Year Started: 1987
Ships in Fleet: 12
Summary: A pan-European mainstream cruise line that competes with Costa. New, massive ships with decent food and entertainment, Look for bargains in Caribbean.
Regions:Mediterranean, Western Mediterranean, Transatlantic
Good for: Foodies. Seniors. First-time Cruisers.
Regions:Caribbean, Mediterranean, Transatlantic
Good for: Group. Value for Money. Families.
Good for: Children`s Programs. Families. Foodies.
Good for: Foodies. Families. Group.
Regions:Mediterranean, Western Mediterranean, Scandinavia/Northern Europe, Transatlantic
Good for: Children`s Programs. Group. Families.
Good for: Foodies. Children`s Programs. Families.
Good for: Foodies. Group. Families.
Regions:Mediterranean, Scandinavia/Northern Europe, South America, Transatlantic
Good for: Foodies. Children`s Programs. Families.
Regions:Southern Caribbean, Mediterranean, Scandinavia/Northern Europe, South America
Good for: Foodies. Children`s Programs. Families.
Regions:Mediterranean, South America, Transatlantic
Good for: Foodies. First-time Cruisers. Families.
Regions:Caribbean, Mediterranean, Scandinavia/Northern Europe, Transatlantic
Good for: Value for Money. Foodies. Group.
Regions:Africa, Mediterranean, Transatlantic
Good for: Foodies. Group. Families.
This review will be very short.
Embarkation: Very rapid. Arrived at approximately 12:30PM. Obtained a wheelchair for wife and was checked in and onboard within 20 minutes.
Cabin: Outside with about 140SqFt of space. Adequate storage space for hanging and drawers with shelves. Beds kept as twins since by moving them together would take up too much floor space. Large Safe easy to operate. Shower nice arranged but no enough upper shelf storage. Large under sink storage. Shower was nice except it was way too small. Door lock was easy to operate with the sign and sail card. Television was small and did NOT have an AV plug in to view digital Pictures.
Sign and Sail card had imprinted the Cabin Number on it. To me this is a security violation. If anyone lost the card anyone finding it would be able to enter your Cabin.
Food: IMO the food was NOT good. Many dishes were overcooked. The menu selections were limited and it was not prepared as I thought it should be. The lobster entre was prepared with head and tail together. I did not like it.
Service: Service was excellent. The waiterswere prompt, attentive and polite. Your continous request were honored and waiting for us as we entered the dining room. We were seated at a table for 4 but no one showed up to dine with us. We requested to have company at dinner but none was provided.
Décor of ship: The arrangement of the facilities were excellent. They were adequately decorated and very nice. There were only one deck which you could not go from bow to stern and that was deck 5 where one of the dining rooms were located.
Cleanliness of Ship: All areas were in excellent condition. Cleanest ship we have cruised on.
Entertainment: The shows were very good. The started promptly on schedule. Most programs only lasted for about 45 minutes. Since we ate at 8:15 it would give us 30 minutes before dinner. The shows could have been longer.
Daily Programs: The programs were very hard to read. If you wish to find a certain activity you would have to search all over for it. IMO activities should be listed by time of day so that could be followed.
Dress: Of the 11 day cruise there were only 3 casual days. All the rest was Informal or Formal. IMO there should have been more casual. A large percentage of passengers ignored the notices.
Languages: Since this was an Italian ship most of the activities were run in European languages. Each time and announcement was made it was made in 5 languages, French, Spanish, German, Italian and English. Very annoying to me. But this is an Italian ship and we knew it.
Vacating the Cabin on debarkation. They listed in the instructions that they wished everyone to be completely out of the cabin by 7 AM. This was entirely too early. The first to leave the ship was about 9 AM. The cabin stewarts had adequate time to clean the rooms before the next passengers came onboard by allowing us passengers to remain in the cabins longer.
