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13 minutes ago, Ajdar said:

Will be first time on MSC (Meriviglia) and have been reading thru these posts.  I see a lot of people saying the ships have a "european feel".  I'm not quite sure what this means.  Can someone help?

 

I'll take a stab at this, but I suspect much is up to individual interpretation. First, there will be a much more diverse crowd and, as you suspect, customs are different in different parts of the world. Generally speaking (not absolute speaking), those from European nations tend not to line up the same way those in North America are accustom to and personal space is much different. You are likely to find behavior that would be considered rude in Virginia just part of the norm in other cultures. Announcements will likely be given in multiple languages and for some reason this bothers many. Water may not be served with ice unless requested. Those are some of the more subtle differences.

 

However; the difference you are most likely to notice is service standards. On MSC, the customer is definitely not always right. As you can see by the many replies here, if you have a customer complaint it is more likely to fall on deaf ears (not always of course). You will probably need to actually call a server over if you need something rather than having a server walk by and inquire. Some like this, some don't. 

 

Personally, I have spent a reasonable amount of time across the pond and have never been offended by other cruise passenger behavior. However; I have noticed that service standards tend to be lower (and sadly, for me, this included the service I received in YC). Nothing that ruined my trip, but enough that I would not select MSC unless she was pricing considerably less than the competition. Go with an open mind and embrace the differences and you should be just fine.

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1 minute ago, diesel1973 said:

It also boggles my mind on what "European Feel" is. If bad food. bad service. lack of CS, and being called a liar  and being lied to is what you are looking for, knock yourself out! Have done plenty of travel in Europe and have never been subjected to this! This is not my definition of a vacation.


That was my issue at Christmas. I spent a LOT of time in Europe for work and pleasure, and I have never had the low level of service we were subjected to in the Yacht Club at Christmas. I would avoid the Divina.

 

Many Europeans seem to be very defensive about MSC because it is a European line. So, any complaints from the US tend to be dismissed as “Americans need too much hand-holding.” No, Americans want to get what we paid to receive.

 

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On 1/3/2020 at 5:17 PM, tinykygal said:

We have cruised  17 times, never MSC.

We just need a winter getaway and thought MSC might be interesting.

However, there are so many negative reviews on many sites that I am beginning to doubt .

We aren't expecting anything other than good service, nice staff and descent food.

Comments, please?

 

Tiny,

I have been on 3 MSC cruises... So here goes, ( based on Seaside)

very international passenger base, so prepare for some rudeness.

announcements are in 5 languages, but at a minimum except during lifeboat drill and beginning of shows.

MDR - food is good, nothing spectacular. Some complain of small portions but I never left hungry.  I actually like the buffet, even though some complain about variety.(most nights are same items though)

Pasta and pizza- great!!

Nightly shows- go to early show, others are packed.

Service- never had an issue on the ship, but some of the CS on phone could improve.

Pricing - spend as little or as much as you want, based on the " experience " you choose.

Try MSC, you may be surprised!!

 

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5 minutes ago, xriva said:


That was my issue at Christmas. I spent a LOT of time in Europe for work and pleasure, and I have never had the low level of service we were subjected to in the Yacht Club at Christmas. I would avoid the Divina.

 

Many Europeans seem to be very defensive about MSC because it is a European line. So, any complaints from the US tend to be dismissed as “Americans need too much hand-holding.” No, Americans want to get what we paid to receive.

 

That is the problem. MSC is constantly changing their program that you do not know what to expect! Why would someone pay a substantial amount of money for something for what you do not know what  you are getting? Would you buy a new car under the same circumstances? I think not?

 

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6 hours ago, xriva said:

MSC sees no reason to actually cater to Americans.

They need the Americans to fill the Yacht Clubs. I know a lot of Europeans that could easily afford like Americans, but they would never book it. 

 

And I think their stategy to throw away free Black Cards, free drinks vouchers and all this stuff to the Americans was successful. See this board and how crazy the Americans are about the YC. See other countries MSC discussion boards, almost no topics about the YC at all :D

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4 hours ago, perakcruiser said:

They need the Americans to fill the Yacht Clubs. I know a lot of Europeans that could easily afford like Americans, but they would never book it. 

On our past 3 cruises the YC passengers were from all over the world and Americans were a minority.

Western Med cruise: Spaniards, Italians, Germans, Portuguese, British, Australians, Asians, Americans.

Baltic Sea cruise: Germans, Italians, British, Australians, Russians, Asians, Americans.

We have met very nice passengers from different countries in the Top Sail Lounge and had interesting talks about cultures and cruising.

