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Bluewake

Thoughts on First MSC Cruise

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We are relatively experienced cruisers, having taken about 25 cruises on various lines.  We'd become aware of MSC cruises from Florida but hadn't seriously thought about it until MSC offered the price matching program.   Because we had read some less than positive reviews about MSC on CC and heard similar things from neighbors who'd taken an MSC cruise two years ago, we still were reluctant.  But, despite our reservations, we translated our status on NCL to Black Member status on MSC and booked our first MSC cruise, a 10-night Eastern Caribbean on the Divina.  Off we went..and we managed to persuade our neighbors to join us!   We were very impressed and our neighbors have changed their attitudes as well.   Generally speaking, we thought that the Divina is a beautiful ship, not as "bright" as some of the Carnival ships (I suppose I really mean "gaudy or glitzy") and in great condition.   The passengers were an international group...many different languages could be heard throughout the ship.  We found it very interesting to see and learn about other cultures...a real plus in our opinion. We'd selected an inside cabin because we wanted to economize our "MSC test" and were very satisfied.  It was larger and in better shape than cabins we'd had on other lines.  Perfect for our needs. We found the crew to be very helpful and friendly.  The entertainment staff was incredibly talented...the shows far exceeded what we'd seen on some other lines.  Our only complaint was that the shows were all singing and dancing...perhaps it might have been nice to have a more diverse set of shows...although we do recognize that the language differences might be a factor in show selection.  We found the food in the dining room to be good.  I wasn't "drawn" to each entree (nor does that happen on any other line) but there always was something I did like and I found the portions appropriate, the entrees were warm/hot, and the taste was perfectly fine.   We did find that the buffet didn't compare to some other lines in terms of the variety of choices. But, we always found something to eat that was acceptable.  All in all, we have become MSC converts.   In our own subjective "rankings", we'd place MSC above Carnival and about equal to Royal Caribbean in terms of our overall experience.  In some ways, it actually surpassed Royal Caribbean and NCL (which we also like).  Of course, all this is subjective and based on a single cruise but if you are considering trying MSC, don't be deterred by what you might read on CC.  

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Bluewake may have been on the same MSC Divina cruise from which we just disembarked. We concur and will be posting a detailed review.

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Nice review. Glad you enjoyed the cruise. I find the mix of international passengersrs very refreshing. I have read reviews where some find it intimidating......😏 We loved Divina have sailed on her twice and are boarding Seaside in April. Ive always enjoyed MSC

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This sounds exactly like our sailing in January on Divina. Gave them a try, 1st cruise with MSC, and we liked it. Trying Seaside in August.

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5 hours ago, Markanddonna said:

Bluewake may have been on the same MSC Divina cruise from which we just disembarked. We concur and will be posting a detailed review.

Indeed, we were on the Jan 31st sailing of the Divina.  And, based on the other thread you started which contained your excellent detailed review, I think we must have crossed paths.  Orlando also was our waiter (first seating, table for four, upper level of the Black Crab); we also were in a square inside cabin, located in a separate hallway, on the "odd" numbered side of Deck 11; and we also were on the ferry that took us across the channel in Guadeloupe to meet our excursion bus going to the botanical gardens....although we were not on the same excursion based on your report of the harrowing bus experience you described in the Guadeloupe thread!

 

 I very much agreed with the points you made in your detailed review of the cruise in the other thread.   It seems that we both were on our first MSC cruise and came away with a similar positive experience.  The three aspects that we felt didn't quite compare to our experiences on other lines was the quality of the buffet, the variety of the shows (although the entertainers were exceptional!) and the somewhat limited activities available during the day.   But, these are relatively minor issues that by no means will deter us from cruising again with MSC.  Conversely, there were so many positive factors about our MSC experience that we now consider it to be one of our preferred choices.  And, we've booked another MSC cruise for August.

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Agree with the quality of the buffet and the limited activities.  We bring cards and dice games to entertain ourselves, but also enjoy dance classes.  

 

We must have passed each other several times each day!

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That is why everyone should go and form thee own opinion, we have been on 10 MSC cruises and a couple more booked.

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I am so glad to read something positive!! We will be doing our 1st MSC cruise on Preziosa in August & it's getting a little discouraging to read all the negativity!! We are long time Carnival Cruisers & wanted to try MSC due to the itinerary & Loyalty match. Hopefully, we will have a positive experience, as well!! We are going with an open mind!! Can't wait for this new experience!!

