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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
We have cruised about 15 times prior to this cruise so we knew what to expect. Our embarkation went smoothly in Barcelona, but no amount of prior cruising knowledge could prepare you for this cruise. Our room was probably the best part ... Read More
We have cruised about 15 times prior to this cruise so we knew what to expect. Our embarkation went smoothly in Barcelona, but no amount of prior cruising knowledge could prepare you for this cruise. Our room was probably the best part of our cruise. We paid for an inside room and received a balcony. The beds were clean and the bathroom was adequate. There was gum all along the cupboard and the TV cut out right before our 5 straight sea days when MSC decided to give everyone 10 free movies. After calling front desk more than once and them never sending anyone to look at the TV we told the cabin attendant as a last resort. The TV never ended up working. In the barfet (previously known as the buffet) we saw an Italian woman holding a banana up to her ear pretending to talk to MSC staff... nothing could sum up this cruise better than that image I have of her doing that. No one is there to listen, you might as well be talking into a banana. The barfet itself was just as the name implies. We had pizza every day (which was actually pretty good for ship pizza) as everything else was cold or inedible. The desserts were so unappetizing I may have lost a few pounds on this cruise. The barfet repeated the meals pretty much daily. You could consider yourself lucky if you didn’t get pushed out of the way while waiting in line for food by the hungry Portuguese, and even luckier if you could find a seat that wasn’t all the way at the back. If you try ordering water from the back bar they give you a hard time trying to convince you that you’re only allowed to at the other bar. The water at dinner was a whole other story. We have cruised only this once with MSC (and believe me this is the last time) and we received bottled water every night at dinner. Our dinner mates however weren’t so fortunate. They have cruised with MSC multiple times now and MSC couldn’t even supply them with one bottle of water every night. We ended up sharing ours with them and eventually they even started bringing their own water. We have never seen a cruise line that doesn’t provide water at dinner. The dining room experience was much better than the barfet as the food was actually proper temperature. The waiters were very accommodating despite everything falling apart around them. We missed the drill on the first day. We read in the newsletter when it would be taking place so we waited for an announcement in our room but it never came. Turns out they made one announcement but it was only heard in the hallway. We then got a letter to attend the next day but it was during the time of one of our excursions. We never made it to the drill. Our cruise friends met this woman with a rash. They decided to tell the ships doctor about it as it was contagious. We went down there with them and got there at 2 pm. The doctor was not there until 4 pm. We had the unfortunate experience of talking to the nurse. I’m convinced she was the was the most incompetent worker on this entire ship. She told us MSC can’t do anything about it, if she wants to come down to get it checked out she can. They asked what if it spreads to other passengers? She opened the door for us and told us to leave. We were so disgusted with the experience we told front desk. They told us to fill out a form... it never got acknowledged. After reading other reviews I should’ve known better not to expect any call back. As far as entertainment goes, we did trivia a few of the days. One day one of the women cheated. The next day we got the same amount right as the winners of trivia (7/10) and the entertainment staff didn’t acknowledge that we won (they took our paper to mark). We asked to see it and she refused. Clearly the English speaking guests were on the back burner. I can’t say the shows were much better. They ended up repeating a lot of the acts. The excursions were ok... a little disorganized but that is to be expected from MSC. We left an hour late for the 6 hour drive (3 there, 3 back) to Marrakech. We also had no free time there.. all very structured. On the ride back there was no stops for bathroom during the whole 3 hours, and no bathroom on the bus. For another excursion in Ilheus, they took us to a beach with Portuguese man of war (one of the most dangerous jellyfish), seems like they wanted one less person at the barfet. Our third excursion we got taken to the city in Tenerife. There was no way they could mess up dropping us off in the city, right? Wrong... as our bus pulled off to head back to the ship, the tour guide realized she left two passengers behind. The only reason she realized it was because they were running up to the bus. The elevators play tricks with you, it is really just better to take the stairs on this cruise. Not that you’ll be eating much since the barfet doesn’t have many options. This cruise would make a good cruise if you’re looking to go on a diet. All in all, we won’t be cruising with MSC again. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