The most outstanding part of our cruise: Music of your Life sponsored The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra conducted by Buddy Morrow. The entire Big Band was there. They played several times each and every day of the cruise. They brought along their lead singer Ron Gutierrez. Also we heard noted singers, Lorri Hafer, Michele Anastasio and noted singer and disc Jockey Herb Oscar Anderson. This group books on many cruises during the year. "Music of Your Life A Sea". If anyone has the opportunity to cruise along with this group be sure to take it. It was outstanding. Buddy is the only person along who was with the original Tommy Dorsey Band. He is now 88 years old.
Overall rating: Would I book another MSC Cruise? Maybe. The Opera is a very nice ship but many minuses make me think awhile.
This was our 4th cruise all taken within 2 years. Previous cruise were all on Princess.
We booked this cruise in early July and booked an inside guarantee. We were pleasantly surprised when we were checking in and found we had been upgraded to a balcony, which they call a suite. We have been in either a balcony or suite and from what I understand no other line would have called this cabin a suite. The bathroom had a tub, which was very nice but a bit hard to get out of as it was very tall.
Our ports were: San Juan, St. Maarten, Grenada, Barbados, St. Lucia, Tortola and Cayo Levantado. We took ship excursions in San Juan, St Maarten and Grenada. They were handled very well. MSC worked at making sure that people who spoke different languages had their own tour bus and guide. We took our own tours in Barbados, St. Lucia and Tortola. We had very good drivers/guides on these.
As for Cayo Levantado there was supposed to be a $19 pp charge for the tender to the island but MSC did drop this, most likely because very fewhad signed up. There was still a charge for the buffet on Cayo Levantado but I believe this was due to the ship not doing the buffet but having the hotel on the island providing it. We only saw one couple actually eating.
The passengers were a mix of Americans, Canadians, Britons, Germans, French and Italians. And while it is true that announcements are made in 5 languages the announcement are few and far between.
MSC has instituted the Art auction and the Inch of Gold but neither intruded on the impact of the cruise. They only have one deck that has the shops and the sales people are not pushing you to buy.
The one thing that really stood out for as being different on MSC was the entertainment and animation group.
While MSC is trying to bring in Americans the entertainment was very Italian, not even European (according to the British friends we made). I think they need to make some changes there. They could also do with turning down the volume on the music.
Also the animation group was all Italian and most times it was very hard to understand what they were saying in English. It would not hurt if they had a couple of these people whom English is their first language.
We heard many people complain about the food but really the only complaint we had about the food was that in a lot of items did not have much taste, very bland. It seems that the only items with a lot of flavor were the seafood salads and the soups. But we definitely did not starve.
The ship was very pretty and the Christmas decoration they put up were very nice and not over done. Most lounges and the dining rooms all had a Christmas tree and each was decorated a bit different from the next.
There were a few children on board and did not see any problems with any even though the hours of the children’s club were very short.
The dress code for the cruise was 3 formal nights and the rest casual. Most passengers followed but of course some did not. This definitely did not detour for from our enjoyment.
Over all we enjoyed the cruise and most likely would cruise with MSC again.
We were very disappointed. The majority of the staff were borderline-rude and there seemed to be a bias against Americans. We would never use, nor recommend, MSC to anyone.
The food was limited and the quality hit-or-miss. The only way we got any satisfaction was to bring our complaints to the managers.
It all started the first day when we entered our room. It was filled with paint fumes. The woman at the reception desk was not receptive to our concerns and told us there were no fumes, even though she did not go there to see for herself. The safe would not open so they sent someone, who did notice the fumes. When we returned to the reception desk, the same woman was still unreceptive to our concerns and had a take-it-or-leave it attitude. Very similar to the young man in the Four Eyes commercial. After we talked to her manager, the room was ventillated so that the fumes disappeared and the same woman could not be nice enough to us.
A similar situation concerned the dining room. The waiter was indifferent to our requests. Although we had notified the cruiseline thatI was a vegetarian, we had problems. The vegetarian meals that were available were ladened with creams -- something I try to avoid because of high cholesterol. When I asked for a salad with the dressing on the side, I got a soup bowl half-full of lettuce with oil-and-vinegar dressing (actually my favorite). It was an interesting evening. Even our table mates -- all four from Norway -- commented at how mediocre (at best) the food was. So it wasn't just our tastebuds.
