Length: 964 ft
A modern, mid-size ship (Poesia-class) with lovely interior and a varity of cuisine and activitiesBest For People Who Want
A true bargain on a classy new ship with family activities and children's menus.Should Be Avoided By People Who Prefer
All American cuisine for every meal; a smoke-free environment.Onboard Experience
MSC is a tasteful cruise line that has refined its product over the years after experiencing early growing pains. While MSC Cruises tries to accommodate American tastes during the Caribbean season, the onboard vibe remains European, with Italian officers and a mix of Italian, Balinese and International crew. The onboard enetertainment, pianists and vocal duos with guitar, feature excellent European performers. As in the Mediterranean, announcements are in five languages, but in the Caribbean English is the first.
The Musica-class of MSC Cruises is the second generation - started in 2006. There are four Musica-class ships including the Musica, Orchestra, Poesia and MSC Magnifica with a debut in 2010. At 90,000 tons for 3000 passengers, these ships belong firmly in the mainstream market and are comparable to Royal Caribbean or Norwegian Cruise lines in America. Keep in mind that MSC cruises is marketed to the European masses.
There is 236,000 sq. ft. of public space inside the ship, most of it supported by an Art Nouveau design theme straight out of 1930s Europe. The main attraction is a three deck tall atrium, where the focal piece is a clear glass platform suspended a piano over a waterfall. On the bottom floor of the atrium you will find the reception desk and shore excursion offices. There are also plenty of shops nearby, including the perfume shop, the jewelry store and a kiosk for everyday notions.
There are three large showroom lounges with plenty of a grandstand style seating on raised platforms facing the stage. The entertainment may be a jazz quartet or a single piano player accompanied by his own technology. The main showroom has fine sight lines and a state-of-the-art theater featuring large cast production shows.
Altogether, there are 11 bars and lounges on the ship, and music is the common cruise denominator for all of the various nationalities onboard. During the day, one can join in trivia games, cooking demonstrations and various other activities, but keep in mind that each of these must be conducted in five different languages.
To navigate the ship, one must walk a through each public room and it is not possible to bypass the bottlenecks that are bound to occur. There is no unifying passageway or atrium from which every, or even a few, public rooms are accessible.
As expected for a European cruise ship, the highlight is the cuisine and the best on board comes in the buffet area and specialty restaurants. These alternative dining spots, served on an a la carte basis instead of fixed per person service fee, makes them more convenient and accessible. Best of all, the price will not go beyond the typical cruise ship alternative dining experience.
With MSC Cruises' "kids sail free" policy all year round these ships get especially crowded with youngsters during the summer. That policy applies to anyone 17 or under. Keep in mind that the foremost nationalities onboard are Italian, Spanish, French, German and English - in that order. While the American component becomes stronger whenever an MSC ship enters the Caribbean region, the European onboard flavor is persistent and continues to appeal to the Europeans. U.S. cruisers are advised that taking an MSC Cruise in the Caribbean does not necessarily mean that English and will the dominant language onboard. It depends on the passenger mix onboard.Decor
Each of Musica's public room has its own distinctive color scheme, all more subdued than the earlier ships, and each room blends well with the next, giving a sense of unity. Cabin decks are similarly color-coordinated, each in its own hue. Abundant polished brass, mirrors, glass and marble make the insides of these immaculate ships resplendent.Public Rooms
Musica offers 11 different bars and lounges, each of them unique, and most of them situated on Decks 5 and 6 connected by a grand marble staircase.
At the other end of the scale, the L' Enoteca Wine Bar offers a selection of varietals and an even better selection of food pairings to go with them. You can choose from, Spanish, Italian, French or German cuisine traditionally consumed with wine. For under $10 one can get a plate of a cultural delight, such as pickles and sausages from Germany or breads and cheese from France.
