Cross’s & Ticks, in other words what was good and what wasn’t so good. (in no particular order.)
- From day one the ship gave us the big impression that it was under staffed. This came across everywhere in general and was very noticeable to us.
- There are only two bars on the open decks and combined with lack of crew meant no bar service to much of the sun decks. Then if you went to get it yourself you then had to wait ages while the few drinks waiters that there are got preferential treatment. On the odd occasion you would see a trolley being pushed round.
- Grubby decks. Again could be due to lack of crew. Not a bin in sight. Quite tatty in some areas and also poorly repaired.
- Sun beds, although they have the moveable sun visor you have to have them at either at 45 degrees or flat. Not as comfortable as others we have used.
- Trying to get coffee served at breakfast time in one of the two buffet bars was also not good. 2 waitresses and one person making the orders up. Made even worse by one of the machines breaking on day 3. Is this again down to crew shortages. Having said that we witnessed on a couple of occasions that there too many crew waiting to clear tables. That is poor management really.
- We like to eat outside when the weather is good but there only about 6 tables right at the back which allow this to occur and this also depends on whether the rear part of the buffet is open which sometimes its not.
- Smoking seems to be tolerated everywhere on the open decks despite many signs saying it should be on the port side only.
- We had one issue where we lost a sea pass and needed a replacement. This was thankfully our only contact with guest services as the lady behind the desk was miserable and most unfriendly.
- We were surprised by the timing of the second sitting for dinner. 9.45, this is very late even for us. I am sure it said 8.45 when we booked. It often meant you were up to midnight eating and if there was an early port then you would need to be up early feeling very tired in order to find a place to sit for breakfast.
- All the tables in the dining rooms were really close together and there was only just enough room to get to your table, if you are arrived a few minutes late for dinner it was a real squeeze to get through.
- We found in general the attitude of crew members to be unfriendly and unresponsive. There were exceptions but very few. Our waiter in the dining room was probably the worst we have had. The assistant waiter being no better and actually made no attempt to speak to us during the entire cruise.
- The muster drill was poorly executed, nobody did a roll call and so how did they know everyone attended that needed to? We could quite easily stayed in our cabin or pretended to have embarked at Bari 6 days before and nobody would have known.
- A real positive for us was the food which was really good and up there with the best we have had at sea.
- The Musica has two open air pools which are divided by a bar which backs on to the entertainment stage. This means you can lie on a sun bed close to a pool without having to listen to constant noise.
- We have found the Allegrissimo Package to be an excellent buy although it did mean that everyone in the cabin also had to have it too.
We have now tried both of the main Italian cruise lines and from what we have experienced Costa win hands down. It may be we experienced MSC at the wrong time of the year or selected the wrong cruise but I strongly suspect that it is their “Keep it Simple” campaign which dictating the experience. Don’t get me wrong as we enjoyed our cruise but just found that the package lacked the feel of the other lines we have experienced and until we have experienced Costa again post Concordia then it is difficult to deduce if Italian style cruising as a whole is suffering and this is the result but until then I have to say that I would not consider MSC for another cruise.