I am a veteran sailor with cruises on Cunard, HAL, NCL & a few lines no longer sailing.(almost 50 cruises in all)
The ship is smaller than todays mega ships with only 1700 passengers(there were 1500 onboard this sailing). The ship is only one year old & looked as if it was brand new. The cleaning & upkeep was non stop no matter where on the ship I went. Even in the crew areas it was immaculate!
Embarkation was a breeze - I arrived at 3:30 pm & walked right onboard ....I was escorted to my cabin on 7 Deck. The cabin was smaller than a HAL standard but a better layout than NCL DAWN (and certainly more comfortable). The bathroom was fine except for a small shower - I simply left the shower curtain open.
I toured the ship before dinner & found the lounges to be nicely appointed & with a wide range. Coffee Bar, Piano Lounge, Show Room, Disco & my favorite ...The Cotton Club - a lounge with a great combo & dance floor. What I really liked is the scale of the rooms - nothing too big, nor crowded , all in pleasant tones.
I ate dinner in The Carravalle Dining room at second sitting. It is the larger of the dining rooms but was just as pleasant. A great Italian waiter & assistant saw to all our needs in a very professional & fun manner. The wine steward was exceptional & saw that my glass was full at all times!!!!
I did have lunch & breakfast in the smaller dining room & also enjoyed it there. The buffet at the pool was a standard & well run restaurant. THE PIZZA AREA WAS GREAT!!!! As an afternoon snack I enjoyed a different slice each day.
I did get my haircut onboard & it was fine - just watch out for the extra charges for “treatments” that you do not ask for & are not told about.
The spa area is quite nice...locker room , steam, sauna & relaxation room.. The pool area is great(much nicer than NCL Dawn).
I did not attend any shows but most people said they were great.....the bands onboard were provided a variety of music & it showed in the # of people on the dance floors each evening. Even the disco had a lively crowd through the nite(as opposed the NCL Dawn this past New Years where the nite club was dead, the dance floor empty & nothing but rap being played all nite).
I found the food to be just as good as HAL & Cunard and better than NCL DAWN. Certainly the European sevrvice was above the standard cruise lines. The evening buffets were very nice & well attended - the final buffet was great fun!
The Pros -
Service, food, ship design, size & entertainment. The ship was immaculate!!!!!!!!
I had to change my cabin due to the noise from the kitchen on deck 6. I ended up on deck 9 & was fine. Housekeeping was very nice & arranged for my luggage to be transferred.
Some of the Pool Staff, Outdoor Restaurant Staff & Piano Bar area need to learn from their counterparts in other areas of the ship. These areas were slow all week in providing service.
Would I go again...in a second....MSC has some some aspects of the old Home & Sitmar Lines in a contemporary ship. So if you like Italian / Continental........go for it.