On deck five is the Casino San Remo with a traditional Monte Carlo flair. One will find blackjack, slot machines ranging from one penny to five dollars, or euro as the case may be, and of course roulette. There is no craps table, however, as that is an American game. Behind the casino is a large sushi bar, and beyond the stairwell comes the cyber café and the Havana Club where cigar smoking is not only allowed, it is encouraged.
Deck six is the Forte Deck, which is the outdoor promenade deck encircling nothing but staterooms. Decks seven through 11 are all staterooms as well, but deck 13, Vivace Deck, begins with the Aloha Beauty Farm and Fitness Centre all the way forward. Referring to a fitness spa as a beauty farm, well I'll leave the jokes to you. Deck 12 midships is the pool and suntanning area followed by a large buffet restaurant. Fully astern is the à la carte restaurant Il Giardino.
Capproccio Deck (14) forword is comprised of penthouses. Midships is the jogging track around the pool area and astern we find the golf simulator, children's area, shuffleboard, a simulated space trip to ride and a virtual games parlor. Fully a stern is the discotheque Q32. The small Deck 14 has a tennis court and secluded tanning areas. In Europe topless tanning is still acceptable.Cuisine
Delicious pasta and risotto dishes are featured nightly. The menu lists appetizers, soup, salads, pasta, main courses and garnishes, as well as vegetarian and alternative dishes. The dessert menu includes cakes, pastries, ice cream and sorbet, along with after-dinner drinks.
While the buffet area on earlier MSC cruises ships was a source of several complaints, over the years they have gotten their act together and managed to provide a variety of cuisine with something to appeal to almost every culinary gene pool. in Europe one well have to pay for every beverage including bottled water and ice tea. Ships in a Caribbean will offer these drinks on a complimentary basis. It is possible to get water free if you can find the ice dispenser where glasses and water are available.
the only time you will get coffee free onboard MSC ships is during breakfast at the buffet area were from room service. The good news is, that you can get a fantastic espresso or mocha at any bar on the ship. The bad news is you have to pay for it.
Made to order snacks are available 24 hours a day from room service, allow 30 minutes for preparation and delivery. Continental breakfast can be ordered at bedtime for morning delivery. Expect coffee and rolls, only. In Europe, room service items will be charged for on an a la carte basis. In the Caribbean room service is gratis.Restaurants
There are two seatings in each of the two dining rooms (5:45 and 8:00 p.m. respectively in the Caribbean, 7:30 and 10:00 in Europe), and casual alternatives in the Lido buffet (6:00-8:00 p.m.) and poolside grills. The grill area on Deck 12 opens for alternative dining until 9:30 p.m. It is well protected from wind and there's plenty of shade.
L'Oleandro and Le Maxim's dining rooms are situated on Decks 5 and 6 respectively. Those prone to seasickness may prefer the mid-ship location of L'Oleandro but Le Maxim's has the better views, with the full picture windows looking out over the stern. Breakfast and lunch are both open seating, while dinner is assigned tables.Service
Most of the service personnel onboard are Indian, South African or European. Dining room service is provided by Europeans.Tipping
In the Caribbean, a daily gratuity for cabin attendants, bellboys and wait staff of $12 per person is automatically added to the onboard account, unless you're under 18 and sharing with two adults, in which case it's only $6.00 per day. The amount can be adjusted at the front desk.
A gratuity for bar staff is already included in the price of drinks. Spa and casino staff may be tipped in cash at the discretion of the passenger. In the Caribbean, they have come to expect a tip from the North American clientele. In Europe, tradition dictates that tips be presented to service personnel on the last night of the cruise. The cruise line suggests $3.50 to $5.00 per person per day for the Waiter and Stateroom attendant and $1.00 - $2.00 per day for the Maitre D'. Children under 12 pay half those amounts. Again, the gratuity for bar service personnel is included in the price of the drink.Entertainment
The cruise staff, called Animators or Pagliacci, double as entertainers who foment a lot of lighthearted fun and mischief. Every evening, musicians perform in the various lounges, and there's jollity in profusion in the Teatro La Scala.
