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PattiMerritt

Disappointed

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Just returned from the 3/19/05 sailing aboard the Opera and am extremely disappointed. While we both are well travelled (I having taken well over 60 cruises and he being the son of a cruiseship captain), nothing could have prepared us for this fiasco.

 

We'd read all the postings about the ship and decided to try it anyway. We are well travelled and actually looked forward to the different "environment" and were actually hoping to find something other than the traditional "american" cruiseline.

 

While cabin storage was remarkable (more than any ship I've ever sailed on) and cabin stewards were above reproach, water pressure was unbelievably strong, buffet staff were wonderful, and shows were outstanding; they couldn't make up for the rudeness we encountered from 95% of the crew, the disappointing food, the lack of 'adult supervision' over the crew, and an apparent unwillingness to pay attention to detail.

 

Days at sea were terribly boring -- if you didn't want to spend the entire day around the pool, you were on your own. Staff and crew would just as soon run you over as step aside. For things that were actually scheduled, they never turned out being in the location they were listed as being in.

 

The first evening, we advised the reception desk that our shower would not drain (we were standing in ankle deep water thru the entire shower) and that our sink was leaking. On the last day of the cruise -- with nothing ever being done -- we spoke with the American Social Host who advised us that she had the same problem. She said she'd called the plumber -- who actually came in to check out the problem but never repaired it. She finally suggested we do as she did: remove the drain cover and dig out whatever was blocking the drain.

 

All in all, we were extremely disappointed with the Opera and her crew. Needless to say, we won't be sailing her again -- nor will we ever suggest this line to anyone else.

 

You truly do get what you pay for.

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Patti--

 

Wow - Sorry you had a bad experience!

What category/cabin were you in?

I agree w/ you to a certain extent that some staff - particularly lower-ranking staff - aren't always the most outgoing, which I attribute to their lack of capability with the English language.

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Too bad you didn't enjoy it ... We had a great time, and truly didn't feel like it was a budget experience. But it really isn't for everybody, and to each his own, as I realized when my friends turned up their noses at the delicious tripe offered at the lunch buffet!:D

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I hate to hear about your experience, I just booked the Opera for next January. They have great single cruiser rates. I have never had a bad cruise, so I'm hoping for the best.

Terri

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Pattimerrit,

 

Were we on the same ship last week? I can't believe two people can have such incredibly different experiences on the same ship. My first MSC cruise and maybe I had low expectations but I had a fantastic week. I'm well traveled and most recently aboard the Holland America Zaandam.

 

The ship is stunning. Tastefully decorated, understated, spotlessly clean. Cabins are small but very functional. There is not enough noise insulation between cabins as we could hear everything our neighbors said, and did.

 

The biggest surprise for me was that every, and I mean EVERY employee of MSC I came in contact with could not have been more helpful or pleasant. We booked our cruise March 17 for the March 19 sailing. I booked directly with MSC and spoke with Jeff in reservations. He was very helpful and even offered to meet us at embarkation in Ft. Lauderdale since we were uneasy showing up without any paperwork.

 

Embarkation was a breeze. I was traveling with my wife and two children, ages 7 and 9. Jeff DID meet us there and helped check us in.

 

I just cannot believe that you had such a negative experience because I was so impressed by the service we had.

 

Some high points........

 

Reception Desk. Never a line as there always seemed to be four or five young ladies working the desk. Always pleasant and helpful.

 

Housekeeping. We opted to pay to upgrade our room to a suite and the process was simple and painless. A warm and friendly Ola handled everything. When we moved cabins, our old cabin steward helped us pack and had a bellman to take our bags for us.

 

Room service....Although the menu was limited, we never waited more than 10 minutes for our order. Maybe it was because we were in a suite but we were barely done hanging up the phone and it seemed they were already knocking on the door.

 

Dining Room.....Our waiter, Francesco, very serious about his job and very kind to our children. We didn't feel like he was putting on any kind of facade for a tip. He was very genuine and gave us great service.

 

Food.....with the exception of the chinese buffet, (awful), I enjoyed the food. The best pizza I've EVER had. No kidding. Also, the breads and pastas were incredible. It seemed they did Italian foods best and when they tried to please the North American passengers tastes, they didn't hit it out of the park. But oh, those risottos and pastas.

