Year Started: 1987
Ships in Fleet: 12
Summary: A pan-European mainstream cruise line that competes with Costa. New, massive ships with decent food and entertainment, Look for bargains in Caribbean.
Regions:Mediterranean, Western Mediterranean, Transatlantic
Good for: Foodies. Seniors. First-time Cruisers.
Regions:Caribbean, Mediterranean, Transatlantic
Good for: Group. Families. Value for Money.
Good for: Children`s Programs. Families. Foodies.
Good for: Foodies. Families. Group.
Regions:Mediterranean, Scandinavia/Northern Europe, South America, Transatlantic
Good for: Foodies. Children`s Programs. Families.
Regions:Southern Caribbean, Mediterranean, Scandinavia/Northern Europe, South America
Good for: Foodies. Children`s Programs. Families.
Regions:Mediterranean, Western Mediterranean, Scandinavia/Northern Europe, Transatlantic
Good for: Children`s Programs. Group. Families.
Regions:Mediterranean, South America, Transatlantic
Good for: Foodies. First-time Cruisers. Families.
Regions:Caribbean, Mediterranean, Scandinavia/Northern Europe, Transatlantic
Good for: Value for Money. Foodies. Group.
Good for: Foodies. Children`s Programs. Families.
Regions:Africa, Mediterranean, Transatlantic
Good for: Foodies. Group. Families.
Good for: Foodies. Group. Families.
There were good and bad aspects to this cruise. However, there was more bad than good.
The crew at times seemed lost. Yet when we had a problem with our cabin, they were right there.
Much was done in French or 4 other languages.
The entertainment was a little too much for me. Food was okay, but that's just it -- it was just okay.
I would have to say that if you are from the States, stay away from MSC.
Took a 7 day cruise on MSC Orchestra. It was my second cruise and I was very disappointed.
The service was extremely poor. Dinner service took 2 1/2 to 3 hours, and many of the staff did not speak or understand English so some of the meals served were incorrect. One person was served a bowl of salad dressing instead of a bowl of soup.
Some of the bread items -- brioche, English muffins, etc. -- were stale, especially in the cafeteria at breakfast.
Several of the wait staff was chastised in front of the diners, and the waiters were arguing among themselves. Some of the staff even walked off in disgust causing further delays in service.
The language problem caused other communication difficulties. On one deck, I asked the location of the nearest ladies room and was told I had to go down to another floor. I found a ladies room on that same floor near the theatre. Why didn't the staff know that?
I feel I paid too much for such poor service and food, and I will let others know of my disappointment with the MSC Orchestra.
We took this Cruise Jan 2010. The ship was beautiful. The food was a little lacking. It is Italian based so you get a lot of that type of food. I have no desire to eat Pasta for a while. The places we went to were awesome and the ease of getting on and off the boat was pretty good. Exercursions were overpriced. Drinks were expensive. It was VERY clean and our cabin cleaners were great. They would make towel animal shapes for the girls! I was a little disappointed I was told they had babysitting but they did not so we saw no night life on the boat. Long waits for the elevators. We used the stairs a lot. Overall great trip.
Never have seen so many people RUN from a cruise ship -- literally.
Wait, wait, wait, wait is all you do.
Would not recommend this ship or cruiseline.
Just back from a "three-day cruise" on the Orchestra.
It took four hours plus to load the boat, luggage was lost and no explanation given. We lost the day.
Food was lousy. Service non-existent. Staples such as eggs, coffee and cream could not be found.
Breakfast buffet lines were intolerable and not enough food, bar staff inattentive and unfriendly.
Disembarkment took hours. We were told to leave cabins by 7 a.m., losing the third day but it still took close to three hours to get off the ship.
Dinner service was terrible, orders messed up, no busing of tables, no drink refills, etc.
The ship was full of angry aggrieved cruisers and the staff's response was indifference.
Let me introduce myself.
My name is Matt and I am from Sydney, AUSTRALIA. I'm 14 yrs old; one of the many few 'younger' passengers on board! lol.