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18 hours ago, mickey89 said:


We were aware of their T&C, it clearly says they retain the option to relocate passengers without notice.  The common reason is when you choose a cabin that can accommodate 4 and you are only 2, then a relocation is more likely


It’s interesting. I lurk on the CC boards a lot. Have traveled a lot of cruises. I guess I have never seen someone in a purchased cabin, after final booking, part of a group reservation/row of cabins, be moved without explanation. No, he wasnt moved to a 2 person cabin. He was actually moved to a 4 person cabin. But in any event he was moved without notification, and after his move, without any provided explanation. Perhaps their T&C allow for this, but our cruise agency said it was unprecedented in their experience absent some specific situation, guaranteed rooms, mistake/change if some sort by passenger, etc. 

 

Still a live customer service issue so we will see what happens.

 

Would certainly though be interested if others have had an experience like this. 

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18 hours ago, xriva said:

 The YC concierge is great until the day you’re trying to ask a question and she gets a phone call on her mobile, wanders off into the office, closes the door, and doesn’t come back - and there’s no backup. That was quite possibly the worst service I have had anywhere.

We were blessed on our cruise with exceptional service. When there was a phone call or a question the concierge placed the caller on hold and called for another person if needed when there happened to be a few of us showing up at once. No different from the Haven except the large ships usually had two concierges at the desk during the busier times. We sailed the last week in May 2019.

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6 hours ago, perakcruiser said:

They need the Americans to fill the Yacht Clubs. I know a lot of Europeans that could easily afford like Americans, but they would never book it. 

 

And I think their stategy to throw away free Black Cards, free drinks vouchers and all this stuff to the Americans was successful. See this board and how crazy the Americans are about the YC. See other countries MSC discussion boards, almost no topics about the YC at all 😄


There was a mix of nationalities at Christmas on Divina. While they may get Americans into YC, the service will not retain them. We status-matched to Black (now Diamond) and the YC service on Divina was worse than the regular cabin on the Seaside. 

We sailed the Seaside to protect our status-match - we were coming up on three years without an MSC cruise, so we would have reverted to entry-level. We booked a cheap Seaside cruise to keep our Black status.

 

After the Seaside cruise, my wife (a rabid Norwegian fan) was actually anticipating the YC experience, but after it, will probably never sail MSC again. So, they got us on the ships twice, but that’s it, as opposed to Norwegian who annoy me with their sky-high fares but we’ve earned Platinum Plus.

 

It’s possible enough Americans aren’t turned off by the service to keep sailing YC, but the two other families we talked with onboard were as unhappy as we were.

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I agree that compared to other cruise lines, the number of negative reviews for MSC seem disproportionate.

 

We have only taken one MSC cruise (in Europe) and I can relate to most of the recent reviews. That is not to say that our experience was entirely negative, but I can understand why expectations and reality do not always mesh. The ship and amenities were all comparable to what we have experienced with other lines. We really liked our stateroom and large balcony, and did not go hungry or thirsty.

 

What we found lacking was mostly in the area of customer service. On more than one occasion our calls to guest relations (or the front desk) went unanswered. The nature of the European cruises, with passengers arriving and departing from several ports, makes it difficult for the cabin stewards to connect with the guests; we only met our steward once, and had no idea how to contact him with specific requests. (We have no "status" with MSC or any other cruise line for that matter, so could not ask a butler to chase down toilet paper for us...)

 

Given the opportunity, for the right price, we might consider MSC again; fortunately, there are lots of choices available.

Edited by daisy-mae
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The two main issues I encountered on my two MSC cruises last year that could tie to the line being “more European” was: 1) Some communication difficulties with the crew at times. Not every crew member was adept at English. It sometimes required repeating a request a few times or asking them to repeat a few times because what they said wasn’t clear. I attribute this to them having to learn English along with Italian and German (US cruise lines only require staff to learn English) and then not speaking English as often as an American cruise line crew member would due to the higher concentration of Italian and German passengers. I understand and accept the reasons why and didn’t fault the staff but it still made some service interactions a bit more difficult. 2) Cocktail service was beyond frustrating. Since Europeans don’t consume cocktails the way Americans do (I have been told that they are more of an after dinner or specialty thing) or at the same frequency, the staff wasn’t as familiar with most of the cocktails we ordered, bartenders would sometimes make the drinks incorrectly and you couldn’t even get certain cocktails because they didn’t have the liquors needed to make the drink. I don’t drink beer or wine and try to avoid soda so this was a big obstacle for me.

 

Others have cited differences like the many languages spoken by guests (a fact but not an issue), lining up and crowding issues (we didn’t see that) or portions being smaller (they were similar to portions we are used to on Celebrity). A number of people also say that Americans don’t like MSC because they expect more service. My response to that in another thread was that Americans don’t expect more service than others per se, it’s just that the American cruise lines generally offer a more personalized level of service than MSC does (I can say this having cruised with Celebrity, Royal, NCL, Holland and Princess as well as MSC) so Americans are used to that and have those expectations when going onboard.

 

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