 

Maintenance.....We called about a hallway door that wouldn't stay shut and was banging from the wind. It was fixed an hour later.

 

Cabin Steward.....Willy mistakenly threw away our daily programs we had been collecting all week. When I asked him about it, he was very apologetic and asked me if he could have a few minutes to figure out what to do. We left our cabin for a walk an when we returned, New programs from the entire week, stacked neatly on our desk in the room. Our cabin was at the front of the ship and I liked to lay on a lounge chair in the evening. Willy must have taken notice because he started leaving a blanket and pillow for me each evening.

 

Children's Program.....We were concerned the program wouldn't measure up to the Holland America program which our kids LoVED. This was less organized but the counselors were wonderful to our children and they had a great week. Carolina was our kid's favorite and she really has a gift for making kids happy.

 

Animation Staff......this dissappointed me. I was impressed at what a big group of staff members they had to entertain passengers but I found much of what they did corny and silly. They should turn down the mic at the pool to a reasonable sound level so they are not so obtrusive.

 

I was even impressed with the security employees. We came in contact with them everytime we got on and off the ship and they were helpful with the kids and patient with us as we never seemed to have our cards ready to scan.

 

The shopping on board was disappointing but it prevented my wife from spending too much money.

 

Both my wife and I kept commenting to each other all week how very refreshing it was find pleasant, charming, people offering understated service.

 

I liked that the ship never felt crowded, quite the opposite. And I like those days at sea with nothing to do.......that's why we cruise, to relax and unwind. But I can understand how you could be wanting for more activities. But I liked the peace onboard.

 

Every cruise I've been on, and there have been many, there always are rude, uninterested employees I have had to deal with. This was not the case on the Opera and that was such a pleasant surprise.

 

I know you are not the only one who had a bad cruise because I spoke with someone during disembarkation who is a travel agent having been on twenty eight cruises and he found fault with everything.

 

I will agree that it is not a Premium cruise experience on par with a line such as Celebrity. There just aren't the same amentiies offerred. But we had the best service from the people on board that we've had on any cruise line.

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Nevis--

 

 

Sounds like we had more similar experiences and feelings about Opera.

Francesco and Willy were really good, weren't they?

 

And I agree - seems like all the entertainment was way over-amplified!

 

Glad you enjoyed your vacation!

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Pattimerrit,

 

Were we on the same ship last week? I can't believe two people can have such incredibly different experiences on the same ship. My first MSC cruise and maybe I had low expectations but I had a fantastic week. I'm well traveled and most recently aboard the Holland America Zaandam.

 

The ship is stunning. Tastefully decorated, understated, spotlessly clean. Cabins are small but very functional. There is not enough noise insulation between cabins as we could hear everything our neighbors said, and did.

 

The biggest surprise for me was that every, and I mean EVERY employee of MSC I came in contact with could not have been more helpful or pleasant. We booked our cruise March 17 for the March 19 sailing. I booked directly with MSC and spoke with Jeff in reservations. He was very helpful and even offered to meet us at embarkation in Ft. Lauderdale since we were uneasy showing up without any paperwork.

 

Embarkation was a breeze. I was traveling with my wife and two children, ages 7 and 9. Jeff DID meet us there and helped check us in.

 

I just cannot believe that you had such a negative experience because I was so impressed by the service we had.

 

Some high points........

 

Reception Desk. Never a line as there always seemed to be four or five young ladies working the desk. Always pleasant and helpful.

 

Housekeeping. We opted to pay to upgrade our room to a suite and the process was simple and painless. A warm and friendly Ola handled everything. When we moved cabins, our old cabin steward helped us pack and had a bellman to take our bags for us.

 

Room service....Although the menu was limited, we never waited more than 10 minutes for our order. Maybe it was because we were in a suite but we were barely done hanging up the phone and it seemed they were already knocking on the door.

 

Dining Room.....Our waiter, Francesco, very serious about his job and very kind to our children. We didn't feel like he was putting on any kind of facade for a tip. He was very genuine and gave us great service.

 

Food.....with the exception of the chinese buffet, (awful), I enjoyed the food. The best pizza I've EVER had. No kidding. Also, the breads and pastas were incredible. It seemed they did Italian foods best and when they tried to please the North American passengers tastes, they didn't hit it out of the park. But oh, those risottos and pastas.

