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Old February 17th, 2009, 09:17 AM
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Default MSC Orchestra 2/7 - 2/14 Perfectly fine small issues

Just got back from sailing on the Orchestra Cruise of irish stars.

To start I will say this I'm a very picky eater and never went hungry unless I wanted to. The portions were abit small so I usually ended up ordering 2 main courses as I didn't like many of the appetizers or soups in the main dining rooms. My family and I always had breakfast and lunch in the buffet and I loved it if you or your kids prefer hotdogs or hamburgers and french fries go to the further back buffet on deck 13 keep walking its where its decor is darker wood rather than the light white marble as most people just walk in and get online not thinking there is more further back and the view from the balcony during breakfast WOW!!

Secondly I will say dresscode is totally upto you although as many will say its nice to get dressed up once in awhile. You will not be shut out of dinner on Gala night if your not in a suit shirt with or without a tie is fine too. However if your in a tshirt and shorts which is possible to get away with but not suggested you will look out of place in the dining rooms but the buffet is casual the entire week. Personally I was still hungry after gala night meals and went to the buffet after and cracked up at how many people were in tux eating pizza and or hotdogs hamburgers because the food in the restaurants wasn't filling enough while sitting next to big guys in speedos.

Entertainment was one of the issues with this cruise. Personally I was with a group Andy cooney cruising with irish stars which took over half the ship with irish entertainment leaving the other half of the ship with the ships entertainment. Over the course of the week the irish entertainment overpowered the ships being that we paid higher prices for the entertainment so we were all in 1st seating and our shows in the theater happened after we finished eating at 8pm. The rest of the ship had 2nd seating and their shows didn't start until roughly 10pm. I found that MSC did not tell anyone on the ship that wasn't connected with the irish group that we were onboard and most were very upset and understandably so. I however went to both the irish and the regular shows and found the ships first show midnight in paris to be rather good although some adult themes with man dressed as a woman and about 8 girls dancing in skimpy thongs and bikini tops so parents may not want kids sitting in the front rows but otherwise not bad. the 2nd and 3rd nights shows weren't as good opera and piano but the final 2 nights were very good especially singing under the moon.
The entertainment team on the ship was very nice although I will warn women some of the guys especially a tall thin young guy does like to manhandle women sitting on laps and pretending to make out although he may not be on the ship long as he was being repremanded as we were disembarking due to his actions with some of the older ladies onboard but the games they played at the pool were very good as long as people were willing to have fun and get alittle silly especially husbands and wives.

As for physical aspects of the ship as many said its very clean always someone around every corner cleaning something. The ship does shake abit and in the back is very loud all the way up to the top decks. My cabin was in the front 10050 handicapped cabin as I'm in a wheelchair and I didn't really hear anything except in the morning the carts for the cleaning people in the secret hallway for crew only banging around or the wind from people who had outside cabins leaving their balcony doors open very loud whistle. The movement of the ship wasn't too bad just felt like a small child was jumping on the bed.

The biggest issue I had on this ship was getting off at ports Keywest cozumel and Georgetown Grand cayman. Keywest was the easiest although took the longest as you dock at the navy base and have to wait for a trolley to take you from the dock into town even though its only about 200 yard walk off the base which I wheeled but after getting to the guard gate ordered back to wait for the trolley as expected. In cozumel it was nice got off the ship went down the pier with my family and right into town. We went right across the street to a tourist booth and asked if we could get a taxi to give us a basic tour of the island and within minutes we were in a private van nice AC and on our way for $100 for 3 people for a 2 hour tour which really took 2 1/2 hours because we stopped at some beaches and a restaurant bar to take pictures. Georgetown wasn't great mostly tourist trap shops after getting off the tender which was a fun little ride of 20 minutes both ways. My mom and rest of the group went to 7mile beach spending $4 both ways didn't bother with the $45 excursion that took you to the same place but also given a chair which as my mom put it needed a good cleaning with 30 gallons of clorox. I went the other way and found a small beach about a mile away on the right of the pier and had a grand time swimming and looking at the fish and lizards walking around.

All in all I'd do a cruise on MSC again anytime.
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Old February 18th, 2009, 09:00 AM
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Thank you for the update on your trip. We sail this weekend and plan on enjoying every minute. It is so nice to hear positives instead of all the negatives one usually hears.
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Old February 18th, 2009, 04:37 PM
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Thanks so much for posting your review. It is an honest account of the good and the bad and it is very much appreciated. I was waiting to hear some reviews about the Caribbean route so that I could compare it to our transatlantic and decide if we wanted to try another MSC. How was the smoking on this particular trip?
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