I am writing to report my experience in the MSC FANTASIA Cruise from Genoa to Santos between November 4th to 24th 2018. This was our third cruise, but the first with MSC. We have never experienced or expected a ship being run so poorly by ... Read More
I am writing to report my experience in the MSC FANTASIA Cruise from Genoa to Santos between November 4th to 24th 2018. This was our third cruise, but the first with MSC. We have never experienced or expected a ship being run so poorly by the Master and his crew. I will provide the details below. The embarkment took place in the port of Genoa on November 4th; from the beginning it was a complete chaos, a process that should take a couple of hours took at least six, they even have started the embarkment two hours earlier to make it easier. Numbers were distributed to the passengers to assist with the registration, but they were not followed; the staff members will jump numbers and then will go back again, a total chaos. Many crew members were rude and have no customer services skills, the majority look very unhappy. There were some crew members very polite and did a good job, but it was the minority. The safety box was not working in the cabin, I called the front desk and they sent a technician to fix it, he replaced the batteries. After about 30 minutes it stopped working, I called again, and they told me they will send a technician within 30 minutes, nothing happens, I reported at least five times in the next few days. Finally they sent a technician, according to him it was the cover of the batteries that was interfering, he removed it, put a piece of paper to make it tight and left, after one hour the safety box stopped working again. I checked myself and to my surprise I found one of the battery contacts sulfated, I scraped it and clean it and never have any problem again. The light in the night table burned out, I told the cabin assistant and he reported at least in two occasions. I started calling the front desk asking them if they could give me a bulb so that I could replace it, they told me they could not, and they will have to send a technician to check it out. I have to wait five days to have the burned-out light replaced. We had a balcony suit, located beside the deck and outside stairs. During the cruise they left a note in my cabin that they will be painting the balcony and to keep the curtains closed. They did paint, but they also spilled paint all over the two chairs, table and floor, they never cleaned it. I never have seen a sloppy job like this. During the cruise they left at least in four occasions notes that they will be doing maintenance in the balcony, in one occasion they flooded the balconies from one extreme to the other and left the water standing until the water evaporated by itself. One of the last evenings, they poured lot of water from the top floor, we could have been totally soaked if we were in the balcony. They cleaned the outside stairs and deck every morning about 4 am, and every time our balcony will be left with water and dirt on it. They never cleaned the balcony, we have to clean the hand rail and chairs our self. It was great to have a balcony, but because of their neglect we could seldom use it. When we cross the ocean, which lasted six days, the satellite services were disconnected, we did not have any news and were totally isolated. The explanation given was the satellite services did not work because we were too far away from land, but this happened even when we were 50 kilometres from the coast of Brazil. This never happened in any other cruise we have taken. They offered 16 free movies that you could watch in your cabin, but the audio of the movies was absolutely terrible, you could not understand anything; when I called the front desk, they said they have problem with the system. The hygiene practices in the cruise was terrible, there were dispensers with sanitizers, but most of them were empty, the crew members never encourage the passengers to use them. Some passengers will pick with their hands bred or other food from the buffet areas and the crew members never told these passengers not to do it, they will not get involved and ignore it. Some passengers will fill their personal bottles in the water or juice machines directly into the faucet touching them and of course contaminating them. Painting was performed in corridors and food dispensing areas; the smell was extremely strong. Painting in areas were food is dispensed and people are walking by is totally unacceptable. All the tours obtained through MSC started late. The crew members in charge in the meeting places were confused and they did not provide proper information. After a week people started to get sick. Many crew members and passengers got sick, sneezing, coughing and with flu symptoms. The situation started to get worse when we start crossing the Atlantic, the ship had to disembark a sick passenger in Cabo Verde in front of Africa because the passenger was too sick. The situation got worse and by the time we reach Brazil most of the passengers were coughing, sneezing and with flu symptoms. We were eight people