 

Maintenance.....We called about a hallway door that wouldn't stay shut and was banging from the wind. It was fixed an hour later.

 

Cabin Steward.....Willy mistakenly threw away our daily programs we had been collecting all week. When I asked him about it, he was very apologetic and asked me if he could have a few minutes to figure out what to do. We left our cabin for a walk an when we returned, New programs from the entire week, stacked neatly on our desk in the room. Our cabin was at the front of the ship and I liked to lay on a lounge chair in the evening. Willy must have taken notice because he started leaving a blanket and pillow for me each evening.

 

Children's Program.....We were concerned the program wouldn't measure up to the Holland America program which our kids LoVED. This was less organized but the counselors were wonderful to our children and they had a great week. Carolina was our kid's favorite and she really has a gift for making kids happy.

 

Animation Staff......this dissappointed me. I was impressed at what a big group of staff members they had to entertain passengers but I found much of what they did corny and silly. They should turn down the mic at the pool to a reasonable sound level so they are not so obtrusive.

 

I was even impressed with the security employees. We came in contact with them everytime we got on and off the ship and they were helpful with the kids and patient with us as we never seemed to have our cards ready to scan.

 

The shopping on board was disappointing but it prevented my wife from spending too much money.

 

Both my wife and I kept commenting to each other all week how very refreshing it was find pleasant, charming, people offering understated service.

 

I liked that the ship never felt crowded, quite the opposite. And I like those days at sea with nothing to do.......that's why we cruise, to relax and unwind. But I can understand how you could be wanting for more activities. But I liked the peace onboard.

 

Every cruise I've been on, and there have been many, there always are rude, uninterested employees I have had to deal with. This was not the case on the Opera and that was such a pleasant surprise.

 

I know you are not the only one who had a bad cruise because I spoke with someone during disembarkation who is a travel agent having been on twenty eight cruises and he found fault with everything.

 

I will agree that it is not a Premium cruise experience on par with a line such as Celebrity. There just aren't the same amentiies offerred. But we had the best service from the people on board that we've had on any cruise line.

 

 

Could you elaborate on how your kids enjoyed the cruise? I am considering this line for next March with my children (5&7) the kids club is a big deal for them. They loved Camp Carnival this year and would be dissapointed if they did not have a good program. Were there very many other kids on the cruise?

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How fortunate for you, Nevis!!! I wish we'd had had your experience!

 

We tried room service twice: the first time we were told it would take an hour and a half for a fruit plate.... the second time, we got our order within about 15 - 20 minutes.... Unfortunately, we had to share one sandwich between the two of us...it was all that was delivered!

 

Other than reporting plumbing problems (which were never responded to) to the reception desk, we only had one other encounter with them: asked what time the purser's office would be open -- we were told -- and I quote: "their hours on their desk - go look." On the last night of the cruise, we went to the photo desk at 10:45 (immediately after dinner -- which started at 8:30)... only to find it closed. Departure morning, I went back down - hoping to pick up our cruise CD -- and was told I was a "liar." That the staff didn't leave till well after 11:15 and that I should use the ship's clock in the future. Jay quickly changed the subject when I pointed to the clock just outside the window and informed him that it was the clock we used.

 

I'm a former "cruise only" travel agent and my partner grew up on a cruiseship as his step-father was a captain.... we've both learned to expect anything -- and are usually prepared for it. I don't think either of us expected the attitudes we received.

Maybe the crew just doesn't like short blonde women?? :p

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Abbyndrewmom,

 

Our first impression of the children's program was negative as they seemed vague and arbitrary about what the program would entail and what the rules are. My daughter is 7 so she was in the Buffalo Bill Room which required parents to sign in and out when picking up or dropping off. It's a nice room with lots to do for the kids. The junior program is 9-12 year olds and my son is just 9. They meet on the pool deck and are free to come and go as they please. This concerned me a lot but found that my son never wanted to leave so we always knew he was with the counselors.

 

Being that it was Spring Break, there were a good number of kids but probably not what you are used to on Carnival. We were on a Holland America ship last year and the ratio of kids to adults was about the same. There were plenty of 9 year old boys for my son to meet and enought 7 year old girls for my daughter.

