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trainbuff

Another reason not to sail MSC

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After my recent awful Octover 8 cruise on the Meraviligia , I received my credit card bill for my onboard charges. The cruise was roundtrip from NYC and booked with MSCin Miami. MSCprocessed the charge in Paris, France which means my credit card company charged a foreign transaction fee. I am disputing the charge as MSC USA should not be processing credit card charges on US sailings in Europe.

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MSC is a European cruise line so I would expect that charges are made in Europe--when we cruise in USA our charges are in US $

 

Also some credit card companies do not charge "foreign transaction fees"

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1 hour ago, trainbuff said:

MSCprocessed the charge in Paris, France which means my credit card company charged a foreign transaction fee

A reason for you to select your CC more carefully. Unbelievable for what things some people blame MSC.

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It is a well known fact. Use a credit card that does not charge FTFs! The title of your thread is pretty unfair to MSC.

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All the OP posts are scathing about MSC --there is one under MSC food on page 2. He says his waiter told him the chicken cordon bleu came out of a box!!

 

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Another case of not doing your homework it would seem! I doubt you will get a happy resolution.

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I don’t think this is fair to OP.  I wouldn’t bash MSC but when you book from MSC USA out of Miami for a cruise that’s starts in the US and ends in the US, you would not expect them to process the charge out of Paris.  You would expect them to process the charge out of Miami.

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I know OP is consistency bashing MSC for any reason he may have experienced or imagined.  Yet, on this one I think he's right.

 

Even while cruising the Baltic Sea (2018), an all-Europe cruise, I booked a future cruise on board, with MSC USA.  That gave me the usual US reduced deposit, and all payments were processed is USD, from the US.  The cruise I so booked was a TA (2019), originating in Europe.  What was is Euros were on board purchases such as excursions and stuff from the shops, but that was clear in the contract.

 

OP can bash away at MSC, and I won't participate in such posts, but when the person is right (IMO)...

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It's been that way from day one. It's up to you to pick a card that doesn't have international fees. There are several out there.

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No problem here. I booked all our cruises (4x Europe and 1x Grand Voyage) on the MSC USA website. Prices are in US-$ and credit card charges are in US-$. Onboard purchases during cruises in Europe are in Euro, charged in Euro have been converted to US-$ by my US credit card company (no foreign transaction fee).

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I've known this for years.  I thought all experienced CC members knew it.

 

I use a card that doesn't charge a foreign transaction fee.  

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15 minutes ago, mafig said:

I've known this for years.  I thought all experienced CC members knew it.

 

I use a card that doesn't charge a foreign transaction fee.  

I would consider myself an experienced CC member and I did not know this.  I have booked and paid for 3 MSC cruises and I have not been charged a foreign transaction fee.  I never would have thought to anticipate that or look into how to avoid it.

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Booking our MSC cruise from Canada using a Canadian dollar credit card the description says MSC Cruises USA Fort Lauderdale.  There are no foreign transaction fees but the the US to CDN exchange rate right now will make you weep.

 

 

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36 minutes ago, Rob-Bob said:

I would consider myself an experienced CC member and I did not know this.  I have booked and paid for 3 MSC cruises and I have not been charged a foreign transaction fee.  I never would have thought to anticipate that or look into how to avoid it.

 

Well, perhaps I have a tendency to over-research new (to me) cruise lines.  I recall reading many posts on this, so I was prepared and called my credit card co. to find out if they charged.  I seem to recall that the amount charged isn't really that much, is it?

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5 hours ago, emmas gran said:

All the OP posts are scathing about MSC --there is one under MSC food on page 2. He says his waiter told him the chicken cordon bleu came out of a box!!

 

I can only imagine how much she drove him nuts that he said so))

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6 hours ago, emmas gran said:

All the OP posts are scathing about MSC --there is one under MSC food on page 2. He says his waiter told him the chicken cordon bleu came out of a box!!

 

 

The poster who 'liked' the OP is also a regular MSC basher!  🙄

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I have seen disclaimers on MSC that indicate you should double check your credit card company for foreign transactions as the charge is processed by MSC headquarters in Switzerland.

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I will ignore the personality arguments and speak the OP's specific complaint.  We agree that it is outrageous for a cruise line marketing themselves as MSC-USA and having a US office to process their credit card transactions in Europe.  It would be relatively easy for MSC to set-up USA transaction accounts.  I think this speaks to the MSC "customer service" issue which really is quite sad in North America.  With 4 ships cruising out of US port and numerous other folks booking MSC European cruises it would behoove the line to clean up their act when it comes to North American customer service.  

 

And MSC should beware because we know of several major US Cruise/Travel agencies that are pulling out their hair whenever they must deal with MSC.  In fact, there are quite a few decent US cruise agents that have simply refused to do any business wth MSC.  This obviously costs MSC valuable business and also alienates some customers.  It can take many years for any corporation to build up "good will" and much longer to regain any good will that is lost.  The MSC "suits" back in Switzerland need to understand that what works in Europe does not necessarily work here in the USA (and vice versa).   The company needs to get themselves a decent North American management team (well versed in North American culture) and give them the authority (and support) to make necessary changes.