travelling together and seven got sick. The passport return process was another chaos, two crew members were doing this process, but they have difficulties to find the passports even that they were classified by countries. During the last couple of days, we noticed a change in the attitude of the crew members in relation to hygiene in the food areas, the sanitizer dispensers were filled, the supervisors started to give direct instructions to waitresses to remove dirty dishes and clean the different areas. When we arrive to Santos the Health Authorities were waiting; they recommended to passengers before disembarking to use the disinfectant their hands with the gel provided and see their personal doctors, they also informed us there was a possible case of measles aboard. The disembarkation in Santos was another chaos, they asked the passenger to meet in the theatre and wait for instructions, but the theatre have steps and all passengers have carry-on bags. After a couple of hours, the Health Authorities allowed the disembarkment; the passengers were asked to take shuttle busses to the terminal. The buses had very narrow aisles, and the passengers have to claim with their bags since they did not open the bag carriers on the belly of the buses. The Master of the ship is the person responsible for the well being and health of the crew and passengers and the training of the crew. Therefore, he is responsible for the poor service provided by the crew and the bad hygiene practices on his ship. I saw him only once in the entire trip when he welcomes the passengers assisting a function. He never talked to the passengers on the speakers to provide explanations or information; what a difference with other Captains from other companies that I have had the opportunity to travel with. This was the first time that we travel in a MSC Cruise and possible will be the last. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
We chose this re-positioning cruise because of the itinerary which was incredible. The ship was typical MSC glitz which we expected. After may complications (which I will get into later), we got a starboard 11th floor balcony, which was ... Read More
We chose this re-positioning cruise because of the itinerary which was incredible. The ship was typical MSC glitz which we expected. After may complications (which I will get into later), we got a starboard 11th floor balcony, which was awesome. The cabin was spacious and well-appointed with the usual amenities of desk, hanging clothes closet (roomy enough for two 28-inch suitcases) and a closet with 6 drawers, a safe and two shelves. If you are American, and not accustomed to the European culture of customer service, you are in for a shock. Communication regarding important announcements (i.e. when and where to pick up your Passport) are non-existent. The announcements are far and few between, except when to play Bingo or shop for handbags. Even in the Daily pamphlet, the instructions for picking up your Passports (which were collected upon embarkation for Brazil authorities), was in print 1/8th the size of the Bingo and Valentino handbag advertisements. Every announcement (even in the theater) is done in 6 or 7 languages (Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, and the shortest announcement time was in English; which was expected as this cruise went through 3 continents and 5 different countries). The food was disappointingly just okay. We expected so much more from an Italian cruise line! Entertainment: the entertainers were great, the shows not-so-much. Many of them were perplexing. For instance, one show was touted as The Totem and depicted a picture of cowboys and Indians, which made us scratch our heads to begin with and didn't get any better during the performance. The Woodstock Revival show had no songs from Woodstock, only one song from the 60s, the rest were more recent. I am beginning to understand why Europeans don't understand Americans after this cruise. Speaking of which, a lot of the patrons of this cruise, were pushy, rude, loud, obnoxious and disrespectful of everyone. The Cruise itself was one giant, "Hop-On/Hop-Off" cruise with new people getting on and off at every port. Apparently, this is what MSC does everywhere but the U.S.A. Our personal experience with MSC Europe was less than stellar from the start, with customer service being ghastly. We booked through MSC directly in Dec. 2017 and was told by their agent that by booking an inside guarantee, you always get upgraded. We followed that advice and in Feb. 2018 were assigned cabin 13200. We were excited as this was a rear-facing Juliette balcony spa cabin (we would not get the spa experience as we booked a Fantastica experience, but that was okay with us). However, in October, 10 days before cruising on a Friday night, we received an email stating that we needed to reprint out tickets. When we went to do so, we found that we were reassigned a new cabin, Inside, which was located (basically) inside the crew staircase and elevators. Anger ensued! We called our MSC agent (who was nowhere to be found), and over the course of a week spoke to three agents, two supervisors and had numerous emails with Miami Customer