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nekzaadvakil

Anyone tried MSC Cruises?

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We did a 14 day Caribbean cruise, last September, on the MSC Seaside, in a YC Deluxe Suite and liked it so much, we are doing the same cruise this October. We booked it in January and paid about $2650, which included all taxes and fees, internet, gratuities, and a drink package that includes the minibar in the cabin. Business must be picking up as you don't see prices anywhere near that now.

From what we heard and saw, we wouldn't consider any other categories except the Yacht Club. Being a European based line, the vibe is different than the other mainline  cruise lines, but once you understand that, no problem.

We found the ship beautiful, the service normal, and the food pretty good, overall.

Hopefully the cruise in October will be the same.

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We have been on the Divina, the Seaside 3 times, and are booked on the Meraviglia for March 2020.  I would avoid the older ships and stick to the Seaside or Meraviglia class (or the Divina) if you plan to go.  We did the Seaside in November 2018 and March 2019, with the Edge sandwiched between in January 2019.  They are completely different experiences.  On MSC, if you really want to enjoy it, book at least an Aurea Suite, if not Yacht Club, and go in remembering that you are paying as much for this experience as you would for an inside cabin on Celebrity.  The food is decent, the service has gotten better, but obviously Celebrity is superior in both areas.  

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We have sailed twice on msc in a balcony and really enjoyed it, food was as good as Rccl,  drinks package was great value and free chocolate every evening in one of the bars made by the chocolatier was delicious. We will definitely book again, we were given their black card  and the perks were great, Janice

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, nekzaadvakil said:

We've been loyal to Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises all this while and we've always had some amazing holidays with them. Celebrity's S class ships are our favorite and we feel that its just right for us in terms of ship size, kind of cruisers on board and the overall upmarket but yet laid back feeling on their cruise ships. 

 

However, lately the prices on Celebrity have just been sky rocketing. We've been seeing & hearing some good things about MSC (especially their new ships - MSC Seaside and MSC Meraviglia). I went to check the prices and was pretty surprised to see some really good value. We usually cruise just once a year, so I don't want to risk having a bad cruise, but then you've got to take some chances right?

 

Has anyone here tried MSC lately? There were initial reports of the food not being as good as other cruise lines (which is subjective) and the entertainment being ordinary. We're a couple in our mid-late thirties from India, and our taste in food is a lot more American than European. 

 

Should we risk it or pay more and stick with Celebrity? 

 

Cheers!

 

Nick  

We've sailed 5 times with MSC, 4 on the Divina which is one of our favorite ships and 1 on the Seaside. Never a bad cruise, food is pretty good especially  with pasta dishes, pizza and in the buffet. Some of the best entertainment at sea but you won't find comedians because of the language differences, shows are more visual. The Italian night in the show room is fantastic especially when the tenor sings Time To Say Goodbye (Con Te Partio). The Michael Jackson show is fantastic.The last afternoon at sea they perform shortened versions of famous operas, the last one was Madam Butterfly, the show was so good it had us in tears. Some very good entertainment also in the lounges and in the Atrium. A lot of Europeans, Asians and South Americans. Some of them can be downright rude especially in the buffet line and getting on and off the elevators, but not enough to ruin your cruise. The cruise rates can't be beat, we have booked the Merviglia for next April at 500.00 each for an inside cabin and they are very good with upgrades. MSC which is owned by the 2nd largest shipping company in the world and has all the money they need. They have the best prices onboard for everything from drinks to photos, they don't gouge like some the lines. They also have a loyalty match program  were they match the highest level you have with another. Since we are Elite with Princess we were awarded with Black Card level before our first cruise, you have to prove your status with the other line. We were invited to 2 cocktail parties,, a free photo, 2 free dinners in a specialty restaurant, in our cabin we received a bottle of Champagne, chocolate covered strawberries and 2 replicas of the ship made with chocolate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by MISTER 67

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10 hours ago, Pier290 said:

Sailed MSC Seaside last November.  Been on Celebrity, Princess, NCL ......it was HORRIBLE!!!!! WORST SERVICE, FOOD AND SMOKING SECTIONS EVERYWHERE!!!! It was cheap and we tried it but never again.    Most of the staff didn't speak English so it was impossible to order a drink most of the time!!  Pool bar service took 20-30 minutes.....the pool deck was FILTHY with trash and litering.   So gross.  The ship is gorgeous and we had a huge aft cabin with wrap around balcony but NEVER AGAIN !  Such a waste of money.  The food everywhere was HORRIBLE.  I lost weight on this Cruise!!    Sailing on Celebrity Equinox in a month......for the second time.......now that's a cruise!😎🥂🌊

Wow.  We went on Seaside last August and this was NOT the case with us - we absolutely loved it, the staff was amazing and ALL spoke English to us.  The ship was probably the cleanest I've ever been on and the food was on par with Carnival and RC - not top of the line, but we always found plenty that we liked.  I also did not notice a lot of smoking areas, and we are not smokers.  We did not have the YT experience, I'm not into that, we just had so much fun and there was a lot to do.  We will definitely do MSC again. 

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To those who have posted so far, thank you for your comments. Really appreciate you guys taking some time to detail out your experiences. Keep them coming. 

 

I will certainly look at prices for the YC and see how they compare to Celebrity. Honestly I'm in 2 minds since Celebrity really is the perfect fit for us in terms of ship, the people sailing on it, the staff and the food/ entertainment. From the comments, I think it makes sense to keep my expectations low and hope for the best. 

 

I had read alot of negative comments about cruising out of China. We took the bait in June this year and did a 7N Japan cruise from Beijing. We kept our expectations low and we were absolutely blown away. The Quantum became DW's favorite ship (it helps that its very similar to Celebrity's S class ships). The staff were amazing. The food in the buffet was the worst of our 10 cruises (but that didn't really ruin our holiday)

 

I think I'll try a quick Med cruise on the MSC (a short 7N one) and check it out.

 

Thanks again for all your comments and assistance. 

 

Cheers!

 

Nick 

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I did the Seaside and Armonia in the past. The food is not as good as Celebrity, but I wouldn't say it's bad either. Their Customer Service team sucks, but I didn't have any issues with their wait staff or housekeeping staff.

 

I think people need to set their expectations for what they paid, especially during the promo days when you can get a balcony for $399 per person. with a drink package.

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Have sailed Princess, Celebrity, NCCL and were status matched to a Black Card on MSC. Our Mediterranean cruise on the Seaview was wonderful. The ship is huge but never felt crowded, the food was fine especially in the buffet and the easy drinks package covered decent wines and beers, coffees, water,  juices and worked very well for us. The crew were always available to help, the ship's excursions were the best we've ever been on, the cabin was spacious and spotless (balcony not yacht club), room steward excellent, shows short and of a very, very high quality. We're not big on cruise director activities and didn't really notice them happening. The central bar was very busy and made enquiries at the services desk difficult. Overall we loved our first MSC cruise and we'll definitely be back.

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Posted (edited)

The biggest problem for us on MSC was the lack of shade on the sundecks, there is little to none especially in their Yacht Club.  If you have many sea days I would definitely choose one of the Celebrity S class ships.

Edited by mickey89

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Yes, we have tried MSC (21 days on the Divina in the Caribbean) and enjoyed it so much that we quickly booked two future cruises on MSC.  Consider that we are Elite Plus on Celebrity and have zero future cruises with Celebrity..so perhaps that says a lot :).

 

As to describing MSC, it is truly a different kind of cruise product that folks seem to like or strongly dislike with not a lot of neutral opinions.  But keep in mind that MSC is like two cruise lines... one being the Yacht Club (we love it) and the remainder of the ship being more like Carnival then not!  Outside of the Yacht Club the MSC ships are what I would call high density.  Chairs on the pool deck are crammed against each other (no tables between) and on a hot nice day folks might feel like they are packed into a Sardine can.  On the Divina (and we are told on many other ships) there is very little shade on the decks.  The Lido buffet is expansive and has its good points and bad.  Our food in the Yacht Club ranged from fair to excellent and we heard from other cruisers that food in the MDR was only so-so...which would fall into the Carnival/RCI class.   Entertainment for the main shows is aimed at an international audience so you will not find comedians.  On MSC it is about music with some Cirque du Soleil-like stuff tossed in the mix.    While staff and service in the Yacht Club was truly excellent, outside of the Yacht Club we found service and staff ranged from excellent to just awful (and apparently under trained).