A large deck area behind the swimming pools is used for games and dance classes. Bingo is offered on board, but pay attention or you might miss it.
Baseball and music-themed Caribbean cruises allow passengers to meet up to half a dozen baseball legends and musical greats. Hitting, pitching and batting clinics, interview, Q&A, storytelling, and autograph sessions are all popular.Cabins
interior cabins are 152 sq. ft. with two twin beds that can be converted to a Queen. They come with a hair dryer, Internet access, safe, minibar and a chair with a desk.ocean view cabins are similar, except that they have a window. Balcony cabins in categories 10 and 11 add a 40 square-foot balcony with floor-to-ceiling glass doors. Categories six through nine are smaller veranda staterooms at only 126 sq. ft. Balcony suites are 229 ft. with a 40 foot balcony. They come with extra-large bathrooms including a tub and shower combination.
With the kids sail free policy, which requires that the kids stay in a room with two full fare paying adults, there are plenty of cabins with one or two upper berths and cabins with a double or single sofa bed. For families with money to burn there are connecting staterooms.Fitness/Spa
The Aloha Beauty Farm and Centre, deck 13, offers aerobic equipment in a light-filled room with floor-to-ceiling windows. The spa offerings are the usual cruise ship fare of facials and massages. There are two swimming pools and two whirlpools (deck 11). And although the pool area is surrounded deck chairs, more can be found on deck 13, nicely shielded from the wind. Topless sunbathing is allowed in specified locations.
Aerobics classes are free, with personal training sessions available for $35. Step, Pilates and Stretching classes are a steep $12 per lesson, five for $55. There is a jogging track is on Deck 12 above the pool.Attire
The dress code is resort casual with two formal nights on ten-night, three on 11-night, and four on 17- and 18-night cruises. On our cruise we found the Europeans dress surprisingly casual, even on formal nights. Not a single tuxedo was in sight, and on the jacket and tie required informal nights we saw casual shirts and pants were everywhere. A simple jacket and tie would have been enough to qualify as fully dressed on our MSC cruise.Fellow Passengers
I have mailed the following to MSC twice, once from France, and the next time from NY. I have also tried (without success) to get an email response from them. The second letter outlines the 'highlights' of our cruise from hell. Believe me, I could have gone on and on, but my better sense told me to just elaborate on the parts of the cruise that were the most annoying. We complained on a daily basis while we were on board, but this too, fell upon deaf ears.
MSC Cruise Lines
6750 North Andrews Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33309
ATT: Customer Relations
Re: Conf # 5924138 and 140 August 14-21, 2011
I sent the attached correspondence to you on August 22, 2011 from France. I think that you have had ample time to address the issues that were briefly outlined in the letter. To date, I have not heard a word from you by phone, fax, mail or e-mail. It is my intention to send a copy of this letter to CLIA and to all the professional and non professional travel publications in order to get my point across. That point being that MSCabandons the client once they have received payment. This is unheard of in a service industry. I think my issues should have been given some credence and consideration. I also think that as travel professionals, you should have responded to me long before this date; almost 2 months have elapsed since I sent the original correspondence to you and today.
August 22, 2011
MSC Cruise Lines
6750 North Andrews Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33309
Re: Conf # 5924138/40 Musica Aug 14-21, 2011 Passenger #''s 1590730, 31, 32, 33
1500753, 54, 55, 56
Cat 4 Original Cabin #'s 5038/40 Upgraded Cabin 12074/76
We have just returned from our week aboard the Musica. Initially, we were happy that our cabins were upgraded. Knowing that there were 2 adults and 2 children in each cabin, we should only have been upgraded into cabins that slept 4 passengers (this is why I booked the lower quad cabin class in the first place), why would you place us into cabins without adequate bed space for our family? One of the children in the second cabin was a child, 16 months old, yet we were not even offered a crib. In order to fit a porta-crib, which my daughter brought along with her, into the cabin; the night stands and bedside lamps had to be removed. The baby slept face to face with her mother, and the storage space was even more limited. In my room, two children could not sleep on the small sofa bed made for one person. Reception offered us a mattress that was to be placed on the floor at the foot of the bed (1. It didn't arrive until after 11 pm the first night. 2. There was no place to walk around the bed if one had to get out at night). I would also like to tell you that the mattress couldn't even lay flat in the space provided. To my mind, this was both a fire and health hazard. Reception also told us that after the disembarkation and embarkation in Bari, they would change our cabins. This never happened.
