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darmanad

If you are thinking of cruising MSC....STOP and reconsider.Better to take a drive!!

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I disembrked the MSC Armonia today. We sailed 7 days from Rio to Salvador and back. For anyone thinking about booking on this line my advice is DON`T!

 

I have been on 35 cruises on most lines from Seabourne and Crystal to Orient HAL Carnival Celebrity RCCL etc. I am knowledgeable and do not regard my self as a snob. I have no axe to grind. This was by far the worst cruise I have ever been on in absolute terms and in terms of value.

An inside cabin cost me about $300 per day per couple. I can usually get outside cabins on Carnival Corp and RCCL companies for that price or lower.

Without regard to price, the food was horrendous. Only breakfast you can get from room service is a continental one of bread and coffee. Other room service came with a charge. Breakfast buffet was scrambled eggs only sometimes with reheated hot dogs and/or greasy bacon or other unappetizing cold cuts. Canned fruit except for melon; white toast only- forget english muffins or bagels. Juice is like koolaid. No omelets. No variety day after day.

 

Lunch buffet was not much better. Seemed like the food was recycled. Dessets were bad. They advertise pizza....for Italians they ought to be ashamed of what they call pizza. Hotdogs (with strange rolls)and hamburgers at the grill...cheese anyone , relish or a pickle anyone - forget it. Food handlers often were not wearing gloves. I got the runs my last day. In the buffet lines and grill there are no food trays so you must carry a large dish and put everything on it. Forget about service. The waiters are there to clear the tables, nothing else. My wife and played cards for 4 hours at a poolside table on deck one afternoon and were never once asked if we wanted a drink.The ice cream bar was closed - I was told it wasnt profitable.

 

Dinner in the dining room was BAD. Service was marginal at best (can I please have a choice of salad dressing or must it always be oil and vinegar? - ever consider asking me if I wanted to exchange that plate I hadn´t touched?), but not as bad as the food itself. Pasta was served everyday , and with the identical mundane tomato sauce! Breadstick and roll ordinary - no bread tray. Soups all tasted same no matter what they were called. Over salted food. Meat as tough as shoe leather. Fish with scales not all removed. Some plates were downright inedible. My tablemates concurred.

.

 

Entertainment...the dance group were okay dancers, but the production values of the shows were poor. Costumes, lighting , props and decor all amatuerish. Music in the lounges was very limited and ordinary at best. No library or card room to speak of. On last day library was open 1 hour. It consists of about 2 feet of english paperbacks probably left behind by passengers. One spanish language scrabble set.

Tv in the rooms advertised pay movies.Thet were not operable in any language.Not much programming though we did get CNN for a while one day.The shops kept limited hours , but that was no problem as there wasnt tthat much offered.

The pool was always crowded because on this So American run there were/are loads of kids...to whom I have no objection. Just that it was noisy and crowded.

 

Embarkation ...don´t ask. We somehow got left off the passenger list. A friendly land agent of MSC ( I later learned) who didnt want to recognize his affiliation told me to go F my self as we frantically tryed to convince MSC staff we had indeed paid for this fiasco ( had I known what was in store I would have happily stayed ashore). When I complained to MSC management (after boarding and in a detailed written memo ) I was told they would get back to me. No apology was forthcoming.

As usual on many occasions the cabin attendant provided the best and in this case the only decent service. An oasis in a sea of incomptence and poor quality.

There has to be a better way to spend your money. MSC started as a freight moving line. I predict that they will get out of the passenger business in a couple of years. They will not be able to sell their product to or in the north american market...and I can´t see europeans forking over cash for this product when there are other options.

CAVEAT EMPTOR.

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Please accept sincere thanks for this post.

 

The fewer miserable minded people that sail with MSC the better.

 

They have a wonderful product that many of us greatly value and do not want to see changed.

 

IF MSC caters to its true market it can be even more successful than it has been to date. The biggest danger would be to try to change to something that it is not.

 

THANK YOU.

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I concur with you Czechmate. I would not expect pickles and relish and cheese on my hamburger. What does darmanad want a deli? I would not expect any other breakfast for room service, other than continental. What does darmanad want pancakes? After all, this is a cruise line that caters mainly to non americans and is going to be different in approach from the Miami and Fort Lauderdale cruise groups. He also laments about not being haunted poolside for a drink. I consider that a blessing! He should have known that Italians are generally not heavy drinkers, and enjoy wine with meals.