When my husband requested that spaghetti be served with his eggplant parmisan, the waiter didn't want to do it. Eventually the waiter got his way.
We spent a lot of money and were very disappointed. Never again! We will only go Royal Caribbean in the future. I didn't want to go to Europe in the first place and plan to never to return again.
Save yourself a lot of money and disappointment by avoiding MSC cruise lines -- especially if you are an American. The only time the staff will act friendly is the day before you disembark. It made no difference -- we only tipped our cabin crew because they kept it clean -- even though they never brought any ice, was was noted in the cruise line materials.
This was the first cruise that I went on, and I couldn't have asked for anything more.
The service was impeccable, the cleanliness excellent and the food was, being Italian Canadian, sometimes as good as our home cooking. Never better though:) One reviewer was complaining that they had to buy ice cream. We found that if we went to the sit down restaurant for lunch, ice cream came with the meal, and therefore was free. We also found the prices at the stores on the ship to be exceptionally reasonable, sometimes much less than the price at a duty free store on land.
There were a few complaints that we had which we also mentioned to the cruise company and which hopefully, if other readers notice, will also tell the cruise ship company.
The tours organized by the ship tended to be very expensive and we found that many times, it was easier and cheaper to hire a taxi or walk in the various ports of call. The price of alcohol on the ship was also prohibitive, although many guests appeared to have somehow procured their own drinks (nudge nudge, wink wink).This may only be with our table, but we found the snobbishness of the Maitre'D and the table manager to be quite offensive, although the rest of the restaurant staff went out of their way to make our meals enjoyable.
In addition, if you are a younger traveller (under 30), you may find that, atleast on our cruise, there are not a lot of young people, although a lot of the staff are young and fun to talk with.
Finally, if you are like us and like to enjoy peace and quiet, head to the back of the ship to the Blue Lounge and the deck behind there. Although there are activities going on constantly near the pool, the back of the ship is quiet and you can enjoy the beautiful view and take in the rays of the sun. The fact that the rooms were a little small was actually nice, as we were forced to leave the rooms and meet many of our fellow passengers.
We did hear some of the other passengers complaining, but they, as the stereotype goes, appeared to be consistently cut of a certain stripe, and I am sure they would probably never be fully satisfied with anything.
I would definitelty recommend this cruise to anyone especially if you enjoy a more meditteranean atmosphere.
Background/Itinerary: The itinerary was intriguing and very rewarding. We sailed from Genoa, Italy, visiting many ruins of the ancient world from Egypt to Greek to Roman ruins. Malta was a wonderful stop but way too short to even sample what this island country has to offer. Other ports of call included Naples (for Pompeii); Syracuse (Sicily) with a charming old town and ancient Greek ruins; Alexandria, Egypt (for pyramids at Giza & Sakkara plus Memphis); Tobruk (for the 2006 Total Solar Eclipse which was fantastic); Tripoli, Libya, where we visited the fabulous Roman ruins at Leptis Magna; Valetta, Malta; Salerno for the well-preserved Doric temples of the ancient Greek/Roman city of Poseidiana/Paestum; and back to Genoa. Weather was cool in Genoa becoming more pleasant and warm as we ventured southward.
Travel to point of departure and hotel: We booked our air ourselves, flying Air France from San Francisco non-stop to Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport (what a nightmare to negotiate). Then we flew to Genoa on an Air France small plane operated by regional carrier Brit Air. Unfortunately, one of our bags did not arrive for 2 days but was finally delivered toour stateroom the second evening of our cruise. Fortunately, my husband and I had divided our clothing so we had something to wear; some passengers were not so lucky. Up to 30 passengers experienced luggage delays from a variety of airlines and airports.
