In my daily search for interesting cruises that I can't afford to go on, I came across an ad for MSC cruises, which I have never heard of before. The ad mentioned that kids were free. How do this cruise line compare to NCL or Carnival?
RCI Radiance of the Seas Sep 2009
NCL Sun March 2008
Carnival Destiny June 2006
Carnival Ecstasy June 2002
Carnival Elation August 2000
Celebrity Century June 1998
Carnival Carnivale August 1993
MSC is an Italian cruise line. You will find a lot of Europeans sailing on their ships. Announcements will be made in many different languages. (But I'm seeing that more on RCI and CCL too.) The entertainment and menus are geared to the European market. However; when MSC sails in the Caribbean you will see adjustments made to cater to the Americans. For instance, when sailing in Europe MSC charges for room service. When in the Caribbean they make the change and don't charge because Americans "expect" room service to be part of the cruise.
I went on Costa last year on a Eastern Mediterranean cruise. It is also an Italian line and family orientated, with some cruises offering "free for kids". Announcements are made in several languages but you get used to it. The shows and entertainment was easy to follow. The food was very very good and gala nights very festive with the waiters performing as well as serving.
I've been on 3 Costa cruises where the language problem was similar and 1 MSC. I'm also going on another MSC in a few weeks time. I'd choose these companies for price and destination. Food is fine if you like Italian.
I have just completed a seven-day Mediterranean cruise aboard the MSC Musica. The cruise commenced on June 15, 2008 from Venice and returned to Venice on June 22, 2008.
This is my first MSC cruise and will be my last. I have been on three other cruises, one Mediterranean and two Carribean, the most recent a Celebrity Carribean Cruise, February 2008, aboard the Galaxy. These other cruises were far superior to this MSC cruise. What follows are the reasons why I am disappointed in the MSC cruise.
Lack of Adequate Services in English
The vast majority of staff especially those at the information/reception, shore excursion, and accounting desks did not speak or understand English at a level that could be called functional.
Written English communication, such as in their Daily Program, appeared to be a word-by-word translation from Italian, resulting in communication that was sometimes confusing, incomplete, or downright comical. For example, one day in the Daily Program, it stated, “The MSC Musica will stop in the road.” Overall, there was no acceptable level of service in the English language.
Lack of Availability of Food and Beverages
For periods of up to 7 hours during the main part of the day, no food or beverages were available at all or only for purchase. For example, on the first day of the cruise, the lunch buffet closed at 2:15 pm and people at the second dinner sitting had to wait until 9:30 pm to eat again. On the other three cruises I have taken, complimentary food was available 24 hours a day, including complimentary room service on Celebrity, something for which MSC charges.
Complimentary coffee and tea were available only during breakfast and dinner. Complimentary juice (which tasted as though it was made from powder) was available only during breakfast. In addition, unlike the other three cruises, outside of the times described above, no non-alcoholic beverages such as coffee, juice, lemonade were available except for purchase.
The food and beverage scheduling seemed to purposefully engender situations to cause passenger to pay for food and beverages that would be free on the other three cruises that I have enjoyed.
Mediocre Quality of Food
Unlike on my three other cruises, the food served on the Musica at the breakfast and lunch buffets and the sit-down dinners tasted as one other passenger described it “like hospital cafeteria food.” The menus demonstrated little imagination and, with the exception of desserts, the food ranged from bland to tasteless.
Indifferent Food and Beverage Service Staff
In general, the staff who served at dinner or who assisted at the buffets were unfriendly. At times, they could be rude. One example that comes to mind occurred at the breakfast buffet. Six of us had been unable to get juice with our breakfast. I finally saw a waiter with a tray of juices. He was about 3 metres from our table. I asked him if he could bring us juice. He simply replied, “No, someone else will do it.” He then walked away without any other explanation. We had to wait another 10 minutes before some other waiter could be flagged down to give us juice.
On my three other cruises, the cabins seemed very quiet. However, on the Musica, sounds could be heard of people flushing toilets, opening and closing closet and entry doors, and muffled conversations from within other cabins. In addition, hallway sounds of any nature could be heard in the cabin. The noises did not taper off until 2 or 3 am when most passengers would have retired. Since I normally went to sleep between 11 pm and midnight, my sleep was often disturbed by the sounds of other passengers.
I am originally from Baltimore, Maryland. How is the weather down there?
I have been on another Mediterranean Cruise with a Greek Cruise line that has been since bought out. That cruise had excellent service, complimentary food all day etc. It was run similarly to my two Carribean cruises.
On the Musica, my partner and I met a lot of friendly English-speaking passengers, many of whom shared our disappointment in the cruise. We had a couple of opportunities to speak to or hear Italian passengers (I can speak some Italian). They also commented about the mediocre food and the lack of complimentary coffee on the Musica.
The entertainment on the ship was, in general, good to excellent. There were a lot of kids, but they were mostly European Italian and were incredibly well behaved.
We went on one ship sponsored excursion in Athens. The excursion was okay.
Also, the cost of this cruise was a bit more than our other cruises. However, it was comparable to the cost of our Carribean cruises, taking into consideration the increased airfare costs.
By the way, I discovered this website accidentally and I am impressed.