 

Too bad darmanad went on this cruise with a closed mind, and did not bend in his expectations.

 

I would love love to go on a cruise such as this.

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I am not really "miserable minded" (at least my wife tells me so) and I am not sure why czechmate thinks I am just because I have a low opinion of the MSC cruise I was just on. He attacked me , but I didnt see any factual comment on what I wrote about the MSC product. The facts were as follows.

The food was horrendous - little variety, low quality, and badly prepared. Waiters were not well trained.The entertainment was mediocre - the shows had poor production values. Bar staff and pool attendants not well trained- they did not properly attend patrons. The cabin, and particularly the shower, was tiny. That allows for a greater passenger capacity of 2080 on a smallish 58,000 ton ship. There were no library or card room materials to speak of. No appetizerrs in bar when ordering a drink or at any time. Pizza was worse than any improperly cooked frozen pizza I have ever had. MSC charges for room service snacks. Food handlers without gloves. Shops with wierd hours and few good products. The management was unresponsive to valid criticism and inept. For example, through no fault of our own we had not been assigned a dining room table and I had to wait in line 1 hour just to get one - not to change one mind you, just to get one because reception/dining room mgr would not othewise assign us a table even though we asked. Do you not find that offensive czechmate? Did your experience (s) with MSC differ? Please reply. I would be interested to know how often you have sailed with MSC and with whom else you have cruised.

I am not reallly clear on what you mean when you say "the biggest danger would be to try to change to something that it is not". What MSC is not is good. I´d guess that any change would have to be an improvement. If the purpose of these message boards is to share experiences for the benefit of fellow cruisers then I reiterate my advice - MSC has a lousy product.

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I never stops amazing me how some people will continue to rant and rave about "The Difference" in MSC versus other cruise lines. This cruiser had another bad experience as many of us have had with MSC.

 

The only difference I could see with MSC is the poor service, poor food, and rude staff onboard and at their corporate office. MSC does not disclose for a moment in its brochures that what is to be expected is a VERY budget experience. However, even with a budget line there is no excuse for the staff's attitude towards passengers both American as well as European.

 

There are many of us out there who wish we had "taken a drive" rather than be stuck on a ship like this for several days. Keep up the good work by spreading the word.

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All that some of us want is :

1. a fair and balanced presentation

2. the realisation that people are expressing only a personal opinion and not FACT

3. that people realise not everyone wants the same thing from their cruise

4. the realisation it is dangerous to issues "WARNINGS" and the advice "DONT" based only on your own opinion and experience.

5. that MSC does not become yet another mass market line like HAL NCL Carnival Disney et all. so become something that it is not and never should be.

 

People have the right to HATE MSC to never sail with the company again - they do not have the right to expect everyone to want the same as them and that changes are made to suit them.

 

You cannot buy a Fiat and then complain it is not the same as a Rolls Royce and the same goes for a cruise. People should do very thorough homework and if the product is not going to suit then do not buy.

 

We and many many others HAVE enjoyed on MSC excellent food, top class service. very courteous staff desperate to please the client, great entertainment night and day, high standards of hygiene and cleanliness - and all this in beautiful surroundings and at a very fair price.

 

We do not want to be waited upon hand and foot, hassled to purchase drinks, etc., go shopping and do so many of the other things that seem essential to others.

 

Whilst experiencing and enjoying ALL the many GOOD THINGS that MSC have to offer many of us have witnessed rude (ignorant) behaviour by demanding complaining fellow passengers and all conducted at a volume impossible to ignore. The intention is to either brainwash fellow passengers or be intimidated into believing they must be ignorant if they do not agree.

 

Darmanad - from your personal question to me I get the impression that you believe I am some sort of inferior being lacking in knowledge and not fit to voice an opinion. This board is not about ME - but this I will tell you and ONLY because you want an "answer"- I have lived on several continents. I have visited 119 countries in the world. I have stayed in top hotels in Asia/Africa/Europe/Australasia/Americas and Canada.

The best hotel service ever has been in Hong Kong and Kyoto/Japan and the worst in a 5*star Miami hotel. I have cruised with numerous companies. I

travelled between continents on some of the truly great and elegant liners of the past - and travelled 1st Class when a collar and tie were required at lunch and at second sitting dinner black tie was compulsory. I own not only a tuxedo but several dinner suits, a morning suit and a tail suit - and all get used. I have eaten superb delicious food at tiny road sign inns and bad food at top restaurants. I have seen shows on Broadway and in London/Paris/Sydney and have visited opera houses around the world. Like you I am not a snob nor am I pompous or arrogant and all this I mention simply because of your request.

