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  #1  
Old May 8th, 2008, 06:18 PM
JJDriver JJDriver is offline
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Default MSC Musica Greece, Italy, and Croatia Trip Review and Excursion Tips

Hi Everyone, my wife and I just got back from the MSC Musica cruise of Italy, Greece, and Croatia (4/27-5/4). It was a beautiful ship with an excellent staff. Here are some tips to help others enjoy their time as well as things you should be aware of. Please keep in mind that this was my first cruise and my wife's second so we do not have much to compare to, but I do rountinely travel around the world with work.

We arrived in Venice the day before the cruise. Unfortunately the airline lost our luggage as well as numerous other passengers due to a tight connection in Paris. Please be aware that if you connect from Delta to Air France in Paris there is a strong possibility of this happening. The airlines know it is a tight connection and will have a representative there to escort everyone to the other gate. Fortunately everything showed up just prior to leaving port. There is plenty to do in Venice so I will not go into that. If you do arrive in Venice early you might want to make sure you can get an early check in at your hotel.

ON BOARD
MSC did a great job of seating all the nationalities together. Our table had all Americans so it made for easy conversation. I would strongly recommend the second seating at 9:00. All the after dinner shows were great. However, there is a lot of information that is not told to passengers (Or maybe just non Italian speaking passengers).
-The only food included is in the cafeteria and at dinner, everything you have to buy. Breakfast and lunches are good and only include water to drink. The food at dinner is ok. Most appetizers are good and I would fill up on those, but every main course was just ok. Talking to our other seat mates it was very bad compared to other cruises. Also note that no drinks at all are provided with dinner. You have to buy at least two bottles of water to go with dinner. Also, if you have the second dinner note that the cafeteria closes at three and if you want any food for the next six hours you have to buy it. For the gamblers, we don't gamble, but we heard other passengers complaining about the blackjack. I saw that the dealer only shows one card until everyone has played. I don't know much about the game, but it seemed that the dealer got 20 or 21 almost every time.

EXCURSIONS
In most of the ports we found that you did not need excursions. You could take a taxi to the same sights for less money. You don't always get all the information, but you don't always have much time to yourself on the excursions. Meeting the morning of the excursions is extremely chaotic. There is not any organization and you just have to push your way to the front to get in a group. I would recommend getting there a few minutes early and listening close to anything that is said. Something else that was not mentioned to us is that you have to ride a bus that is provided by MSC to get into town in Mykonos, Corfu, and Dubrovnic. The buses are nice and well organized, but if you want to get off the boat you have to take it and it costs 6,7, and 8 euro a person.

Bari-There is not a need to take an excursion here. It is a small town and you can walk or take a cab for 10 - 15 euro across town. There's an old fort, cathedral, and a couple of other historic sights close by. It is very easy to see everything and still have plenty of time to sit be the pool.

Katakolon - I've heard to excursion was good. We took a cab to Olympia, about 30 minutes away, to see the ruins. For 80 euro the driver took us and waited an hour and a half to bring us back. In Katakolon there's several shops you can walk to.

Santorini - PLEASE NOTE - Santorini is the only place you have to tender in. We chose not to take an excursion and it is very is to see on your own. However, we did not find out until the night before that if you take an excursion you will be dropped off first on one side of the island and picked up last. So if you do not take an excurision plan on having your day cut from 9:30 -1:30, not 7:00 - 3:00 as advertised. There is still plenty of time to see Oia and all its shops and churches, but not time to see Fira or anywhere else.

Mykonos - There is not an excursion offered here. The buses will meet the ship and take you into town. You can't go wrong at any of the restaurants.

Athens - We took an excursion to see the Acropolis and to shop. I would recommend it for the convenience of getting around. The Acropolis was closed for a holiday so it would be wise to check that when you get on board. You will still see it, although just at a distance.

Corfu - The bus drops you off in the middle of town and you are close to an old fort and plenty of restaurants and shopping. I don't think many people chose to do an excursion.

Dubrovnic - Make sure you take your passport with you. This is a beautiful city. We took the cruise bus to an old fort with numerous shops and restaurants. The fort offers a chance for some great photos. Be prepared for a wait back on the bus to the ship.