 

One negative. Every afternoon as an activity, the counselors would take the kids for pizza or ice cream. The first afternoon, I found my son and daughter sitting at a table on their fourth piece. This wouldn't have been a big deal except for the fact that it was 4:30 and we ate dinner at 6:00! After that, we asked both kids to skip the pizza and icecream late in the afternoon.

 

The strongest aspect of the Children's Program on ship is definitely the counselors. Different backgrounds and nationalities that shared one thing in common, a warmth and love for children.

 

So although there were some aspects of the program I didn't care for, our kids are the true critics and they absolutely loved it and had a wonderful time. I guess that's the best advice I could give you.

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Pattimerrit,

 

 

Sounds like you were cursed with a string of rudeness. If the someone at the reception desk had treated me the way you were treated, I would have gotten their name and reported them because I'm sure that is not someone the cruise line wants dealing with the public. And being called a liar? Don't take that from anyone! I'd have that person's name too.

 

I guess we were lucky that we didn't cross paths with those people but it just goes to show how many factors can play into someone's overall cruise experience. I tend to have a zero tolerance policy towards rudeness from someone paid to deal with customers so I know how upsetting it can be.

 

You should write a letter to MSC about your experience and depending how they respond, give them another chance in the future.

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Sorry for your bad expereince. I was on the same cruise as Brian and we had a ball! And never anyone rude. Everyone was very gracious. As Brian said, some of the lower level staff did not speak English and that can be frustrating, but overall everything was good. We had a couple of sailaway parties and the cabin steward and his helpers were always willing to bring glasses or whatever we needed and then came and took it all away.

 

I'm certainly going again.

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Abbyndrewmom,

 

Our first impression of the children's program was negative as they seemed vague and arbitrary about what the program would entail and what the rules are. My daughter is 7 so she was in the Buffalo Bill Room which required parents to sign in and out when picking up or dropping off. It's a nice room with lots to do for the kids. The junior program is 9-12 year olds and my son is just 9. They meet on the pool deck and are free to come and go as they please. This concerned me a lot but found that my son never wanted to leave so we always knew he was with the counselors.

 

Being that it was Spring Break, there were a good number of kids but probably not what you are used to on Carnival. We were on a Holland America ship last year and the ratio of kids to adults was about the same. There were plenty of 9 year old boys for my son to meet and enought 7 year old girls for my daughter.

 

One negative. Every afternoon as an activity, the counselors would take the kids for pizza or ice cream. The first afternoon, I found my son and daughter sitting at a table on their fourth piece. This wouldn't have been a big deal except for the fact that it was 4:30 and we ate dinner at 6:00! After that, we asked both kids to skip the pizza and icecream late in the afternoon.

 

The strongest aspect of the Children's Program on ship is definitely the counselors. Different backgrounds and nationalities that shared one thing in common, a warmth and love for children.

 

So although there were some aspects of the program I didn't care for, our kids are the true critics and they absolutely loved it and had a wonderful time. I guess that's the best advice I could give you.

 

My daughter is also 7 and s ivery social so I am sure she will fit right in, DS 5 is pretty shy so I do like that they will be in the same group. Were there many of the younger kids on board (3 &4.) 3 to 8 seems like a huge span for the kids club. Did this group ever leave the kids club room? With Carnival DD was all over the ship where as DS stayed mostly in the same room. How were the hours. Even though it is a family vacation I do enjoy having some quite time to go up on deck, read and enjoy some Mommy time. Do you remember what the evening hours were and do they have late night babysitting.

 

Thank you so much for taking the time to respond. I really haven't been able to find too much our about the MSC kids program so I really appreciate your comments.

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Allison,

 

 

Even though the toddlers shared the same room, there was a seperate group of 5-8 year olds that had their own activities. To be honest, I don't remember seeing many kids under 5.

 

There is babysitting available in the evening but we didn't use it so I cannot comment. We didn't need it because there were activities with the kid's program from 8-11pm every night. It worked out great with early dinner at 6:00, we'd finish up, go for a stroll and drop them off at Buffalo Bill Room.

 

They 5-8 year olds spent most of the time in the BB Room and would leave occasionally for pizza or icecream or miniature golf. They would always leave a sign on the door in case you would come looking for them.

 

There were lots of scavenger hunts, trivia contests, etc. and our kids won lots of fun prizes, (logo hats, CD holders, backpacks).