Service. One agent told us "too bad, so sad" and offered us a balcony for $4,000. This prompted us to cancel our upcoming MSC U.S.A. cruise in January 2019. So, we went to Rome to get on the cruise and found that on the MSC website our reservation was completely gone. We frantically emailed MSC Miami, to find out what was going on, but with the time difference, we didn't hear back from them prior to sailing. (One email from MSC Miami, did offer $50 OBC for each of us as compensation.) Fortunately, our reservation for the inside cabin was still good, and we were able to get on the ship. A trip down to customer service onboard had us so horrified with the attitude of one lady, who yelled at us that we "got what we paid for", that she "was in charge", and that we couldn't speak to her manager as she was "too busy" and had other things to do. After she frantically typed into her computer and hit enter, she informed us that the Customer Service Officer wanted to see us. Giada Mangione, was gracious, understanding, and had already sent a bottle of champagne and a note to our cabin to come and see her. She explained that there were a series of errors, apologized and said that she was unable to give us back the room originally assigned, and that the ship was full for the next two days. However, upon arrival in Genoa, we will be given a balcony cabin, with sincerest apologies for the mix up. Giada Mangione was the nicest customer service person we have ever met or dealt with on MSC (not because she gave us a balcony, but because she took to time to understand our frustration, was kind, and not demeaning), and we thanked her for her gracious offer. From a business standpoint, we fully understand that MSC has the right to change a cabin at any time for any reason; and that the "spa" cabin we were given was far more expensive than the inside cabin we booked. However, we have been upgraded, similarly, on other cruise lines and never had anything like this happen. On a side note, overall the crew were very nice and did try to accommodate whenever possible. Many of them did say that MSC's standard of service has diminished through the years, as their workload had increased leaving them only enough time to tend to their duties and not give the personal service they used to provide. This saddened them greatly. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
The employees are overworked, they all seem very tired. The services are overall very good, but they clearly have to hire more resources, everyone was looking exhausted during the entire cruise. The cabins look pretty good, the only ... Read More
The employees are overworked, they all seem very tired. The services are overall very good, but they clearly have to hire more resources, everyone was looking exhausted during the entire cruise. The cabins look pretty good, the only thing that I didn't like was the fact the the most of the tv shows were in Italian. The ship is a little crowded. Other ships with the same size have half of th number of passengers. Also, they don't have a lot of shops and most of the prices exceed the ones from the shore, so they're not real duty free. The games that they have for the kids are not free, which was an unpleasant surprise. The food is pretty good. The entertainment needs an upgrade, they don't have a live band so the experience is not complete. The activities that they have during the day aren't very so much fun and there's not many of them. Even though it was a 5 days cruise, I found myself bored during the day because of the lack of entertaning activities. I filled in a form in order to receive the survey from them, it's been 6 days since the disembarkation and didn't get it yet. The organization is terrible, starting with the checkin and disembarkation. We bought a transfer from them and because of the fact that we bought it on board, out names didn't show up on their lists. Due to this, ourselves and the rest of the passengers that were on the same transfer had to wait for them to clear things up. Some of the passangers lost their train because of this. During the discussions that we had we them they were just asking us to wait and explaining that they're very busy. Some of the guys that were coordinationg this were really rude to us. Even though the services were good, I wouldn't recommend anyone to go on a cruise with them, it's just not worth the stress and to be treated like they're doing us a favor for a service that we paid. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
My C/L and i are from Canada and joined Fantasia ship in Barcelona for a 7 day cruise. It was our first cruise ever! On a scale from one to ten, our trip was a 10! Everything is so well organised it was amazing! We were both so ... Read More