Overall we had a great time and I don't think there is any other way to see Greece until you know what islands you like. Even though we had a great time, we probably will not recommed this cruise line to any of our friends. If anyone has any questions about what to do I will be more than happy to help.
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  #2  
Old May 11th, 2008, 12:11 PM
Dakota Traveler's Avatar
Dakota Traveler Dakota Traveler is offline
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Hi JJDrive - Thanks for the post on your experience on the Musica. My wife and I will be boarding the Musica a week from today ( May 18). Your review along with the many others I have read over the past months has really aided in planning for our first cruise. I think we are as prepared as we can be and now just counting the minutes to we are there.

I do have a few questions that I was hoping you could answer for me.

Drinks with breakfast and lunches - only water. From other posts I understood that juices, tea and coffee was furished? Can you clearify for me, please.

How formal are formal nights. I plan to take a dark suit and my wife plans to wear long length dresses/dress pants. Will we fit in OK??

I know they offer wine/wine packages you can have for dinner. How about beer/beer packages at dinner??

Why did you specificaly say have your passport at Dubrovnik. We were informed by our travel company that our passports would be collected upon embarkation and delivered the day we disembark.

When you went Oia did you take the bus or taxi. We were thinking the bus would work, but I'm concerned about the bus being full when we want to return to Fira - did you have any problems?

Thanks

DT
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Past Cruises:

05-16-08 - MSC Musica, Rm 10052 - Venice & Greek Islands
1-31-09 NCL Pride of America, Rm 7662 - Hawaiian Islands ( Cut short due to Medical problems )
1-30-10 NCL Pride of America, Rm 7522 - Hawaiian Islands
5-11-10 - NCL Sun, Rm 9074 - Baltic Capitals
1-29-12 HAL Nieuw Amsterdam Rm 6146 - 14 day Caribbean
9-2-12 AMA AmaLegro- River's & Castles, Paris to Prague, Rm 330
1-25-14 NCL Pride of America, Rm 7540 - Hawaiian Islands




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  #3  
Old May 12th, 2008, 01:57 PM
JJDriver JJDriver is offline
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Hi DT, I'm glad the review helped. To answer your questions:

Yes, juice and coffee are served with breakfast. I'm not sure about tea

The formal nights aren't very formal. I wore a dark suit and most of the men there had on various color suits. I did not see any tuxes. For the women anything nice will do.

You can buy various drink packages. Ex. Water, Soda/Cocktail, all Cocktail, etc. You can use them anywhere on the ship including dinner. I think they average around 60 Euro.

The cruise line will keep all your passports until Dubrovnik and give them to you the night before. The customs agent will check everyone on the bus leaving the ship. You will be sent back to the ship to get it if you leave your passport. I assume because Croatia is not an EU country.

I'm sorry I think I said Oia in the review. We stayed in Fira where the boat dropped us off. The tender will drop you off at the base of the mountain and you can take a cable car or ride a donkey or walk up the mountain (586 steps). It comes out in the middle of town. We didn't have enough time to make it to Oia. If you want to see both you might want to consider an excursion as those people who don't take one will only have from approx 9:30 to 1:30 to see everything. The schedule says you have from 7:00 - 3:00, but the excursion people are dropped off at 7:00, then you sail to another part of the island, then you are tendered off according to numbers, and then the line for the cable car can be up to 45 minutes. We made it to the top of the mountain around 9:45 and our tender number was eight. Some people had number sixteen. The last tender to the ship leaves at 1:30.

I hope this helps some. Have a great time!
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  #4  
Old May 13th, 2008, 11:59 AM
Dakota Traveler's Avatar
Dakota Traveler Dakota Traveler is offline
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JJDriver - Thanks so much for the reply. Now perhaps my wife can feel a little better about what to bring to wear for formal nights.
I was looking forward to seeing Oia, may have to rethink and take the ship excursion.

Thanks again - DT
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Past Cruises:

05-16-08 - MSC Musica, Rm 10052 - Venice & Greek Islands
1-31-09 NCL Pride of America, Rm 7662 - Hawaiian Islands ( Cut short due to Medical problems )
1-30-10 NCL Pride of America, Rm 7522 - Hawaiian Islands
5-11-10 - NCL Sun, Rm 9074 - Baltic Capitals
1-29-12 HAL Nieuw Amsterdam Rm 6146 - 14 day Caribbean
9-2-12 AMA AmaLegro- River's & Castles, Paris to Prague, Rm 330
1-25-14 NCL Pride of America, Rm 7540 - Hawaiian Islands