Stateroom: The cabin was well appointed with more than enough space for all we brought, including formal attire and a small telescope, tripod and camera gear for the eclipse, which was the reason we booked this cruise. Our cabin had two single beds which could be made into a king plus two bunks folded up on the walls. There was a minibar, television, make-up dresser and safe. A fruit bowl was filled on our arrival.
Ship: The ship was immaculate, if not a particularly attractive ship in the classic sense. Because a mid-section had been added to this ship, getting around was confusing. One could not reach all venues from each deck.
Dining: Dining itself was also a disappointment. Being on an Italian ship for the first time, we were looking forward to the cuisine which turned out to mediocre at best. Meat was tough, fish was "fishy," soups were bland and most dishes were uninspired. For dinner there were no options except the main dining room at one's assigned table. The breakfast buffet was run-of-the-mill but there was an ample amount of food. The best lunches were had at the Caffee del Mare grill where we ate delicious hamburgers and french fries (pizza was edible but nothing special). We actually ate one of the best pizzas ever while ashore in Valetta, Malta.
Services: For first timers or less experienced cruisers, this ship may have been adequate or better but for experienced cruisers this ship was a big disappointment. It seemed that they were unprepared for the number of English-speaking passengers. Previous reviews by such individuals seemed to indicate that there were only a very few English speakers cruising with MSC. The majority of crew did not speak much English making it difficult to communicate our desires or even have an amiable conversation. For example, our cabin steward was from Madacasgar and seemed more fluent in French.
The crew member who escorted us to our cabin simply left us there, showing us nothing in the cabin including the location of our life jackets. Most announcements could not be heard inside the cabins–one had to open the door to listen. And the one and only (mandatory) life boat drill was a joke. Not all passengers even attended and no roll was taken. Instead it was used as an photo opportunity by the ever-present paparazzi who intruded on us during dinner, followed us on shore excursions and frightened young children with their clown and pirate costumes. The ship's photographers were truly shameless in their pursuit of money.
It seemed that we had to pay for everything. On the Marco Polo (Orient Lines), ice cream was served daily for free. On the MSC Sinfonia the Gelateria was never open but occasionally ice cream out of a cart was served on the pool deck–at a cost. On arrival there were two bottles of water in the cabin but again, they were not gratis. As we left the ship for our excursions, water at a cost was offered. Most cruises we have taken provided water bottles for free.
In the dining room we had requested a table for two and were located was in a back corner with servers who hailed from Bali. When we ordered off the menu printed in English our waiter often could not understand what we said unless we pointed to the menu.
Service was probably the worst we have experienced for dining but perhaps we were assigned servers with less experience or training. We had to repeatedly ask for water, or even get it ourselves and our primary waiter never seemed to learn that my husband wanted coffee after his meal (The bus boy actually learned that by the end of our cruise and brought it himself.). Other passengers were satisfied with the service they received in the dining room so our experience may not be representative of the entire dining staff. However, no maitre'd ever spoke with us. Often the servers would shout and argue among themselves which was very annoying.
The crew had not anticipated dealing with such a large contingent of English speakers, most of whom were American. The Travel Quest/Sky and Telescope group for the eclipse accounted for more than 70% of the passengers who numbered between 1500 and 2000. In the past we have cruised on large vessels with much better organization than this one run by Italians.
Entertainment & Activities: These were very limited for individuals with our interests. Fortunately, there were regular astronomy-related lectures which were informative, interesting, and quite entertaining. The lecturers had a good sense of humor which the crew seemed to lack.
My husband and I particularly enjoy ballroom dancing and we were looking forward to an opportunity to dance on the MSC Sinfonia. However, the quality of music was lacking and one of the best bands on the ship refused to play if only one or two couples were in the Sinfonia lounge. The program would list the times they were to play in the daily program, we would appear, and the group would sit in their corner chatting for 45 minutes or more of that scheduled time. The best dancing music was available in the Buddha Bar provided by one Gianni Dale and his piano. Unfortunately, there was no dance floor in this bar but we danced on the carpet anyway, often joined by one or two other couples.
