reviews since i realised that the majority of ppl who went onto the ship had pessimistic attitudes who expected the whole world to revolve around them...

BON VOYAGE!!
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Old January 14th, 2009, 04:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hombre
your post is sad, indeed. don't they teach you how to write and spell these days -- guess not. wat kin isa??
Let's try to play nice. Is it really necessary to point out spelling and grammar issues? Those are the exact type of statements that people make on the other boards and their absence here is what makes this board friendlier. While I admit that I'm not crazy about receiving text messages and email from my own teenagers in the slang that they use I'm grateful that they communicate with me and that's far more important. I'd rather read a post that takes me a few seconds extra to decipher than one that makes someone else feel bad.
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Old January 23rd, 2009, 05:45 PM
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Hi 2Littletime I have never cruised MSC. What did you think of the cruise? How was the food? How was the Ship and crew? We did a transatlantic crossing on Carnival Freedom and really enjoyed it.
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Old January 23rd, 2009, 06:16 PM
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thanks kat
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Old January 23rd, 2009, 07:41 PM
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I haven't really had a chance to draft a full review yet, but as promised I will.

For the highlights (and some lowlights of course) here's a preview.

Food- We were never ever hungry. We ate incredible pasta dishes that were never lacking. Some of the other meals were quite bland but certainly were not anywhere close to being gross. Formal dinners were very long but once you got used to it, you focused more on conversation and the food came when it came. We did struggle with not having a mid afternoon grill available when you just wanted a snack and the fee for roomservice food was different once you've been pampered by Carnival. The roomservice food was just okay at best. I had prepared for the lack of snack food and had stocked up very well in Genoa preboarding and we replenished at every port. It was not what we were accustomed too, but it was not a deal breaker. Oh, and GELATO is totally awesome.

Language Barrier- Being fluent in French and English I was fairly competent that I would be able to cope. We did struggle with some basic communication with the room steward and at the purser's desk and we had a couple of issues with the kids staff, but nothing that would endanger lives or ruin the cruise. In fact, all announcements were made in English and were fairly easily understood despite the accent.

Fellow Cruisers- It was very European and as a Canadian from the Maritimes we are typically quite chatty and consider everyone a friend unless there is reason not to. The Europeans were not accustomed to this behaviour and as such we did encounter some folks that we considered were almost rude but really, not enough to ruin the cruise. The average age of the cruisers was in my opinion roughly 55. This was a little difficult to adjust to, but we made many great acquaintances.

Major Negatives----OH MY GOSH THE SMOKE!!! It appears that there is nowhere that you can go to breath just one clean breath. The air filtration system on the ship was not keeping up and we had to use towels around the door frames in an attempt not to die of smoke inhalation in our sleep. I know this seems like I must be exagerrating but I kid you not. I actually bagged one outfit that we wore out one evening in a double garbage bag and I sealed it until I could drop it at the drycleaner's in Fort Lauderdale. This issue alone could actually be a deal breaker for my husband on future cruises.

Kids Stuff- Surprisingly very good for our 9 year who came away with many penpals and lots of cool activities that related to each port of call. My teenager made do, but for the most part became my shadow, which was NOT what I had been looking forward to. Love her death but I had a date with a book and a deck chair and peace and quiet, not endless chatter and efforts to entertain a teenaged girl. They could have worked a little harder for that middle group.

Cabins- Lovely, I liked the extra drawer space in the night tables and we never had any issues with cleanliness or the amenities.

The Ship itself is stunning. There is nothing tacky or Las Vegas about this baby. It is a complete and total WOW.

Itinerary- Honestly, how do you screw up a transatlantic cruise with mutliple European and Caribbean stops? The itinerary alone might sway me into another trip despite the smoke issues. Again, the itinerary was second to none. It was spectacular. I had concerns about the transatlantic portion but we took games and books and other keep busy things with us and in all honesty we just really enjoyed our family, as a unit together on a trip of a lifetime. I can see where the unprepared would have had a long crossing, I was glad I read as much as I read before we left.

So the question everyone asks :would we cruise MSC again?" Probably for the right price and itinerary but not if the itinerary was the same as a Carnival Cruise. The nickel and dime for everything was frustrating and added substantial costs to our trip, and charging for water made me angry every time. Water in a jug should just be part of the fare, if you know what I mean.

Gosh, and here I was going to post 8 or 10 lines. Dang, I've written a book once again. Sorry
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Old January 23rd, 2009, 08:34 PM
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One thing I have learned about MSC is the water is charged for in europe and on TA's but there is no problem getting tap water in the Caribbean. MSC learned very quickly that American's and Canadian's will not pay for water when there is perfectly good water from the tap available.

Also on Caribbean only cruises the smoking problem is not so much as the majority of passesngers are American/Canadian. You will find the Europeans on Caribbean cruises smoking where they are not supposed to but it isn't too bad.
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Old January 23rd, 2009, 08:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nlb1050
One thing I have learned about MSC is the water is charged for in europe and on TA's but there is no problem getting tap water in the Caribbean. MSC learned very quickly that American's and Canadian's will not pay for water when there is perfectly good water from the tap available.

Also on Caribbean only cruises the smoking problem is not so much as the majority of passesngers are American/Canadian. You will find the Europeans on Caribbean cruises smoking where they are not supposed to but it isn't too bad.
They also learned that in the caribbean they also cannot charge for room service, apparently this is free on those routes as well.

I can only hope that the smoke situation is better in the Caribbean because really it was truly awful on the TA.

MSC is still new and I have no doubt that they will continue to make adjustments as they expand into the North American market.
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Old January 23rd, 2009, 09:31 PM
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Yes, I forgot about free room service in th Caribbean for the same reason as free water.
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Old January 23rd, 2009, 10:27 PM
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Thanks guys, the smoke would be an issue for us. The snack wouldn't be in fact it would help me not over eat. If I cruise this line I would need to look fro a Caribbean only cruise. I love pasta so that is a huge plus.
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