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Wendy Morgan

Age: 66

Occupation:retired

Number of Cruises: 3

Cruise Line: MSC Cruises

Ship: MSC Melody

Sailing Date: 10-28-2008

Itinerary: Genoa to Durban

Booked the cruise for the itineray and agree that it was cheap for a 21 day cruise. Embarkation in Genoa was delayed because computers had gone down due to adverse weather conditions (it was raining), so not a good start. Cabin was inside and awful, (but cruise was cheap), luggage eventually arrived and we set sail - late!

Seemed that everything was late, late arriving in Egypt, so tours rushed and pyramids had to be opened especially so only a few minutes before darkness, late arriving in the Seychelles (after 5 days at sea), so not a lot of time on the beach before darkness fell and the town shut up for the night and so it goes on. Staff indifferent, public messages inaudible, information sparse, etc., etc.

On a positive note the ship was clean, old but clean!

We had the second sitting for dinner, dining room very crowded, so much so that my husband had to climb over his chair to sit down, food very mediocre to say the least. Picked up a tummy bug for most of the cruise, which reccured as soon as I started eating normally, so lived on bread and plain pasta for most of the cruise. Buffet only open at breakfast, lunch and tea time, closed on the dot, so unable to obtain even water without having to pay for it when buffet was closed - never experienced anything like this on previous cruises.

Inside cabin was all that was available when we booked and although asked to be upgraded if cancellation, etc., occured, an inside cabin was what we had. Clean, but old. Everything rattled, so at night we stuffed towels into doors, etc., in an attempt to stop the noise - and we were on Premier deck, so what the other cabins were like beggars belief.

The quality of the entertainment brought rubbish to a whole new level. The classical evenings were OK, but the rest of the entertainment was dire. Our grandchildren's school concert was better!

Petra in Jordan was wonderful as were the Pyramids, but not enough time at either because of the lateness in docking. Expensive, but guides were knowledgeable. Took taxis with friends at other ports of call and cab drivers always took us to places of interest and told us about their island - a lot cheaper too.

The itinerary was the deciding factor for us going on this cruise and it was cheap. We did see some great places and met some nice people, but with hindsight would rather pay more, be comfortable, well fed and made to feel welcome on a cruise. Would never use MSC again, and had it been a first cruise, the whole experience would probably have put us off cruising completely.

Hotel in Durban was changed mid cruise and as we were travelling with friends wanted to be in same Hotel, but despite several attempts and discussion with MSC staff on board, who told us to contact our Agent (difficult whilst sailing in the Indian Ocean), the reason why our hotel was changed remains a mistery. On return I have contacted our agent who informed me that all hotel bookings, flights, etc., are done by MSC, not what we were told on board!

All in all not an experience we would want to repeat - be warned.

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