 

One mild warning to North American cruisers.  Even on their Caribbean cruises, MSC attracts many Europeans.  In fact, it is even possible that a majority of the passengers might not have English as their first language or even speak English.  It does seem that this is changing with their Caribbean cruises attracting a lot more Americans, but it still will feel much more International then a Caribbean cruise on Carnival, RCI, Princess, etc.  We actually enjoy meeting folks from around the world but we did hear some grumbling from fellow passengers.  

 

Hank

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We have sailed on MSC once, on the Seaside out of Miami and wouldn't hesitate to book them again.  The ship was striking and immaculate, the food okay, and the muster drill was one of the shortest we've ever attended.  The ship sails at 7PM to accommodate European arrivals.

 

There were a few quirky things, e.g. we couldn't get a sharps container from the cabin steward, but had to sign one out of the medical office along with leaving a $60 deposit.  It had to be returned by 4pm on the last sea day as well!!

 

We status matched to their highest loyalty level and enjoyed a few small perks with that.  Cruised in a mid ship mid deck fantastico balcony and were pleased with that cabin.

 

 

 

 

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Interesting post!  In 2014, we sailed the MSC Divina on a 10 night Caribbean (America's) cruise.  Our TA had not had any clients sail them, and had no real knowledge.  So we defied a bit of his logic and had him book us with a standard balcony (no Yacht Club), with beverage package.  I eagerly read every review on Cruise Critic, and decided it was worth the risk. We were NOT disappointed.  The ship was stunning, especially the crystal staircases.  It was amazing clean!  Some observations we had were:

  • the staff was excellent and friendly, and yes, spoke English.
  • some of the wait staff were delightful Ukranian folks, very pleasant to us
  • complaints sometimes seem centered on bartenders not paying attention.  However, we quickly realized that the bartenders (at that time) only poured the drinks.  If you want a drink, look for one of the servers.  Not a problem!
  • the production shows had 4 primary singers - 2 male/2 female.  Reminded us of Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli.  Big, but versatile voices from opera to pop. NO lip syncing...when they wandered out into the audience, I heard their actual voice while it was projected over the sound system when they walked past me.
  • If from the USA, you will be the minority.  We enjoyed meeting people from all over the world, and trying to converse (you can do it, and have a good time!).  Multiple language announcements were not a bother at all.  Enjoy it! Take it in!
  • You will see speedos!
  • Food is subjective, but we did enjoy it.  I would rate it lower than Celebrity, but we would not consider it a bad experience.

Bottom line...we do continue to monitor MSC, and may try the Seaside or even the Divina again.  However, we are building loyalty points with Celebrity, and it suits us fine right now.  Will continue to sail Celebrity, but would not be averse to doing MSC again!

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After years of cruising with Celebrity (Balcony, Aqua, SkySuite) we decided to switch to MSC for a Mediterranean cruise in April 2018 due to our now almost 3 year old family addition. MSC is supposed to be more child-friendly than Celebrity. 

She has food allergies and it was almost impossible to find a competent person to help us deal with it. The waiter in the MDR gave his best (was still clueless…) and we skipped to the buffet after night 2, where we fed her based on our experience and what we guessed would be ok for her. Also, passengers embark and disembark in each port so you never get the feeling of being on ONE cruise with fellow passengers. Our embarkation process was tedious! That on top of a totally crowded ship (Divina) and mediocre service and food throughout made us switch back to Celebrity, "child-friendly" or not. 

We've returned from our Celebrity cruise in Concierge Class less than a week ago and I still weep quietly when I think of our wonderful ship, the amazing service and all the staff and passengers, who made this cruise into one of our best yet (and YES, everyone was very kind to our little one!)! Not once in the 3 years with our DD have I been so relaxed about leaving her dining arrangements to somebody else, but even all waiters in Cafe al Bacio knew after day 1 that she was only allowed soy milk and brought her a babyccino as soon as they saw her. 

 

I know our circumstances are very different from the OP's (family vs. couple), but we cruised with Celebrity for years before becoming parents and I simply cannot recommend MSC from our experience last year. 

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On 8/17/2019 at 8:00 AM, Hlitner said:

 

As to describing MSC, it is truly a different kind of cruise product that folks seem to like or strongly dislike with not a lot of neutral opinions.  But keep in mind that MSC is like two cruise lines... one being the Yacht Club (we love it) and the remainder of the ship being more like Carnival then not!

