What do you do when you go on a cruise and the ship is beautiful but the food and the service are mediocre.
MSC is a European cruise line. They are nothing like any cruise line you may be used to so keep this in mind. We kept hearing they wanted to break into the American market but don’t seem to be willing to change things that will make Americans want to come back. When we go out, we expect service and this is one thing that is missing.
MSC does a lot of things different from other cruise lines. With MSC, you check in and you are given your room card. Once you get on the ship, you go to a kiosk and with a credit card you link your room card to your credit card so you can charge things while on the ship. You are given a couple days grace to get it done, however, after that time has passed your card will be declined when you attempt to make a purchase and you will have to go and link your card.
The common areas are beautiful. Sculptures in a seating area like one of the Eiffel Tower. Small eating areas that make you think of a French bistro along the walkway on Deck 8. Seating that is sometimes comfortable and sometimes a little too much avant-garde. Lots of bars and lots of different music venues. A theatre that puts on some unbelievable shows all musically based.
Our room had a balcony room and was nice sized but the bathroom was small and closet space was even smaller; plus you stored your suitcase in the closet. Beds were comfortable. You had maybe three feet of storage space to hang your clothes. There were two drawers that were about 12 inches wide and three shelves, the same width, to store all your clothes in (This is for everyone in the room.). During the cruise we heard crew telling people that to make the staterooms larger they made the closet space and bathroom smaller.
If you want the butler experience and feeling “special” book your stay in the Yacht Club. The area you are in can only be accessed with your room card. The Yacht Club has their own restaurant, pool, bar and music area. They also have some of the best views off the front of the ship. During our visit the first week of September 2018 we were advised that they were totally sold out on this ship until March 2019.
We ate most of our dinners in the dining room. Service was slow and at times seemed nonexistent. The dining room is majorly understaffed. If you ordered an appetizer and a salad, both were served at the same time. If someone did not order an appetizer, when they delivered the appetizer, that person’s entrée was delivered. Food was at most lukewarm. Getting something to drink also presented a challenge. Some nights you got water and others you didn’t. If you ordered a soft drink during dinner, you learned to make it last as the odds were slim that you’d be able to get another. Coffee was rarely served after dinner and when it was, it was cold. Most of the people we talked with were disappointed in the quality of food and the service.
One thing here on their dining menu that was different was that you could order different items at an additional cost. Here you will also need to be patient as your food will come at different times from those who are ordering from the main menu.
We did have dinner one night in Fusion. This is an alternative dining restaurant and came at an additional charge. They had a set menu for the additional charge you paid to eat there; then there were items you could order at a further additional charge. The food here was excellent as was the service.
We did get a tour of the galley. It didn’t take long and was interesting and informative. The head chef on board was very friendly and made sure to say hello if he saw you later during the cruise.
I know you don’t go on a cruise to watch TV however while you are in the room getting ready to go out we turned it on. Not much available as far as US news. CNN was there. Spanish channels with movies in English and commercials in Spanish. Problem we experienced was the signal would continuously go out.
Internet was okay, a little confusing. It seemed to connect better later in the cruise however it was very slow at times.
Buffet was the same every day. There are two different buffets on board. One on Deck 8 that 98% of the people went to and one on Deck 16 that only about 2% of the people went to. The buffet on Deck 16 has a button on every table so you can call someone to order drinks. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t. Deck 8 was very crowded and took long periods of time to get tables cleared and to get beverages. Finding a teaspoon became a quest for some.
Reservations for shows are required. The theatre has limited seating. When you approach the theatre, they ask for your room card. Once your card is scanned and they see you have a reservation you can go in and be seated. If you don’t have a reservation you must wait until five minutes before the start of the show and if there is room you can go in and be seated. The early show seemed to have the easiest access and was not as crowded.
There are a lot of places that you can go to for food and drinks; however, they are usually at an additional charge. If you feel you have a drink package and as such you are now “all inclusive” you are wrong. You always need to have your room card with you.
During our cruise we did get to see most of the ship. Park West is on board and you can purchase art if you like. A chocolate area that would make even the pickiest of chocolate eaters happy. The spa was great. There was of course the pools, hot tubs and zip lining, specialty restaurants and onboard shopping. If you have kids or you plan on going zip lining, get your waivers signed on day one. You will experience shorter lines.
As many have said, the ship is beautiful and has lots of great qualities. However, there are several areas that need attention. One thing they need to consider is how to have that many people in areas that are not meant to handle that size crowd and increasing the staff and their training.
If you have any questions, please contact me.
Thanks for reading.
TRAVEL with EASe