 

My MSC experiences are VERY different to yours as is my opinion of the company. We could both be right we could both be wrong the difference is that I am not that presumptious to give ADVICE to strangers and certainly not "DONT".

 

As I said "Thank You" for your posting and I hope that you and Mr. Patrick Newell (NuHome) and his friends will continue to spread your word so that people who are not going to be happy with the MSC product leave those of us that are to continue to enjoy it UNCHANGED.

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Czechmate, I am a bit bewildered by your latest. Let´s try to be clear and sympathetic.

After calling me miserable minded you now accuse me of snobbism by suggesting I called you an "inferior being" just because I asked you for the basis of your impassioned defense of MSC. I don´t think you are an inferior being. On the contrary, your background seems impressive, but, really now, isnt the depth of your cruising experience relevant to your opinion?

The crux of the matter is the utility of these message boards to comment on our cruising experiences. I submit that I am entitled to not only have, but to SHARE an opinion so that others may perhaps benefit from my experience. And to lend credibility to my opinions I try to specify the facts supporting them. It certainly is not " dangerous " to do so and I do try to be fair. I am bewildered when you call me presumptive for sharing MY opinion whilst you tout MSC in such glowing terms as if you were the principle shareholder of the company. It is hypocritical of you to write:

" We could both be right we could both be wrong the difference

is that I am not that presumptious to give ADVICE to

strangers and certainly not DON`T".

This message board is replete with your postings glorifying MSC as the best thing since sliced bread. And because you admit MSC is a Fiat, not a Rolls, I don´t think your opinions are credible. At least they seem unsupported by the facts.

It is difficult to dispute tastes. Some people like chocolate, others vanilla. But most people would agree that when a food or a service falls within certain parameters it can be said to be bad or good. Like you say, a Fiat is not a Rolls Royce. It follows, and it is generally understood by experienced rational people, that in absolute terms a Rolls is indeed a "better" ride than a Fiat. So we do speak in terms of 'good' and 'bad' all the time and depending on how one´s opinion is presented it may or may not be reliable. Restaurant and theatre critics do it for a living. I do it cause I think it is beneficial to the cruising public....even though unfortunately no one has offered to pay me. And you do it too as even a cursory review of these message boards demonstrates. Please don´t call me presumptive if - just like you - I offer an opinion. And, in my case, an admonition not to board this ship from hell.

And in that regard, a few retorts to specific remarks proffered in defense of MSC´s product by you and others:

*I do not want to be "haunted" by pool attendants, but 4 hours passed without being asked if we wanted a glass of water or to buy a bottle. Is that the european approach or just plain lousy service?

* I don´t regard being waited on "hand and foot" as bad - if I can get it. But how about just considerate service -it was unacceptably rude to require me to wait in line to obtain a seating assignement when it was MSC´s fault I didnt have one. Are you suggesting MSC cruisers need to learn how to accomodate to this type of treatment?

* Yes, I would like pancakes for breakfast - or at least to have that CHOICE just as I would PREFER to have an option for a cheeseburger or a veggie burger or a decent hot dog and to have it with condiments of my choice. Or is that too ugly Americanish? ( I am an American expat living in Rio. On this cruise I enjoyed the largely Brasilian passenger contingent who I assure you like good food as much as anyone and who were generally disappointed as much as me).

* I am unclear of the relevance to this discussion of your comments about rude passengers (common to all cruising). Is that germane to the MSC product? You would nt be accusing me of that, would you? Or would you?

* Do you really contend MSC is NOT a mass market product? Of course it is. I don´t believe the Italian influence makes it otherwise.

 

In conclusion, for those who have not sailed on MSC and particularly the Armonia, I think it is fair to say that just about any other option would be better in this experienced cruiser´s opinion. Even a drive in the country.

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Darmanad - You must be right it could not be any other way.

 

I accept that on the basis of your opinion through 7 days spent on only one liner you have the right to condemn an entire cruise company.

 

I sincerely apologise for having a positive outlook and attempting to present a balanced picture.