 

Also, the counselors were very liberal about allowing a child to jump up to the older group or down to the younger group if the activity interested them. The only rule was if my 9 year old wanted to joing the 5-8 year olds, we had to sign him in and out.

 

FYI, the pool on ship is salt water. Some ships have freshwater as did our cruise last year. Our kids didn't care for the salt water pool.

 

Our kids don't nap but with a lot of late nights and being on the go, we used the 3-6pm slot for some down time in the cabin.

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Thanks again for the information. the kids club going to 11 pm is great. Carnival's only went to 10:00 pm and there were a couple of nights I would've liked to stay out a little later but didn't want to pay the extra money. 11:00 pm would be great. You have really eased one of my major concerns about sailing with them.

 

Did your children eat off the kids menu's? Do you remember some of the items on it. On Carnival my kids lived on Pizza and Chicken Nuggets. I would have loved to see some pasta dishes or other food choices on their menu.

 

Carnival also had salt water pool so at least it won't be a surprise for my kids. We bought goggles and warned them to keep their mouths closed!!

 

Thanks again for the great info.

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The kids menu had spaghetti on it along with pizza, chicken, etc. My son ate off of the adult menu and my daughter mostly ate off the adult menu unless there wasn't anything appealling to her. The good thing about the pasta course is that if the kids didn't like what was the main entree offerings, they were always pleased with pasta, lasagna. You'll find plenty to keep them happy on the adult menu.

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Concerning the insulting treatment reported by PattiMerrit, Nevis92 wrote:

"You should write a letter to MSC about your experience and depending how they respond, give them another chance in the future."

Forget about it. MSC management is clueless bordering on crass....which is exactly why there is such a high incidence of unacceptable conduct by MSC staff and crew. No other cruiseline suffers from the number of horror stories that MSC passengers have reported. This cruiseline should have stuck to freight.

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I hate to hear about your experience, I just booked the Opera for next January. They have great single cruiser rates. I have never had a bad cruise, so I'm hoping for the best.

Terri

 

Terri, To each their own. Go, have a good time and enjoy the difference that is "the Opera". At first, I thought I would never sail with them again,(we were on the 10 day Christmas cruise '04) but by the end of the cruise, I had changed my mind. You have to be open minded to enjoy this cruise. I enjoyed the Italian flare as it was different from what I had experienced before.Yes, I encountered problems, but that didn't bother me...Nothing in life is perfect and I just went with the flow. I made my suggestions on the card at the end of the cruise. I think next winter cruise season will be even better! If you like being at the back of the ship, check out decks 7-10 (I think) as there is a place to sit in the very back of the ship and just watch the water behind you. It is very calming! Terri (Tez)

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As Tez said, go and enjoy yourself. A cruise is what you make it. Every cruise, as every vacation, will have minor glitches but on MSC you will have many more rewarding experiences. If you go with an open mind to enjoying new experiences and friends, you will have a wonderful cruise. I was on the Opera at the end of Feb and would go again in a heartbeat. It was my favorite cruise, and I've been on several lines including Carnival, Cunard, HAL, Princess, Royal Caribbean, and NCL. And I agree that next year, with the experience of sailing the Caribbean this year, MSC will be even better.

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As MSC draw to the conclusion of their 7th season in the Caribbean it is hard to imagine that they can get better.

 

Some of the plans we heard for the future could do just the opposite! That would be a huge shame.

 

The staff everywhere were wonderful and could not have been more polite or wanted to do more to help and give you a great cruise experience. At the conclusion of the cruise we had a horrible situation with the Information Desk and encountered rudeness and obstreperous behaviour but let that spoil my overall cruise experience???? NO WAY! When there are 1000 good things to enjoy what matters about the other 10.

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Cruisers,

I fully agree with Czechmate, was with him om the Tansatlantic 02-april-2005:D.

As about the languages. You (very many Americans, almost no Englishmen) complain about the bad English of the crew.:(

But.... they (crew, except Cruisedirector(s), reception) did not even speak German, Dutch, French, (some, good)Spanisch, and even Italian (on an Italian line) :mad:. And more..... some of the Philipino's did not even speak Indonesian/Maleissian :mad:.

That's to bad.

On our former MSC-Cruises in Med, with a majority of sometimes French people, sometimes German, sometimes Swedish there were never complains about the languages:confused: .

Henri.