You've probably read many other reviews of the many MSC ships, and they were probably negative I would assume.
This is my first cruise and even though it may not be of as 'High Standards' as other cruises, I still LUVED it!!
I admit that there were many problems with the cruise, but it is NOT as bad as people say it is.
I found the cruise had MANY MANY MANY old people, and I found that these old people LUVED to COMPLAIN. Hence the many negative comments.
So let's focus on things other than the food.
First, the itinerary: In 17 days on this cruise, the amount and quality of the ports were AMAZING. Let's see -- we went to the following places:
Genoa Italy Marseille France Barcelona Spain Casablanca Morroco Funchal Maderia Islands Days at Sea The Carribean Fort Lauderdale-Miami USA
The itinerary was great!!
Now onto the teen program which hasn't been discussed:
When I went into the embarkation process, I swear I couldNOT see a person under the age of 40.
But on the first nite I went to the disco to find 3 other teens my age. We became friendz from that point on.
Eventually teens came together and there were enough to socialise with.
The teen area was the 'DISCO', which was more of a multi-purpose room but still a good meeting point.
NO ADULT SUPERVISION and NO ORGANISATION.
Now it depends on how you take it, cuz I thought it was great!!
We still got to hang out n' talk and play Uno. These are the main things you do on the ship, but it was fun anyway.
Only problem was that they kept on having BRIDGE tournaments and PRIVATE COCKTAIL PARTIES, which led us to be continaully 'Kicked Out' of the teen area.
We also went to the pool quite a bit, which was fun.
Onto other people on the ship: The ship seemed to be a bit like a retirement home and you got a lot of rude stares and insults merely because you don't have wrinkles.
Haha -- we were in the minority after all, so I guess you have to get used to it.
Now, onto the teenage passengers:
The ethnic mix of the teens were:50% Italian 40% English Speaking 9% German 1% Other
The Italians seemed to be one BIG family. Since they didn't speak any English, we never talked to them. It was like a gang war -- lol.
The Germans could speak fairly good English, so they immediately joined us.
There was one Swiss guy, but the rest were a mix of Aussies, Brits, and Yanks (Americans).
There seemed to be more of us Auzzies then any other ethnic group on the ship. This seemed to be because it's our summer holidays while all the other Europeans and Americans onboard were skipping school instead!
All of the Americans came from Houston in Texas and throughout Florida, with 2 from Utah. This was kind of weird since there were A LOT of yanks! But they were mostly really BIG families.
Gala nites were formal nites and I swear we had at least 5 of them. We had a lot of important nites (New Years, Christmas, etc.) hence I think the ship added more formal nites. It seemed as if it was FORMAL so everyone wears a tuxedo and a nice dress. The Americans had neither so they just skipped dinner -- WTF?!?
Met some good friends from all over the world on this cruise!
I happened to have a good table which was shared with a family from Perth in Western Australia.
The guy there was the same age as me (14), so we got along and from the very first nite we went up to the disco and met many more teens.
In conclusion, MSC has a lot of problems to fix, but I still had the TIME OF MY LIFE!
What really matters is the frame of mind you have when you cruise this ship.
If you read all the negative comments and you go into the cruise with a negative attitude, then you will HATE the ship.
On the other hand, if you have an optimistic outlook and a positive attitude, you will be much more confident that you will meet new people and have a FANTASTIC time.
Would I do MSC agian?
Well, don't get me WRONG. I LUVED the cruise. But choosing another line like Princess, Carnival, or RCL may be a safer option!
My wife and I are 58 and 61 respectively. It was my wife's first cruise on my recommendation -- now she files a lawsuit against me (joke)!
I had been working on the MS Gripsholm of the Swedish-American-Line in 1972 and on the lovely SS Norway of NCL as a pastry chef for many years, and that's why I persuaded my wife to take a cruise, promising it would be an unforgettable experience. In fact, that it was.
Let's make this short. Everything I read in other passengers' reviews is true. This cruise was a disaster all the way through -- horrible food, irregular staff, most information provided wrong, etc.