Future Cruises:
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  #5  
Old May 16th, 2008, 01:08 PM
sarch99 sarch99 is offline
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Wink

A note re the water at dinner. You don't have to buy a water package. Tap water with ice is free for the asking.....you may just have to keep asking your waiter to bring it. Also, breakfast and lunch can be eaten in set dining rooms - it's menu service and usually not as crowded as the cafeteria. Have fun on your cruise. It was also my first cruise experience. While there were things that I didn't care for (embarkation confusion, for one), on the whole it was very enjoyable. One more thing.......if you get stuck with a high number for the ports where you have to take a tender, go on down a little earlier and you'll probably get one. Americans as a whole follow rules.......many Europeans do not and end up getting on tenders way before their number has been called. The people checking you out pay VERY little attention to what number you have.
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  #6  
Old May 22nd, 2008, 12:48 PM
Booked Booked is offline
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Location: Ontario, Canada
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Thanks so much for your review/info...we'll be taking the same cruise June 15th, and this is a great help re ports, etc.

For us part of Italy's charm is the wine, so we're wondering if we can pick up some local wine in Venice and Bari for sipping on our balcony?

Did you have any experience bringing a bottle (or two) back on board, or notice/hear about anyone else?

Also, I posted another thread but so far no replies - was there time to re-visit Venice after embarking on the ship. Although we're overnighting in Venice, our transporation from Venice hotel to ship is supposed to be in the morning.

Thanks again.
CA
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  #7  
Old May 30th, 2008, 10:24 AM
Dakota Traveler's Avatar
Dakota Traveler Dakota Traveler is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Black Hills of South Dakota, USA
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JJDriver - Thanks again for you post. We just returned from the Musica ( 5/18 - 25 ) and the information you furished in your post regarding the lack on time at Santorini resulted in our taking the MSC excursion to Oia. If we had tried to see Oia on our own I'm sure we would not had time. The excurision had us in Oia very early in the morning and we got to spent time enjoying what has to be one of the most beautiful sites of our trip.

This was the first curise for my wife and I. We found the Musica a wonderful ship and would book it again.

Booked - We did not bring any wine on board, but a friend managed to get a bottle of whiskey on board. I also bought a bottle of oyzo in Athens and kumquat liquor in Corfu and brought them back on ship in my day bag without an problems.

DT
__________________
Past Cruises:

05-16-08 - MSC Musica, Rm 10052 - Venice & Greek Islands
1-31-09 NCL Pride of America, Rm 7662 - Hawaiian Islands ( Cut short due to Medical problems )
1-30-10 NCL Pride of America, Rm 7522 - Hawaiian Islands
5-11-10 - NCL Sun, Rm 9074 - Baltic Capitals
1-29-12 HAL Nieuw Amsterdam Rm 6146 - 14 day Caribbean
9-2-12 AMA AmaLegro- River's & Castles, Paris to Prague, Rm 330
1-25-14 NCL Pride of America, Rm 7540 - Hawaiian Islands




Future Cruises:
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  #8  
Old June 24th, 2008, 02:46 AM
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tangles00 tangles00 is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Byron Bay Australia
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I know this post was going for a while but I just have to add a couple of things.

On our cruise on Musica (may 4) we had tenders to shore at Katakolo, Santorini and Dubrovnik. There were other ships in at the same time.

The excursion to Olympia was excellent and very very informative.

We found the food great and as far as drinks are concerned, breakfast and lunch there was water coffee and tea available and dinner you could ask for water and our glasses were always full. We had a beer package and a soft drink package as well so tht helped.

Santorini was great and easy to get around, after catching the tender, then the donkeys then hiring quad bikes we had a great day and saw quite a lot of the sights, we actually ran into some others off the ship who had been on an excursion and they had been dropped off in Fira to do some shopping quite a while before we got back and we all caught the same cable car back down.

In Athens we had already orgaised a tour with Athens Taxis and spent a lot more time and managed to see more sights than the people on the excursions (we arrived back on the ship just before sailing!!!)

To each his own as far as this cruise line is concerned, we enjoyed it immensely but we don't have a lot to compare it with but will definitely look at cruising with them again.
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Leonie

CTC Turkmenia Sydney - Auckland - September 1976
Blue Lagoon Cruises Yasawa Islands Fiji - August 1981
MSC Musica - Mediterranean - May 2008

Cruising the Med was fun!!!!!
Who knows where to next
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