Now would also be a good time to mention that I am handicapped and have tremendous difficulty walking. I would also like to say that I have cruised over 30 times in my life, and I have never had an experience such as this. I am now retired, but did work in the travel industry for many years, and I know that this situation is unacceptable.
I have other issues as well:
1. In the past, the staff at MSC was outstanding, but this was not so on this cruise. The staff had poor/no command of the English language.
2. We paid extra for the privilege of having kosher food on board for us. Since we do not eat non kosher meat, we wanted to have kosher meat available to us. Each and every time we ordered a kosher meal, it was served partially frozen. On the second formal night, my daughter waited over 1 hour and 15 minutes for her food to be served; only to have it brought to the table unthawed.
3. Why is it that this ship charges for drinkable water. A ship should have the option of potable drinking water that can be poured from a pitcher or carafe.
4. Has decaffeinated coffee become a luxury? You don't offer any brewed decaf aboard this ship (in the dining room), and you don't offer coffee at the end of a meal. I understand the charges for cappuccino and espresso, but not for normal coffee (or tea).
5. We were unable to visit Santorini, because of the thousands of people waiting for the tram standing in extreme heat for hours to get to the top of a hill. The line queued the length of the port. We got off a tender, and had to fight our way back through the crowds in order to get to the return tender station so we could go back to the ship. We were also unable to disembark in Mykonos
6. My grandson wanted to participate in an activity in the game room and he was told it was only for grownups; when he wanted to play in a ping pong tournament, he was turned away as well. This unkind and did not leave him with good memories of this cruise. My granddaughter and I went to pool deck for an arts and crafts activity on Saturday morning at 11am. We were told that since we were the only 2 who came, the activity would be cancelled. She was totally disappointed as well
We took my daughter and family on this cruise as a gift for their 13th wedding anniversary. All of us suffered enormously from start to finish. This cruise was both a waste of time and money for our whole family. You need to find a way to make up the financial loss to us.
Clean smart ship but all rather impersonal. Anything purchased on board was very expensive, whether it be a drink, a shore excursion or a photo ! "Posh" restaurants were too posh and slow, buffet was too crowded and chaotic ! Not enough time in port, shore excursions all left far too early in the morning. We always seemed to be leaving port during dinner or lunch or breakfast, rarely had an opportunity to witness arriving or leaving port from the decks.
We had an amazing time, in spite of MSC Cruises. From beginning to end, this cruise line's customer service and SOPs lacked immensely. Our itinerary said that we would be boarding the ship at 10:30am and departing at 6:30pm, and recommended that we be at the port two hours before boarding time. We arrived at 8:30am and there was only one other couple there, and no staff. The staff started showing up and informed us that we could check in after a little longer. A line started to form sometime around 11:00 am, so we got in it only to be told that we all should sit down again since they would not be checking anyone in until noon. A little before noon, the line started forming again and by now a mob had formed around the area as well. When they started motioning that people could finally check in (1:30 pm), everyone rushed the counters, paying no attention to the barriers. We were finally onboard at 5:00 pm. However, the cruise tickets stated something to the effect of "we are not responsible for service you receive while not onboardthe ship." so we figured that was why they put in that disclaimer.
