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Blake Ostler

Age: 53

Occupation:Attorney

Number of Cruises: 15

Cruise Line: MSC Cruises

Ship: MSC Splendida

Sailing Date: 2010-11-20

Itinerary: Genova-Greece-Crete-Jerusalem-Cairo-Tunisia-Naples

You would have to be crazy out of your mind to consider cruising with MSC. We were originally booked on Costa; but the cruise was canceled because it had to go to dry-dock. So we took a chance on MSC. This was not merely a bad experience. It was a DISASTER. I paid over $30,000 for the cruise of a lifetime and had the experience ruined by MSC's singular lack of honesty and failure to provide even the most menial of services. I took 10 family members on this cruise from America. MSC attempted to charge for nonsensical items and there numerous ghost charges. The customer service was non-existent. The meals did not provide beverages or even water without charge!

We had an excursion to Cairo. We paid fully in advance -- as MSC insists with all charges. We spend more than 12 hours on the bus and didn't even get to see the pyramids because it was totally dark before we arrived and the pyramids had been closed to tourist access. MSC then refused a refund of the excursion costs.

MSC asks you to give them your passports at the last port of call under the pretense that they need to stamp them. It is a ruse -- don't do it! They ask you to go into a foreign country without your passport while they keep it (which violates US and International Law) and then they hold them for the last day to coerce acceptance of charges which were totally unjustified.

On the day of departure from the ship, the line of people contesting charges was so long that it would have taken days for all the complaints to be heard. They return your passport. I had been charged over $600 for internet use that I didn't authorize. I figured out that someone must have obtained by supposedly confidential access code and run up incredible charges. When I showed this to MSC they agreed it was likely fraud, but refused to not charge my card.

The internet access was joke. There were 4 computers all in an area where there are numerous users who can see your screen (and that's how they got my access code I presume). The internet was so slow that I couldn't use it for business -- unlike the numerous other cruise ships that I have been on.

I cannot recommend AGAINST MSC in stronger terms. DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY ON MSC. We were in a tour group of over 100 people and every single person felt the same as I did -- I know because I co-hosted the cruise.

I lived in Italy for 2 years and I am fluent in Italian. Some of the food was OK. I was extremely disappointed in the gelato available on-board. Italians pride themselves on their gelato. MSC had an Indian host scoop the gelato -- who hardly spoke either Italian, French, German or English and clearly hated his job. The gelato was not merely bland, it was just bad.

It was a disaster. We could hear the folks in the adjoining cabin just like they were in our room. I could hear the snoring all night long. I asked why did we have an adjoining cabin when we paid for a luxury balcony. Why? They explained that there was nothing they could do -- so typical. The folks in the adjoining smoked constantly -- even after I explained to the management that my wife has a respiratory condition that is exacerbated by smoke.

There weren't any for children. Those for adults were not worth doing.

Don't do any excursions with MSC.

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