My wife Sharon and I just finished a MSC “repositioning” cruise that departed from Hamburg Germany ending Genoa Italy. We have both been on cruises in the past but this was our first with MSC. We sailed on the MSC Fantasia ship.
Prior to the cruise Sharon had joined a Facebook group for the ship. This was useful in being able to pose questions to people who had sailed with MSC in the past. One perk that came of it was finding out about the MSC Voyager Club.
If you have elevated status with other credit cards or programs you can get the same status with MSC (check the dedicated enrollment page https://www.msccruisesusa.com/manage-booking/msc-voyagers-club/status-match) In my case I have Diamond Status for Hilton which put me at the highest level for MSC.
One of the perks is priority embarkation/debarkation. When we arrived at the port in Hamburg the line for embarkation was extremely long, however we quickly jumped in the Diamond line and were processed and on the ship within about 20 min. Later we overheard some people talking about the wait to board in the other line which exceeded 2.5 hours. YIKES!
Now that we were safely on board we headed to our stateroom at the back of the ship. When booking we had at length discussions about the best place to be during the cruise. We wanted a balcony but based on information we had read, cabins near the front or back and higher cabins are more common to experience sea conditions. It was decided that we would book a stateroom at the back of the ship and roughly mid-way up (Deck 10).
The room was actually quite nice and the deck was good size. It allowed us plenty of space to hang out and enjoy the views whenever we wanted. After settling in it was time to set out to explore food options.
Up on Deck 14 was an extensive buffet. There was everything from salads, main entrees, mediterran to burgers and fries. Because we didn’t purchase any of the drink packages we were stuck with water or buying individual drinks which we were completely fine with.
Ok, that’s about enough of the idle chatter let’s get down to some of the specifics of things we like and things that we didn’t.
- Most of the staff were cordial and respectful
- Room was always made up in a timely manner
- Shows in the theater were ok
- Early embarkation/debarkation
- The second “White Night” was pretty good up by the pool deck
- Pizza and fruit were pretty good
- Butcher’s Cut steak dinner was pretty good for the most part
- Bike excursion in Lisbon was total chaos and not very well organized
- We had no idea that we were going to be charged $12/per day per person which added about $270 right off the bat
- Every purchase had an automatic gratuity added to it
- Some of the food wasn’t very good to include the scheduled dinners so we normally stuck with the buffet.
- Even if you buy 2 wifi packages you can’t switch between devices. For example once I registered with my laptop I couldn’t turn off the wifi and switch to my phone. As a former IT guy I get it, however it’s frustrating.
Overall impressions it was pretty much what we anticipated. Because it was a repositioning cruise the price was right so we decided to give it a go. Would we sail with MSC again, most likely yes. They seem to be as good as any of their competitors. We did decide though that 11 days is probably too long so would likely opt for something like 7 days.