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MSC Orchestra

South Africa
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MSC Orchestra

I just got back from my 8 night Mediterranean cruise aboard the MSC Orchestra and I just thought I would share my experiences with anyone planning a trip on this cruise.

What I experienced on MSC Orchestra by Italian passengers (90%):

They push in front of you at the buffet, or any queues when waiting for something.

They cut queues everywhere and anywhere.

They won’t move over so that you can fit into the elevator.

If the elevator starts closing before you’re in, they won’t try to hold it for you.

If you arrive at your floor on the elevator, you can’t get out, because the Italian people who want to get in, won’t let you out first.

They talk at the top of their voices down the corridors at all hours of the morning.

If you are standing somewhere where they want to stand, they will push you out the way so that they can stand there.

If you have ever been on a five star cruise before the MSC Orchestra will be a disappointment for these reasons:

Room service is not free, and very heavily priced.

THEY CHARGE FOR A GLASS OF WATER!!! Even when the same water runs freely in your cabin to brush your teeth and shower! That’s right 0.50 Euros for a glass of shower water served in a glass (no ice).

There is no free ice tea or fruit punch like they have on other ships.

Breakfast is only between 08:00 and 10:00, if you arrive later, there’s nothing for you to eat and you’ll have to wait for the lunch buffet.

The breakfast is very simple. You cannot design-your-own-omelette, you cannot even ask for a fried egg. In terms of eggs, it’s either scrambled eggs or plain omelettes.

It is impossible to find a teaspoon by the breakfast buffet! I cannot eat yogurt with a large spoon, but teaspoons are not available. Everyday I had to ask for a teaspoon and was asked what the teaspoon was for. When I told them it was to eat my yogurt they reluctantly handed over a single teaspoon. Teaspoons are not even available at the coffee/tea station. To stir your coffee/tea, you must use a wooden ice-cream stick.

The lunch buffet is pretty much always the same, only one or two things might be different each day.

The lunch buffet and breakfast buffet are always over-crowded.

For an Italian ship, the pizza is not that good and is not available all day like other ships. They are simple large rectangle pizzas cut into squares.

There is no late-afternoon buffet either.

The dinner in the dining room had a different menu every night, but the food was not amazing. The soups were great but the starters and mains were often a disappointment.

The “Always Available” menu had “Grilled Fillet of Salmon”, so the one evening I ordered it, and was served a piece of white fish that was not salmon.

The Orchestra is a very large ship, that somehow seems small when you’re on it. What I mean by this is that all areas always seem so crowded. Perhaps this may be because they might have more rooms than other ships, but there always seemed to be too many passengers on board.

The bingo was terrible, with only 1 game of bingo per bingo session.

The photographers were not very professional and pestered you for a picture every night at dinner.

Fort Lauderdale...
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1. Re: MSC Orchestra

I just went on the MSC Splendida and experienced a horrible time too. I have many, many issues with MSC, the lack of communication and incompetency of staff being key. At dinner, I sat with very experienced cruisers who said that they were experiencing many unusual things on this ship, for example, no dinner buffet. In detail my issues were as follows.

I almost lost my passport. Before boarding the ship someone took my passport to get a VISA for Egypt. They returned it to my room the day before Egypt. Afterwards, reception insisted on taking the passport back saying it was required by Italy and that I would get the passport back upon final disembarking. I didn’t like it, but since the first time they took it was okay I gave them my passport. Major mistake. It was not returned to me. I disembarked expecting to receive it only to experience the final bit of total incompetence. Nobody had a clue where the passport may be and I had to drag my bags back on the ship and go to reception. My passport was sitting there on their counter along with many others.

Communication Issues:

The time changed the first and last day. The only notice on the first day was a line in the daily program. I missed it and missed the day-tour presentation which was the main thing I went for. There was no notice the last day. You had to look at the time on the telephone.

There was probably a total of four announcements by the ship captain. There were none by the cruise director.

When the ship was docked there was nothing telling you when you could exit the ship and several times the signs for where to exit were incorrect.

When asking about excursions, the only communication you could get from the staff was about how you must take one so you make sure you get back to the ship on time. Only the manager was able to provide any information whatsoever on what the tours were about.

The first and about the only clear communication I received was that I wasn’t allowed in the gym with jeans on. You had to enter with gym clothes on no matter what.

When going to the gym and spa area there were always six to ten Thai people bowing. Apparently that was MSC’s idea of creating a relaxing atmosphere.

It is a very confusing ship to get around in so more signs and clear signs need posted.

Though smoking areas were designated, smokers were allowed everywhere in the solarium smoking up the entire place and gathered near both deck entrances where it was warmer.

Ridiculously expensive. Massages ranged from 190-250 Euro per hour. Just to use the sauna was 16 Euro per hour or 30 Euro for a day. You couldn’t even get a drink of water at dinner, you had to buy a bottle.

The ship had about five public hot tubs, all small and the temperature tepid at best. They were very popular and crowded since the cruise was in December. The swimming pools were not heated.

The food in the individual menu/pay restaurants was exceptionally better than the food in the main dining halls.

The trip is designed for Europeans. As stated above, English was a major issue. There was also only news TV channels in English. I also found that all the Europeans I spoke to paid a much lower price than I, an American, up to 60% lower, even after accounting for the exchange rate.

When in port until mid-day, the lunch buffet would close prior to or at the time required to return to the ship.

On the last day, for some reason, some of us didn’t get a colored bag tag for disembarking. When I asked about it I was told I had to go to reception and get the tag. They would not deliver it. I also did not get a customer survey form.

2. Re: MSC Orchestra

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Removed on: 12:17 am, June 26, 2010