The best thing was disembarking in Fort Lauderdale. We had the immigration officers onboard in St. Thomas already, so that we would have a quick disembarkment in Florida. We were told to leave the cabin at the latest at 7:00 am, and we were told to wait in the Covent Garden Theatre. Well, we waited for 4 hours! We had the blue colour code, meaning we were to be the first off the ship, but it still took another hour to get off-- all the while fighting with other people who pushed to the front of the line in order to catch their planes. They had a different colour code though, due to get off much later than us, since we were staying over for another night in Miami.
Organization is not at all MSC's thing, and we actually will not recommend the MSC line even for our enemies. They're just a big rip off!!!
We collected mail addresses and will do a class action lawsuit. We paid a lot of money and did not get anything in return (poor cost-performance ratio)!
We were very excited about a Holiday Cruise. We had previously had a wonderful transAtantic cruise on Holland America and it was delightful.
No so with MSC! It was a total disaster. Four bags were lost -- they were never delivered. We got 17 days of promises and lip from the very rude staff.
The food was bad. There was no compensation and the ship's stores were closed until the 21st of December.
We have found out since that our bags had arrived before the ship sailed and were never retrieved by MSC. At present, we have traced them to Funchal where they have been since the 18th of Dec. We arrived in Funchal on the 22nd and were told by MSC that they had checked for baggage and none had arrived. We are still trying to retrieve them, but with little hope.
MSC will not return our phone calls and we are left on our own to deal with this situation.
As a seasoned traveler, I feel MSC will never make it in the American market.
This was our 19th cruise and first on an MSC ship. Our travel agent told us how great their previous experience was on the Lirica 2 years ago. Well things have changed.
The major compalaint by our group of 52, plus probably at least a 100 more, was the dining time assignments. We were promised upon booking in April first seating and that was verified the day before sailing. Upon boarding we discovered we were all on late seating and were told by crew staff there was nothing they could do about it.
We believe what happened was MSC overbooked early seating big time knowing the passengers were older on this cruise and wanted early seating. In my opinion they led us on knowing if they told us up front only late seating was available, many would not sign up! Once on board we were trapped! Very poor!
The inexperienced crew did the best they could and the food was average at best! Found out all chefs but the head chef was new and from India, and the blandness of the food reflected this. Hard to find snacks or coffee available atall times.
On the positive side, this was the cleanest ship we have sailed on. The entertainment was very good, dining room wait staff and cabin service was excellent and we heard "Time to Say Goodbye" sang on the PA system upon leaving each port -- very classy.
However because of MSC's obvious dishonesty to sign us up for early seating, this will be our last MSC cruise!
There were enough things wrong on our 10 day cruise that my wife and I seriously doubt this company can stay in business for very long. I can't imagine what incentive would get us back on MSC.
The most glaring problem was the food. Cruise dining is supposed to be a grand experience. This was just a bland experience. I think they left the garlic, oregano and salt on the docks at home. The dining room food was small portioned and uninspired at best. The buffet was borderline inedible. The overall experience was like a poor cafeteria run by beginner cooks who used a lot of canned goods. There was none of the "regional Italian" experience we expected. And the wait staff didn't know much about what was on the menu, nor could they speak English well enough to support their efforts.
Communication was a problem with almost all the staff except the excursion and entertainment personnel. The higher up the chain of command you get, the less likely you are to get any sympathy or understanding. The purser (or "Bank" as it said over his window) refused to break any largebills into smaller denominations, suggesting we try the casino. That worked until the casino caught on.
The ship was clean, but felt small. The rooms were compact, and the shops seemed almost an afterthought. Besides being small, the variety of goods was small and uninspired. The shop manager on our trip told us he couldn't wait to get off and would never work for the line again.
Overall, we enjoyed ourselves, but no great thanks to the Lirica. The islands were beautiful, the ship was on time, the weather was lovely. But nobody we talked to or overheard was happy with the services on board.