My C/L and i are from Canada and joined Fantasia ship in Barcelona for a 7 day cruise. It was our first cruise ever! On a scale from one to ten, our trip was a 10! Everything is so well organised it was amazing! We were both so impressed by the service offered by staff in making sure everything was perfect! Our cabin was very clean and a good size! Very happy to have piced a balcony stateroom. We had picked our daily escursion on line prior to doing it on the boat. Im very happy we did that. This saved us money and valuable time that we did not spend in lineups to be told that most cruises were full. We picked 6 cruises out of our 7 days on the boat. I would not change anything in that decision. The excursions were great, well organised and very comfortable on very comfortable motorcouchs. We also felt safer to book true MSC rather than local offers from various vendors who also offers different deals. We preferred to play safe and make sure to get back on the ship on time. Several passengers we talked to did not take any esscursions, prefering just walking of the ship and do their own thing. The food was very good a every meals. We had our daily breakfast in the cafeteria. Great choices and food was good. We went at every night in the dining room with assigned sears. This was great and very good food. The rooms were cleaned twice a day. We were too tired at night for any nightlife on the boat. We did not attend any shows other than one night. It was however very nice. Overall, we were pleases and return on this ship on a heart beat! And chage nothing. The only 2 things we can caution people is the dink package and the smoking on the boat. First, before and when we got on the boat we had read about this package and it was not clear what we were alowed to have free of charge and not. Well it tourns out that we were not allowed much. We ended up buying a drink package unlimited for both. We did not regret at all, altough i dont drink alcohol, my wife had all kinds of drinks, different very good coffee and we could have unlimited bottle water for our excursions. I would read more about it when you book and pick what package you prefer. On the boat, we paid 209 euro each for unlimited for our 7 day cruise. We felt we did not loose any money in this deal. The part of smoking is the one i could not get used to it! There are designated areas for smokers which i support 100% but we saw on several occasions that people would smoke were they felt like it. You cant smoke on your balcony for safety reasons of coyrse but everyday, we had hashs fron higher balconys fall on our balcony. We heard several people complaining about it but nothing seemed to change. That was our only negative for our trip. We will go back on this boat and will go back. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
MSC Yacht Club - Fantasia This review is for YACHT CLUB on the FANTASIA. Different ships and a different “experience” (that is how MSC refers to their different levels of service) may be quite different. Keep in mind our ... Read More
MSC Yacht Club - Fantasia This review is for YACHT CLUB on the FANTASIA. Different ships and a different “experience” (that is how MSC refers to their different levels of service) may be quite different. Keep in mind our only previous cruising experience has been Concierge Class on the Celebrity Silhouette. Overall: MSC touts Yacht Club as a ship within a ship, and it certainly is that. From the moment we arrived at port to the moment we disembarked we were looked after by our personal butler. We never stood in a line or searched for a lounge chair or a place to sit. Embarkation: Upon arrival at the port we were immediately whisked to a private waiting area where we were offered sparkling wine, and chocolate dipped strawberries. We did not have much time there as within minutes we were escorted past lines of people to have our picture taken for our cruise card. We were then escorted to the YC concierge lounge where we waited for perhaps ten minutes. We were then escorted to our room where our YC cards were ready and laid out on the bed. Waiting for us in our room was a chilled bottle of sparkling wine, a bowl of fresh fruit and a generous plate of chocolate dipped strawberries. Our room: I believe we booked a standard YC suite. It was larger and nicer than our Concierge Celebrity room, with a walk in closet and built in drawers. We had bathrobes and slippers. The large bathroom had a full bath. The mini bar was fully stocked – no additional charge. I think the balcony was a tad bit smaller than Celebrity. Service: Our butler Nures was amazing. You must insert your card in the card slot when you enter the room so the butler always knows when you are there. I swear they cleaned up the room every time we left. Our mini bar was always restocked; our ice bucket was always full and our towels always fresh. Food: In YC you can eat anywhere you wish but we did not care to. There was always food at our private pool area and also in the Top Sail lounge – also private. The food choice in these two areas is limited but adequate. The designated YC fine dining restaurant, L’Toile on the other side of the ship is a la carte and serves three meals a day. The menu has different choices every day, including lobster one day. We were told you could have whatever you wanted if you gave them notice. The service was excellent and the wine very good. We enjoyed the food. On the first night we were escorted to the dining room by our butler, which I thought was a thoughtful gesture. Pool area: Nice, small, great service. No competition for lounges- two hot tubs. No public washrooms! You had to return to your room if needed. Luckily our