I just got back from the MSC Orchestra and this is my feedback.
It was a beautiful ship. It was new as of this year in May. I had a room with a balcony and it comparable to other cruises. It was a good deal for your money.
The cruise was 80% Italians and they really catered to their Italian customers. The annoucements were in six different languages but the staff mostly spoke Italian and when you spoke English they looked at you as if you were from a different planet.
There were a lot of kids but we figured out at the end that the Italians were given a promotion that the kids were free.
The food was not as good as the other cruises that I have been on. Lunch seemed to be recycled from dinner the night before.
At dinner, you had three choices to drink - bottled water (that you had to buy), wine or beer. If you wanted a cocktail or tea/coffee you had to go to the bar and get it yourself.
Buy a water and wine plan. There is no free water to drink for dinner....
The appetizers were always kind of a mystery - never knew what you were going to get.
Our table stopped getting a dessert menu have way through the week and the waiter would just suggest "ice" which was icecream.
The icecream was extra on the cruise unlike the Costa Cruise that had free soft serve icecream.
At lunch time, there were no soft drinks included like ice tea. You had to buy your own drinks.
Let's just say the the only drink that was free was tea and coffee everyday from 4-5pm their daily tea and cookies time.
They do have a cocktail of the day that is a $.60 cents cheaper.
Their daily activities was really sad. Not much going on. I actually spoke to the activities manager and expressed my opinions on the lack of english instructions and how I could not participate in the activities because it was all in Italian.
I attempted the spa twice and both times, I was very disappointed and disgusted. You are asked to change and the therapist does not leave the room but does stand there and stare at you. Very uncomfortable. Here in Canada, the massage therapists are very professional the way they cover and unwrap you. Well, it's free for all there. The ladies that do the massages are all from Bali and maybe that is their culture there but certainly not here. The ladies and men are provided with a paper thong.
The gym was small and nothing special. Nothing was free there as well. No water fountain! You have to buy a drink after you work out. Very sad!!
The tours were well organized. When I arrived in Venice, there was enough time from the time I got to port and the time the ship left so I took a water shuttle to town. It cost $11 Euros return.
In Bari, I did a Sassi Matera tour. In Katakolon, I did the Olympia and Shopping tour. In Izmir, I just went into town and shopped at the Bazar. In Istanbul, I did the Topkapi Palace and Shopping. The bazaar here was nutty. You can get easily lost. In Dubrovnik, the cruise organized shuttle buses to take you to town for $8 Euros. A word of advice, not all the countries accepted the Euros. So, if you didn't have their currency you were S.O.L.
My final comments is that I will not be going on an MSC cruise again. You really do get what you pay for... If it's a good deal then there is a reason for it!!!