Author: Esher Family
We (husband, me, daughter and her friend, both aged 20) went on a 7 night Western Med cruise from Genoa. We have previously cruised 5 times, with Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. Pros - Four swimming pools so you could always find somewhere to cool down. - Fellow passengers were predominantly southern Europeans, which meant that there were many happy families (even though early June and so few young British families) and also that people sat chatting around the main pool areas at night. People also danced (lots) in the nightclubs etc. A relaxed convivial atmosphere, and not apparently fuelled by alcohol. (In our experience, on Royal Caribbean and Celebrity, the pool area at night was a dead space just to walk through.) - Beautifully furnished and decorated buffet restaurant. Decent solid furniture, unlike the Windjammer on Royal Caribbean which can feel like a canteen. We could always get a table, especially towards the back of the restaurant (with sea views too). - the 3 MSC excursions we went on were good (interesting and with helpful friendly guides) and seemed cheaper than Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. Cons - On the whole, staff one came across, eg on entry to the ship, did not smile and were not particularly welcoming. What a surprise not to be welcomed by the security staff and the greeting staff (just standing around to point guests in right direction, I guess) when we first embarked onto the ship. This happened every time we got off and on the ship. Did staff have instructions to be stern and unsmiling? Restaurant and cabin staff were fine. - Europop music! Yes we danced, but did not really recognise many of the songs! - Entertainment in the theatre was limited by the abilities of the same troup performing every show. In contrast, on Royal Caribbean, entertainment was varied and fun, eg silly quiz shows, funny classical music quartet, magician, as well as the usual song and dance routines. And of the course the brilliant ice skating shows. - Drinking water should always be available and free, not just in the buffet restaurant. - Very few reminders to keep hands clean and use hand-cleansers. On the whole, despite the cons above, we had a great time and thought the ship lovely. Yes, glitzy, but clean and everything worked well. We would recommend MSC and would cruise with them again.