Author: Colin Begg
MSC MUSICA – Adriatic -A review of an 8 day cruise of the Adriatic on board the MSC Musica. Outbound flight was from Heathrow at 08.35, an early start but as it transpired one that was required in order to be comfortably aboard before departure at 4pm. Our transfers from Venice Marco Polo airport was a little unfortunate as it played into the hands of the moaners, whilst we all expected to be met at the airport immediately on stepping through arrivals a fairly large number of us were not aware that MSC have a presence down in the far right end of the airport and as such it was more by luck than judgement that we found them. MSC should either place a greeter to meet passengers coming through arrivals or increase their presence in the arrivals hall and make it clear to those arriving where they are located. Embarkation was an eye opener though, it was well under way when we arrived to what looked like an overwhelmed check in, when previously cruising on MSC Splendida out of Genoa we pitched up as soon as embarkation opened and sailed through check in. Whilst check in was not enjoyable it wasn't that bad given that some 3000 people were joining and people need to remember that, either turn up early or join the rest of us and be patient. If there was one area MSC could work on it would be to have a more organised check in with more check in desks and to actually have the fasttrack web check in available to passengers. MSC Musica we found to be slightly smaller than MSC Splendida and was lacking in only one area, notably the lack of enclosed sitting area on the open pool deck that is a feature on Splendida. Contrary to other reviews that I've read I found the food on MSC Musica, and on MSC Splendida, to be most acceptable with the dining room to be pleasant if a little on the warm side. The service was always superb, how someone could complain that they had been waiting 2 hours in a dining room is beyond me seeing as the first sitting was completed comfortably in less than 2 hours. The service from our waiter was second to none and his humour was a joy and added to the cruise, the menu was most acceptable with different menus from various Italian regions every day, this may disappoint some but there was always sufficient choice and not once did I difficulty in choosing. When I commented on the lack of meat on my dish of cockerel the waiter immediately asked if I wished anything else in addition, my no thank you met with the delivery of one of every dessert. Mention must be made of the Itailian night and of the Baked Alaska, both most enjoyable dinners. Of course with some 3000 passengers on board buffet dining at breakfast and lunch isn't likely to be a walk in the park and will be particularly irksome to some and particularly disliked by others, we never found it a problem as neither breakfast or lunch were particularly time limited or lacking in food, on occasion we ate out on deck and varied our arrival at the buffet and were happy to share a table. The shows on Musica were superb, an improvement on MSC Splendida of a couple of years ago. The theatre is comfortable and impressive, the shows were all different and at around 40 minutes passed very quickly being so enjoyable. The performers on Musica are superb, the vocalists can ideed sing and sing well but special mention must be made of Franco who can certainly hold a note. Whilst all the usual acts are performing special mention must be made of the Riverdance / Lord of the Dance sequence in the show Excalibur which had me on my feet at the end. Overall we found MSC Musica a very pleasant ship, with plenty of bars, restaurants and facilities, it even has a kiddies play area, a tennis court cum football playing area and a few holes of mini golf. The ship is not as large as some but the outside cabin was spacious enough for two and there was both plenty to do and plenty that we chose not to do or areas that we chose not to visit this time. Disembarkation was the usual MSC affair of awaiting your turn to dismbark, for which some patience is required, but given that you disembark to find your luggage waiting for you there can be no complaints really. We spent our day in Venice, and even though the shuttle buses to the people mover didn't appear we happily walked the relatively short distance to the people mover which sits just outside the port proper. A moment later we found ourselves on the edge of the centre of Venice for all of 1 Euro each and enjoying a coffee for 2 Euros in a cafe. I must mention MSC's policy on tipping, they do not encourage tipping individuals and I agree; where and how often and how much would you tip? And to those of you who baulk at paying a mere 7 Euros a day and queue to argue the toss at the Accounting desk when paying your bill - get real - even a measly 1 Euro everytime a waiter delivered would soon mount to more than the 7 Euros charged daily, and what about your 2 cabin stewards and your wine and table waiters, not forgetting the bar staff, the chefs and buffet staff, the entertainment team and performers. You are aware of the charges, just pay what is arguably much less than that which would be expected in a restaurant and be done, after all the staff deserve it and with MSC they do get what is charged to you in their wages. Overall the cruise was superb, very much enjoyed and one that would be repeated at a shot. At the price purchased through offer, with onboard credit and an unexpected upgrade from inside cabin to outside MSC surpassed themselves, brilliant, marvellous Musica, I want more! My advice to other potential cruisers is to do some homework on the cruise company, the ship and the cruise, and to go with an open mind and not to be too quick to write off an entire holiday even before boarding a plane, and not to pay too much attention to reviews, after all like mine they are personal and we're all different, thank goodness.