We had chosen late dining thinking it would be around 8:00 pm. It was actually 9:00 pm every night, which would have been okay, except every night it didn't start until 9:30 pm and in the case of that first night on the ship, 10:15 pm. We had wanted to attend a show that was supposedly timed for the late dining crowd to begin at 11:30 pm, but we made it right on time for the final closing of the curtain. This was true of every show, since dinner always started late, and it also ran late.
We had assumed they would at least provide tap water with dinner, but no drinks at all were included. You could purchase a bottle of water for 4 euros (over $5) or a can of soda for 3 euros ($4), or you had the option of buying a book of coupons which discounted these by 1 euro each.
The food on the ship was okay. It was not bad, but not up to the standards I had heard about with other cruise lines' food.
The excursions were extra, which we knew, but somewhat expensive. So we had decided to just catch a cab or the shuttle buses that were offered for many of the ports at a 9 euro charge. Taking the shuttle bus out was fine, but returning on one proved to be a feat. Again, it reminded me of the chaos at check-in -- people in a huge mob trying to push their way onto the buses. We may have been able to maintain some sort of line, except that the buses kept stopping at different places along the street instead of pulling up to the sign. Sometimes they would go past the sign. We made it back after waiting to get on a bus for almost 2 hours.
We met some friends on the boat that had booked a private excursion to Santorini and invited us along. We had been informed in the daily newsletter that we would be receiving numbers indicating what order we could disembark at Santorini, beginning after the people who had booked the MSC excursion. According to the itinerary, we were docking at 7:30 am and everyone could leave the ship sometime around 8:30 am. Our friends had arranged to meet the driver by 9 am. When we all received our numbers, they had number 10 and we had number 16 (no idea how these were allotted). When they asked the front desk roughly what time they would be disembarking with this number, they were told sometime around 11 or 11:30. Essentially, after they not-so-calmly argued about this, they were given number 1 for all 4 of us. We were able to meet the driver at 10 am and had a great but somewhat rushed tour. When we returned to the boat, we found out that people who had numbers 15 and up ended up getting off the boat with only 2 hours left before they had to return.
The stop at Mykonos was scheduled during the evening, so we had decided not to leave the ship since it would cut into our dinner time. Apparently they had decided to make the early seating open and have no late seating. It was printed in the newsletter, but not very clearly. It did not specifically state that late seating was cancelled completely. Our friends had not even received a newsletter that day, and every other one they had gotten was in German. Bottom line, there was no food except the restaurants where you could purchase food. After arguing with the customer service desk again, our friends were able to get us dinner at the sushi restaurant on the house. Had they not spoken up, we wouldn't have gotten a meal at all unless we paid for it.
All of the spa massages, facials, etc. couldn't be booked because there was one person there at any given time running the reception/appointment desk AND giving the massages/facials. They had no openings for the entire week when we checked the second day. We were also unable to use the jacuzzis because the rules were not enforced about a 20 minute time limit and a maximum of five people. There were at least 10 or more kids in all four jacuzzis every time we checked.
We were given a letter about two days before the end of the cruise stating that they would be automatically charging our account 6 Euro per person per day for gratuities, totaling 84 Euro (over $100) for my husband and myself. We had been giving tips to the wait staff that deserved it and we had planned on leaving something for the woman who serviced our room, but had not been told this at any point, even by those we had tipped. We were informed that the only way to change this amount was to fill out a request at the Accounting Desk, which was only open two hours a day. We not only made it a point to visit the desk, but we also changed the amount to zero, citing on the request exactly why and that we would leave what we thought was fair for the housekeeping staff. The staff at the desk responded with a rude, "thanks a lot" to my husband when they saw that.
I know some of this may seem trivial, but in my opinion this was a lot of money to spend to experience this level of stress and inconvenience. After my experience with MSC for my first cruise, I am not sure if I will ever take another cruise period. If I do, it will definitely not be with MSC. I filled out their comment form and mentioned all of this in it, but I do not know if they will take it seriously. But talking to several other people on the ship, including the new friends we had met before check-in, no one was at all satisfied with the quality of this cruise line.