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Like the OP we/I had completed many cruises before taking on MSC!

My first was aboard the old QE2 and in the 2000-2017 period binged on US lines like Carnival, NCL & RCI.

Always saw MSC & Costa as similar and to be avoided.

Costa to be fair I still feel the same.

The MSC business model, their offerings, of course their vessels seduced me over time and through some heavy duty reading, even the mixed bag on CC, their migration to and future plans linked to the US finally nailed  it.

I'm hooked and would advise ANYONE to at least try MSC before discounting them as a line of choice.

Research their build plans, watch videos, Google the line from a deeper perspective than "the pizza wasn't piping hot in the buffet" or "they had anouncements in more that English", use some of the long term posters on here for their honest views and experience and you will be fine!

I love reading positives like this thread, not because I'm on any change the cruising world mission, but otherwise I find it awkward that others do not see what I see and experience.

Happy cruising and trust in MSC, even within the challenges they create ....like all the others you will know.

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We sailed 32 days on the Divina in December and absolutely loved it.  We are booked for 28 days on the Seaside this year and can't wait.  I take reviews with a grain of salt because most of the negative ones knit pick on things.

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On 2/13/2019 at 8:26 AM, Bluewake said:

In our own subjective "rankings", we'd place MSC above Carnival and about equal to Royal Caribbean in terms of our overall experience.  In some ways, it actually surpassed Royal Caribbean and NCL (which we also like).   

This is a similar assessment to mine. After our first MSC cruise on the Divina, I placed MSC a notch above Carnival and a notch below Royal Caribbean. However, after our last MSC cruise on the Meraviglia, I now place MSC at par with Royal, and this ship specifically at par with the Oasis class of ships. It was a wonderful cruise, with several “wow” moments like what we experienced when we sailed on the Allure.

 

With Meraviglia repositioning to the USA, and the creation of MSC’s private island, I think that many fans of the big 3 (Carnival, Royal, and Norwegian) in the USA will also become MSC converts. It’s a great product at very competitive prices.

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11 hours ago, lmtrn2001 said:

I am so glad to read something positive!! We will be doing our 1st MSC cruise on Preziosa in August & it's getting a little discouraging to read all the negativity!! We are long time Carnival Cruisers & wanted to try MSC due to the itinerary & Loyalty match. Hopefully, we will have a positive experience, as well!! We are going with an open mind!! Can't wait for this new experience!!

The three biggest negatives I keep reading about MSC are actually positives for us, which is why we booked.

 

Complaints:

 

1. Staff doesn't want to be your BFF. (Good! I don't need my waiter pretending to care about my day.)

2. Meal portions are too small. (Good! We waste so much food because we can't possibly eat those huge portions.)

3. Too many people speaking foreign languages. (Huh? Being exposed to other cultures is a bad thing, why, exactly?)

 

So, that's how we came to our decision to give it a try; sounds refreshing!

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8 hours ago, Kmkub said:

The three biggest negatives I keep reading about MSC are actually positives for us, which is why we booked.

 

Complaints:

 

1. Staff doesn't want to be your BFF. (Good! I don't need my waiter pretending to care about my day.)

2. Meal portions are too small. (Good! We waste so much food because we can't possibly eat those huge portions.)

3. Too many people speaking foreign languages. (Huh? Being exposed to other cultures is a bad thing, why, exactly?)

 

So, that's how we came to our decision to give it a try; sounds refreshing!

 

We read the same complaints and found none of them to be true in our experience.  The staff with whom we interacted were very friendly, but professional.   The portions were fine for us but one can always order a second appetizer or entree if one wishes.  Our waiter, Orlando, was very good...he always asked about our day but not in an intrusive way, responded to questions about the menu choices, and was very pleasant...not to mention a great waiter.  As for the language differences, we too don't understand how anyone could be bothered by something we consider a plus.  We had lunch one day with a couple who didn't speak a word of English but we managed to communicate a bit...kind of fun, in a way.   It never dawned on us to be bothered by that...why do so many Americans assume  or expect everyone else to speak English?   As we've been reflecting on our MSC Divina experience since being home, we actually find that our appreciation of the cruise is strengthening.  Very much looking forward to August on the Seaside.

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