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For those who might be interested in FACT please e-mail me and I will provide the details of (a) Buil and Dianes and (b) Pams VERY EXCELLENT web sites. Both of these sites contain information not only concerning MSC cruises undertaken but also other cruise lines experienced by these people. These sites are well worth a visit and neither is connected with me in any way.

 

There you will be able to read very detailed impartial and factual accounts listing good and less good points regarding MSC. You will also be able to peruse actual MSC menus and see that at breakfast english muffins, bagles, plus a range of other breads and pastries are available as are eggs prepared in various ways including fresh omeletes with various fillings - and the staff are happy to provide those not listed. You will also observe of mayo, sauces. etc. being available. (In fact if you read through some of the posts on these boards you will observe complaints that at breakfast not enough cream cheese was provided with the BAGLES and smoked salmon).

 

You will also find recorded reports of staff giving excellent service - the BEST ever -and doing everything they possibly could to help the customer. Unfortunately there are also accounts of passengers becoming angry simply as a result of a language misunderstanding. (As an aside - I always remember an "Oprah" TV show where she gave the excellent advice "NEVER argue with or upset those people who have to serve you food!")

 

By the pool raise a hand and service is provided without a problem - and so much more preferable to being constantly hounded and hassled - well to some of us.

 

You will observe too that fresh juices like cranberry, tomatoe, pineapple, apple are also provided. These were good enough for people to fill jugs and bottles to take to their cabins.

 

In the caribbean room service is - or was in 2003 and March 2004 - complimentary (a policy where I believe that MSC are WRONG. ALL passengers in ALL areas should be treated the same way). Of course this you would only know if you had cruised wih MSC in the caribbean.

 

I have to admit that if priority on your cruise is SHOPPING then MSC is not for you and probably the same can be said for gambling.

 

To me it is sad that Darmanad throws a fit of pique on another thread for the number of posts made by me when so very many of these were responding to pleas for info and providing help concerning ballroom dancing, bath robes, libraries, topless sunbathing, embarkation/disembarkation, etc and exchanging pleasantries and messages with people but then - just like on a cruise - on these boards you meet people of all types. Being sympathetic I will take the attitude that the expressed state of bewilderment was responsible for Darmanads use of poetic licence with his claims of being "attacked", exaggeration, being accused of "snobbisness", very selective reading, offense taking, hypocrisy and almost paranoia. I trust that he has now fully recovered and that he will thoroughly enjoy every moment of his next cruise.

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In doing an "edit" I unfortunately deleted the following. Apologies.

.......................................................................................................

The menus (and comments) will also show the variety of delicious pastas and sauces together with risottos available to the huge delight and enjoyment of many at lunch and dinner.

 

Noted also will be the amount of fresh fruit available including papaya, kiwi, grapes, pineapple, bananas, oranges and apples. Bowls of fresh fruit were also provided daily in cabins - as can be read in several of the recent posts regarding Opera.

.....................................................................................................

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For anyone thinking about booking on this line my advice is DON`T!

 

I have been on 35 cruises. I am knowledgeable .CAVEAT EMPTOR.

 

Expressing an OPINION?

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I trust that people reading these threads will make cruising decisions using their own judgment based upon whatever helpful factual info they can get. My experience was on the Armonia on 12/27. I was there. Czechmate was not. His impassioned defense of MSC is no doubt based upon his experiences with other MSC ships coupled with his own particular values- values which differ from mine. But I hope others will agree that it is silly of him to continue to attack me personally for critizing an MSC cruise which I experienced and he did not. Czechmate, I am sorry if it pains you, but the Armonia offered horrible food and service on my cruise. If you were there you might have a basis to argue the facts. It was so incredibly bad I would not cruise on any MSC ship in the future simply because any company that ran the Armonia as it was run is untrustworthy.

 

p.s. Based upon this thread and other of his messages I have read I think Czechmate lacks credibility and often rationality. But readers can form their own opinion of the soundness of his opinions. If you read his messages on other threads you will see that czechmate´s attacks on MSC management and others that negatively criticize MSC often smack of an offensive and illogical anti-Americanism. On board a ship it matters not to me whether there is an european influence - whatever that is. I just want value for my money and didnt get it on the Armonia.

 

p.p.s No doubt czechmate will reply to this with some furthering ranting and raving seasoned with personal attacks. I have no interest in continuing a debate about a cruise I experienced and he did not so I will bow out at this point.