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Cruisers,

I fully agree with Czechmate, was with him om the Tansatlantic 02-april-2005:D.

As about the languages. You (very many Americans, almost no Englishmen) complain about the bad English of the crew.:(

But.... they (crew, except Cruisedirector(s), reception) did not even speak German, Dutch, French, (some, good)Spanisch, and even Italian (on an Italian line) :mad:. And more..... some of the Philipino's did not even speak Indonesian/Maleissian :mad:.

That's to bad.

On our former MSC-Cruises in Med, with a majority of sometimes French people, sometimes German, sometimes Swedish there were never complains about the languages:confused: .

Henri.

 

Thank you, Henri, for putting this in perspective.

 

Kyle

in L.A.

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Kyle (stowaway2k),

 

thanks for the compliment. This was also the meaning.

Still one (really happend) liner regarding languages.

At the instance of a lot of American cruisers, some years ago, Celebrity decided to hire Michel Roux, because of the request for "Haute cuisine", resp. "Nouveau cuisine". He a famous man and make the menu's.

But.....when all was set and the menu's came in the diningrooms, and the menu-lists were in Frech (just right as it should be), they (Celebrity) were overloaded with complains, because it was not understood what the menu's are !!!

 

So,.. you see, it's very difficult to please people, sometimes.

Henri.

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So,.. you see, it's very difficult to please people, sometimes.

Henri.

 

Wasn't it Abraham Lincoln who said something like

 

"You can please some of the people all of the time,

you can please all of the people some of the time,

but you cannot please all of the people all of the time."

 

This may have been said 140 years ago, but it's never more true than on a cruise ship! icon12.gif

 

Kyle

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Thanks again for the information. the kids club going to 11 pm is great. Carnival's only went to 10:00 pm and there were a couple of nights I would've liked to stay out a little later but didn't want to pay the extra money. 11:00 pm would be great. You have really eased one of my major concerns about sailing with them.

 

Did your children eat off the kids menu's? Do you remember some of the items on it. On Carnival my kids lived on Pizza and Chicken Nuggets. I would have loved to see some pasta dishes or other food choices on their menu.

 

Carnival also had salt water pool so at least it won't be a surprise for my kids. We bought goggles and warned them to keep their mouths closed!!

 

Thanks again for the great info.

 

We Traveled on the opera with our 4 year old boy and 9 year old girl on the Feb 5 cruise. Our experience was much different. Our 9 year old was bored. There was no childrens menu. I don't know if the childrens menu was just for spring break or if we just had lousy dining staff.

The video game room was empty (no games at all). There were only 12 other children on the cruise and this included 3 babies. The group for kids 9+ only met twice (due to lack of attendance I would suspect). My daughter had to go to buffalo bill instead. There weren't a bunch of contests and prizes. The one contest they did have was for shirt painting (daughter loved it) our son did not participate because they placed so much emphasis on winning he said he would of been sad if he had lost.

 

We ordered a hamburger once for our son and actually got a hamburger (no bun). The buffet dinner was bad for the kids, we would often go through it and all my son would have on his plate was a bun

 

I would suggest if you are going to go, make sure it is during school holidays, they seem to do more for the kids then.

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While I have never sailed on MSC, I sailed on Royal Olympic in 2003 and also on Costa the same year. The entertainment and service from the crew on both cruises, was way below what we have come to expect from the N American Cruise Lines.

 

From what I have read , it seems that the MSC experience is similar to what we encountered on COSTA and ROC. Perhaps Europeans in general are more easily entertained, and don't expect to be treated with respect by the crew , whose job it is to serve them.

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Too bad you didn't enjoy it ... We had a great time, and truly didn't feel like it was a budget experience. But it really isn't for everybody, and to each his own, as I realized when my friends turned up their noses at the delicious tripe offered at the lunch buffet!:D

I appreciated the wonderful pictures you posted! Also you showed a cruise is what you make it! I am traveling with QVC this coming January and I hope to have just a fraction of the good time you did. As a nice, Italian girl I am sooo ready for the foods - even the tripe!

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Hey my 2cents. Two cruises each Lirica and Opera Carribean ,see they are dropping Antiqua this up coming season. Never had any rude service crew.The Reception desk is another story Opera better than Lirica they both need attiude adjustment 101, OR maybe you have to think in a Italian mode. Have always enjoyed MSC cruies.

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