The sail away was anticlimactic with no special fanfare whatsoever. I kept looking for the steel drum band...nothing...not even a group on shore to wave us a goodbye. That was a bummer.
The food was well presented and contrary to what I have read, the steaks were not over cooked. My sons order Filet or Sirloin nearly every night. They enjoyed it. I had the Filet Mignon and although it was thin, it was tender and juicy. We ate in the dining room every evening except one. Our wait staff asked each day if they would see us tomorrow. We had purchased the wine package and thoroughly enjoyed the selection of wines on the list. If any of our Pinot Grigio remained, it was chilled and brought out for us the next day. The desserts were tasty with the creme brulee, tiramisu and white chocolate torte being some of our favorites. The baked Alaska night was done up right with big parade. It was the best Baked Alaska that I have ever had!
We purchased 3 pictures from the photo shop for $20 each. The photographers were professional, fast and friendly. Our family photo was touched up to soften our imperfections. That is a nice touch that we would pay extra for back home.
Lounger hogs do not exist on this cruise because they have lounger police!
Pool deck assistants help set up your chair and assist you with the somewhat complicated contraption. They watch their section of the deck and close up unattended seats and remove the towels.
I love that we never encountered drink pushers...not on the pool deck, bars, lounges or theater. They were around if you needed them but never pushy.
The New Years Party was well planned. Nearly every passenger crowded the pool deck to watch all the entertainers take part in the show. At midnight there was a free champagne toast, a big balloon and confetti release, and a 2009 sign lit up the front of the ship. The midnight buffet was full of pastries, cheeses and other appetizers.
Drink prices on MSC were decent. $5.50-$6.50 for cocktails and $3.50 for beers with gratuity already worked in. I loved the Martini bar and Coffee bar. They always served the drinks with bowls of peanuts, trail mix, olive/pepper mix (that I am still craving) and/or potato chips.
After all these good experiences, I must admit that we will not likely return to MSC. There were several negatives that made me wish that I was on board a Princess ship.
We really missed Movies Under the Stars and the fresh water pools. I also didn't like the single file system of the buffet lines. I like the stations on Princess and Royal Caribbean. The food, buffet and dining room, was not as good as Princess or Royal Caribbean. The entertainment options were not as varied as RCCL or Princess. I missed real piano music without synthesizers. The times in port were crummy...often too short to enjoy our excursions without rushing. This was made worse when our tender ticket numbers were 20 and 22...basically the last bunch. I could go on and on about how lousy the tender process was but some of the problems are because passengers cut and don't abide by the rules. This is no fault of MSC...just rude passengers.
I am open minded and love meeting folks from all walks of life and cultures. However, I did grow weary of the cruise director giving all previews or credits in 5 languages. Otherwise, the multi cultural experience was a plus. I loved watching how different cultures enjoy family meals, games, beach activities, etc. We are all different but in many ways much the same.
Any questions that I can answer?