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Dear Darmanad and Czechmate, please STOP !!

 

Unfortunately it is in our gene's (us men) that we will go on and on, til we reach ....????

So please ??

 

Greetings from the Netherlands, Henri.

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Just a quick note..

 

I have not been on the Armonia.

I have sailed on the Lirica and had a fun cruise.

Twenty months ago someone ran a red light and broadsided my car. I had a concussion, a fractured leg and the car was totaled.

Six weeks ago I hit a deer...$3700 damage to my car and no personal injury, thank you very much.

 

Conclusion...I'll stick to cruisin'!

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Czechmate, the web sites you mentioned and asked us to e-mail you if we wanted the other reviews? Well, your e-mail's shut off. So, could you e-mail ME the links:) , please? thanks!

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BENITAD

I have not shut off e-mail but another party did mention they had problems and I gave an alternative e-mail address. Ayway the e-mail is on way to you - and you will have lots of reading material! Enjoy.

 

I sincerely hope that your upcoming cruise will bring you the same pleasure as we have enjoyed.

 

NOCAPER

Sorry to hear about the latest costly incident. Only good note - no personal injury on this occasion. I realise that you have paid out a chunk on car repairs but what about trying to make Opera 2nd April? You deserve a little treat and some R and R and we would be pleased to have you aboard.

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Czechmate, So, could you e-mail ME the links:) , please? thanks!

 

Your cruisecritic profile says your specify no e-mails - so I have tried to e-mail you at the Yahoo Instant Messenger address. Hope that you will receive.

If not - then please let me know here.

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I don't know about the ship you were on but I write this from the LIRICA and I can tell you that life on here is SWEET!

 

Good food, lovely ship, pleasant crew, cheap drinks and wine, comfy cabin and at a very reasonable cost.

 

OK this transatlantic is a "shakedown" cruise and all the crew are new and are having to learn fast about how to work the ship and with each other but they are getting there!Its not perfect but then life isn't. I'd say it at least as good as QE2.

 

I will post a full day by day blow by blow report if anyone wants me to, it will be a true and factual account as it happened to us on this 17 day cruise, warts and all.

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OK, I'll add my 2 cents. We have been on MSC, We have been on approx 100 cruises. We have sailed on Crystal. We have sailed on Dolphin. Is MSC comparable to Crystal? NO. Do they try to be? NO

 

When onboard, the experience has a more European influence than American. Particulalry noticable at breakfast buffets. What they offer is exactly what you would expect for breakfast in any 4 star hotel in any large German, Austrain, Swiss, (any country other than Italy/France) city. My biggest complaint was that the line was not as "Italian" as I expected or hoped it would be. Some of our best cruise experiences were on the "Italian Line" ships of the 70's and we expected MSC to be more like them.

 

We found the dinners enjoyable, the pastas better than most other lines, but the desserts mediocre. The ship was clean, comfortable, staff accomodating, and the bar prices probably the least expensive of ANY cruise line. Would we go again, of course. Would be expect it to be like a Crystal cruise? Of course NOT.

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FYI, Folks:

 

We have the e-mail feature turned OFF.

 

If you want members to be able to e-mail you, you can include your e-mail address in your signature, so that it appears on all your posts.

 

To edit your signature, click on USER CP, choose the Edit Signature option.

 

Laura

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Claire, of COURSE we want the blow-by-blow. No holds barred, either. And I love how realistic your expectations are! I'm green:D ; wish I was there, but curious! Send us a postcard. And I'm sure I don't have to say ... enjoy, girl!

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hello czechmate,

 

hello read your comments with interest and would love to have access to the two sites you mention, would you email them to me please thank you

 

regards

Patricia

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Patricia I think one of the sites you want is http://cruiseclues.com/

 

If its their review of Lirica you are interested in please be aware it was 12 months ago and out of date.

 

Lirica is much better now, I speak from personal experience. I would book on Lirica again in a heartbeat.

 

Out of all the lines I have tried I think on balance MSC was most enjoyable overall.

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Hello mike, thanx for that link, will have a look. It is The Opera i am interested in, have got a cruise booked on the 11th June on The Opera. It will be my first cruise (first of many i hope) and just want as much info as possible. Have actually read more positive messages than negative ones. Will be my first holiday since my husband died two years ago and thought a cruise is a safe bet for a lady on her own, thank you again Regards Patricia

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