Children's Club: There were a number of planned activities and events for children, however, and this ship may be more enjoyed by families.
Embarkation/Disembarkation: Embarkation was long and tedious, taking about 2 hours to actually arrive at our cabin. There was much disorganization aboard the MSC Sinfonia from embarkation, shore excursions, collecting passports, and disembarkation. Rarely did anything begin on time (except for meals) and we had to wait for everything.
Summary: Bottom-line: Fabulous itinerary with a chance to visit Libya and see our 5th Total Solar Eclipse. However, we will never cruise with MSC again and would not recommend their ships to any experienced or English-speaking passengers.
Ship Lirica was extremely clean, food was good, entertainment was good, service excellent. Would definitely cruise this line again.
Outside Deck doors did not have functioning "anti-slam" closures and unfortunately I crushed my finger and had the top joint surgically removed in Jamaica. I continued the cruise. The cruise doctors were helpful, but didn't follow up with me after the operation. I guess they figured I survived and that was all that mattered???
BE CAREFUL when entering the ship's outside deck doors from outside under windy conditions as they are apt to slam.
I did write the cruise line and suggested they check and/or install anti-slam equipment, and it would be interesting to know if anything has transpired. If anyone has info about that, please post.
This cruise was only adequete. Lirica was spotlessly clean. Food was poor, esspecially in the resteraunt, which was hit and miss. Our waiters were were very nice but spoke only Indonesian so not one night did they get out order correct, steak instead of fish etc, only 3 choices for main coarse. Our head waiter was a total idiot, he pretended he spoke no english but we heard him speaking perfect english to Americans, kept bringing a silly Plastic Chicken & a pen that gave an electric shock (if you have a pacemaker, watch out).
Food on the deck grill was often cold and the lunchtime buffet was always the same, not a potatoe in sight. Salads were good. Entertainment sometimes was only OK but Italian classical singers were first class. Cabins and staff, can't fault also reception couldn't have been more helpful inspite of very rude & ignorant passengers, they did all they could for us, as Briish Airways had failed to deliver our bags to Miami, they arrived home 7 days after cruise (avoid BA at any cost, they have refused to give us any compensation) Can't pass opinion onPorts, we could not go ashore with unsuitable clothing, retail shop poorly stocked, OK if you are a lady below size 10 and men under 34 waist. Prices over the top.
Bars were good with plenty of choice of Beers and spirits, wines were pricey.
The ship was beautiful, the rooms and the balconies are the smallest I have ever sailed on. The announcements are in about 5 languages before English. There were lots of noisy kids on our cruise (kids sail free) and out of 3000 pasgeners, only 50 of us spoke English. The food was horrible. We finally found out that the pastas come in frozen (which would explain why they were not any good) THe ports were great, the entertainment was good. I would not take another cruise on MSC cruise line. THere was no food after 10:00, the coffee machine was shut down after that also. You could not get iced tea all day.
We just came back of our first cruise expirence on msc musica. It was crowdy but allright for younger people. Food was plenty and allright. (At dinner you can ask free drinking water at the table.) Waiters and housekeeping were very good but they had to work up to 18 hours a day. This was not acceptable to me.
I recently was able to join a friend, last minute, on an 11 day cruise aboard the MSC CROCIERE Italian cruise ship. After reading some pretty negative reviews (after booking) I was a bit concerned. I am not sure if those folks were aboard the same ship but my experience overall was 5 star. The crew, from the director (Andreas) to our cabin attendant (Thierry) to the wonderful hostess in the Lord Nelson (Maria)were all exceptional.
The dining room was fabulous with decent food, lots of choices, including a great selection of healthy items and the servers were awesome. Each evening there was really good entertainment The ports were all gorgeous and the time allotted was just perfect. The only complaint I would offer is the price of the ship tours, of which we took none. We just hired privately and it was about 1/3 to 1/2 of the cost. I would highly recommend this cruise line.