 

Hank

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OK Hank what about us from the UK who have to use US dollars on cruises, I think the only line that uses GBP is P&O

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1 hour ago, Hlitner said:

I will ignore the personality arguments and speak the OP's specific complaint.  We agree that it is outrageous for a cruise line marketing themselves as MSC-USA and having a US office to process their credit card transactions in Europe.  It would be relatively easy for MSC to set-up USA transaction accounts.  I think this speaks to the MSC "customer service" issue which really is quite sad in North America.  With 4 ships cruising out of US port and numerous other folks booking MSC European cruises it would behoove the line to clean up their act when it comes to North American customer service.  

 

And MSC should beware because we know of several major US Cruise/Travel agencies that are pulling out their hair whenever they must deal with MSC.  In fact, there are quite a few decent US cruise agents that have simply refused to do any business wth MSC.  This obviously costs MSC valuable business and also alienates some customers.  It can take many years for any corporation to build up "good will" and much longer to regain any good will that is lost.  The MSC "suits" back in Switzerland need to understand that what works in Europe does not necessarily work here in the USA (and vice versa).   The company needs to get themselves a decent North American management team (well versed in North American culture) and give them the authority (and support) to make necessary changes.

 

Hank

So is Ken Muscat not American ? I believe he is the C.E.O of the US business side, MSC is not a corporation and do not answer to anyone but themselves.

With regards to the charges why shoud you be any different to other passengers who cruise with MSC ? Why do they have to bend your way, sail on an Italian cruise line you accept the way they work or sail on a recognised American line.

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There are other cruise lines that have - at lease in the past - charged US customers via foreign banks.  Oceania springs to mind – and they are not a European-owned line.  

 

Anyone who travels outside the US should have a credit card with no foreign transaction fees, and use it for all travel expenditures.  The Barclay Arrival MasterCard is a great card for this purpose (no annual fee, no FTF, gives back 1% on all purchases and 2% on some travel expenses).  There is also a Plus version of the card that has an annual fee but gives back more on all purchases.  Another great option is the Citi Costco Visa (no annual fee beyond Costco membership, no FTF, gives back 1% on all purchases, 3% on travel [we use this for cruise payments], 3% on restaurants, 4% on gas everywhere, and 2% in the Costco store – we find the higher % on gas easily pays for the Costco membership fee].

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2 hours ago, Hlitner said:

I will ignore the personality arguments and speak the OP's specific complaint.  We agree that it is outrageous for a cruise line marketing themselves as MSC-USA and having a US office to process their credit card transactions in Europe.  It would be relatively easy for MSC to set-up USA transaction accounts.  I think this speaks to the MSC "customer service" issue which really is quite sad in North America.  With 4 ships cruising out of US port and numerous other folks booking MSC European cruises it would behoove the line to clean up their act when it comes to North American customer service.  

Hi Hank,

I guess the OP is not telling the whole story.

As per my experience booking via the MSC USA website there is no overseas company and/or bank involved. The website shows US-$ and I paid with my US credit card. The exact amount was charged to my card in US-$.

No currency exchange and no transaction fee.

Wolfgang

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1 hour ago, sidari said:

So is Ken Muscat not American ? I believe he is the C.E.O of the US business side, MSC is not a corporation and do not answer to anyone but themselves.

With regards to the charges why shoud you be any different to other passengers who cruise with MSC ? Why do they have to bend your way, sail on an Italian cruise line you accept the way they work or sail on a recognised American line.

Perhaps you need to stick to things on your own side of the pond 🙂  This has little to do with MSC being an Italian Line (although it is completely run from Switzerland) but is about a line trying to penetrate the lucrative North American market where we have lots of competition.  If what you call "bending our way" means decent customer service then yes, they are going to have to "bend our way" or the time will come when they will lose market share.  Perhaps those in the UK are willing to accept awful customer service, but many North Americans simply take their business elsewhere.  The ways things work in North America is that up to 80% of all cruise sales are handled by cruise/travel agencies.  Without those agencies help, a cruise line will not succeed here.  When an agency gets burned by a cruise line or their agents need to sit on "hold" for over an hour...there comes a time when the agency cuts their loses and either stops booking the line...or steers customers in other directions.

 

An interesting facet of MSC is that they already made changes on their ships in the North American market.  There have been changes in things like smoking rules, provision of free water at meals, staff that is fluent in English, and even the menu items.  MSC has also targeted some of their hiring to Officers and Staff used to dealing with the North American market.  We have several friends from HAL and Celebrity who now work for MSC in key positions.  It is estimated that approximately 50% (just over 14 million persons) of all cruisers come from the North American market and with MSC's huge expansion program (adding about 2 new ships a year) this market is a key component of their long range business plan.  So far, we think they are doing fine in just about every area except customer service.  As to whether Mr. Muscat is going to be part of the solution, or a future scapegoat is a record yet to be written.

 

Hank

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