I have sailed Disney, RCI, Carnival, NCL & Celebrity. Our ta suggested MSC for a quick (inexpensive) getaway.
I travelled with my adult daughter, booked a Bella inside with easy plus drink package, wifi, & gratuities. We sailed from Port Canaveral to Ocean Cay & Nassau. Here are our thoughts.
Embarkation: line up outside, then line up inside, then line up some more. Took about 90 minutes all in all. Dropped our luggage in our stateroom & went exploring.
The ship: it’s beautiful & clean but hard to navigate. There isn’t a deck where you can walk the entire ship outside. There isn’t anyplace at the front of the ship to stand unless you’re paying for the spa or yacht club. The pools & jungle area are great & the slides are fun.
Speaking of yacht club-there’s a definite “us & them”. Most of the time it didn’t bother us, but a few times when we accidentally crossed the line, we were made aware of our lack-of-status.
Finally, the elevators: that system might work in an apartment or office building, but it fails miserably on a cruise ship. We logged 10s of thousands of steps by taking the stairs most of the time.
Food: disappointing. We didn’t starve, but if you’re going for wonderful meals, this isn’t the place to go. We did not do any specialty restaurants. The buffet is poorly laid out. You have to peruse the entire place to not miss anything. At times, the buffet was scheduled as open but the only station available was pizza.
Stateroom: we were inside on deck 13, close to stairs. Spacious & clean. Beds are very firm. Attendant was ok, we didn’t request anything so we didn’t see him much.
Ocean Cay: highlight of our trip. It’s beautiful, walkable (lots of walking!). Lots of beaches to choose from, none ever felt crowded. There is a buffet restaurant (double check the open time! It closed at 1:30) and food trucks and bars, all included in our package. We snorkelled & kayaked. We were looking forward to the night light show but it was cancelled due to “technical issues”.
Entertainment: we enjoyed the music shows. Loved the last night when singers & dancers came out to chat with the audience. We did not go see the magician and heard from many folks that the show was high-school amateurish. There were many venues for varied music in the evenings.
Our last comment is about the staff. They are (mostly) efficient but not friendly or smiling. Service is basic at best. If you like the bartender to greet you with a smile, this isn’t the cruise for you. At our assigned dining venue, after the first night we were told with an arm wave “you know where your table is”. When asked what time it was open the next morning for breakfast, the maître d didn’t know (or couldn’t be bothered) and told us there was a daily planner in our rooms & we could look it up. We did write a so-so review of the snorkelling staff (they didn’t seem engaged with the clients and bordered on rude). MSC followed up our review with a phone call from guest services (at 9:45pm!). When we said we weren’t happy with the staff, they said “oh good, not us, excursion folk”. The only staff members who deserved a shout out were the kayaking staff who greeted us with enthusiasm, like they actually enjoyed their job.
Will we do MSC again? Sure, if the price & timing is right. But we’ll know better what to expect. We are happy to answer specific questions.