 

   Carnival is the only line we dropped completely. Even our 3rd try was just due to convenience of homeport. We only have 2 cruises with MSC (Divina, Poesia), but never ever we felt like being on Carnival even though we did not sail in YC. Ambiance was so much better, ships beautiful, entertainment terrific. Food.. well neither line impressed us.

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Note though... MSC is now is not matching Diamond/Elite status to Black status, only to Gold.

If you do not cruise for 3 years with them status expires.

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On 8/16/2019 at 2:33 PM, MISTER 67 said:

We've sailed 5 times with MSC, 4 on the Divina which is one of our favorite ships and 1 on the Seaside. Never a bad cruise, food is pretty good especially  with pasta dishes, pizza and in the buffet. Some of the best entertainment at sea but you won't find comedians because of the language differences, shows are more visual. The Italian night in the show room is fantastic especially when the tenor sings Time To Say Goodbye (Con Te Partio). The Michael Jackson show is fantastic.The last afternoon at sea they perform shortened versions of famous operas, the last one was Madam Butterfly, the show was so good it had us in tears. Some very good entertainment also in the lounges and in the Atrium. A lot of Europeans, Asians and South Americans. Some of them can be downright rude especially in the buffet line and getting on and off the elevators, but not enough to ruin your cruise. The cruise rates can't be beat, we have booked the Merviglia for next April at 500.00 each for an inside cabin and they are very good with upgrades. MSC which is owned by the 2nd largest shipping company in the world and has all the money they need. They have the best prices onboard for everything from drinks to photos, they don't gouge like some the lines. They also have a loyalty match program  were they match the highest level you have with another. Since we are Elite with Princess we were awarded with Black Card level before our first cruise, you have to prove your status with the other line. We were invited to 2 cocktail parties,, a free photo, 2 free dinners in a specialty restaurant, in our cabin we received a bottle of Champagne, chocolate covered strawberries and 2 replicas of the ship made with chocolate.

 

On 8/16/2019 at 2:33 PM, MISTER 67 said:

Which of the three ships did you like best?

 

On 8/16/2019 at 2:33 PM, MISTER 67 said:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On 8/17/2019 at 9:27 AM, evandbob said:

The ship was striking and immaculate, the food okay, and the muster drill was one of the shortest we've ever attended.  

 

 

 

 

Funny you mention the muster drill. We didn't even go ..... We sat by the main pool with our kids with a drink while they swam. No one said a word then or thereafter ..... Best muster drill ever! LOL! 

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Posted (edited)

I’m curious about the shows in the evening. Do you have to book/reserve before boarding?  Headliners?

 

 

Edited by maggieq
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50 minutes ago, MisterMet said:

 

 

 

We haven't sailed on the Meriviglia yet. Love the Divina, the Seaside was OK but we felt they were going for the Millennials with loud EDM constantly in the Atrium, it was so loud that we could hear in our dining room.

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I have been on a few different cruise lines. We sailed the Divian last January 11 Caribbean 

Over half of the passengers were from Italy.  The food was not as good as Celebrity

We had 3 couples so we ate together.  We ate lunch a few times with other couples and they spoke very little English.  The ships bands were not good they had no brass sections in their band

All the shows had recorded music.

we had a good price so can not complain 

I would not cities with MSC again 

 

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1 hour ago, maggieq said:

I’m curious about the shows in the evening. Do you have to book/reserve before boarding?  Headliners?

 

 

No, not before boarding, but it is very easy to do on MSCs App at least on the Seaside after you board the ship. I made all our reservations before the ship even untied from the pier in Miami. Easy to change reservations later if needed.

 

All shows in the main theater are production shows so no "headliners". 

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Daughter is currently on Presiosa and is not overly impressed.

In a balcony cabin, the decor of which looked a bit dated by the photo she sent.

Embarkation took hours, their check in was 2pm and by 4.30 their letter had still had not been called! The hall looked chaotic and jam packed with people.

Announcements are in 5 languages so are quite long. 

She also said that they charge for ‘everything’, so obviously a lot of nickel and diming. 

Her overall comment was that they  would not sail MSC again. 

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