room was very close so we didn’t mind. Entertainment: We only attended one night, the first night, and we were not impressed to say the least. I had higher expectations after Celebrity’s entertainment. We heard from others that there was better entertainment on subsequent nights, but the entertainment on other MSC ships is better. Gym and spa area: I’m embarrassed to say we did not take advantage of this. The spa area is complementary for YC. The gym was large and well equipped. Disembarkation: As with other cruises you must have your bags ready and waiting the night before however once you have left your room you are free to stay in the YC areas and eat and drink as long as you like. When you are ready to leave your butler will escort you off the ship. Our butler escorted us right to our bags which had been removed from the carousel and were waiting for us. My husband asked Nures how he knew where our bags would be and he replied that he had gone down earlier that morning to collect them! Fellow passengers: YC is small and people embark and disembark at different ports, which surprised me, so YC guests could change every day. Our fellow passengers were from all over; USA, Canada, and Europe. We are social and outgoing so we managed to find a group to visit with. This could be a problem for some. Worth noting that it could be entirely possible to end up on a cruise where no one speaks your language, or cares to. Dislikes: We enjoyed all aspects of YC and it met or exceeded our expectations. However, the rest of the ship was a different story. The Fantasia is a beautiful and elegant ship, but it is HUGE; and there are so many children! We later found out that children are free and MSC can be quite cheap so there were lots of families. Our impression of the rest of the ship was chaotic, noisy crowds of people competing for food and space. We braved one of the other bars one night and people seemed to be enjoying themselves. We noticed MSC staff mingling and dancing with guests and keeping things entertaining. Would we go with MSC again? Maybe. We really didn’t care for the size of the ship or the crowds and outside of YC, yet we found YC a bit too quiet. Perhaps we would consider a different ship with a different itinerary that is not so kid-friendly. For the time being, Celebrity has not lost our loyalty. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
We spent a week on Fantasia and an overall experience was positive except few remarks. NO SMILE policy is something you notice in a day or two. As an ex crew member on a bigger cruise line i know how important a guest satisfaction was, ... Read More
We spent a week on Fantasia and an overall experience was positive except few remarks. NO SMILE policy is something you notice in a day or two. As an ex crew member on a bigger cruise line i know how important a guest satisfaction was, even if we only talk about greetings. English is not mandatory, so the more languages you speak, the better for you to get around. This doesnt count for crew on higher position, but does for the other 2500 crew members. The food in general could be better, thers no much variation, so after a week you kinda wanna get off and eat something good! Entertainment team is great and very professional. It still stays amazing how they have a show on 5 languages! So to summarize, id say you can have a pretty good experience on-board. If you dont compare it to the big fish like RCCL or Celebrity, you gonna be fine with some patience. The food is...nah....but its clean. Its very kitschy and not everyone is gonna understand you all the time, but hey...you came for vacation, so ....relax...... Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
Although I cruise more than 15 times a year, it is unusual that I took 3 cruises in Europe within the span of 30 days! The reason? I suddenly had some spare time and it is better -valued and trouble-free cruising than travelling on land. ... Read More
Although I cruise more than 15 times a year, it is unusual that I took 3 cruises in Europe within the span of 30 days! The reason? I suddenly had some spare time and it is better -valued and trouble-free cruising than travelling on land. The first was a Mediterranean cruise on MSC Fantasia, from Genoa, on 16 September. I did not pay the cheapest but was glad to find a Yacht Club cabin at a good last-minute bargain price. MSC’s Yacht Club, on which I made quite a few trips, is one of my favourites, as it offers first class service at a reasonable price. This cruise does not disappoint. From check-in in Genoa to disembarking with my good butler taking me to a taxi, and impeccable service all the time during sailing days, I was all VIP (that I am actually not, I am afraid). Have done various MSC ship many times (Gold member). Membership does not give more useful benefits such as free internet on Cunard and Princess at similar level, but ticket price is discounted as well as some onboard service. The food is good at the special YC restaurant, and service is first class like on luxury ships. Yacht Club cabins are not much larger, but it is the food and other services, such as special YC deck area on ship and lounge, inclusive wine, and most important the good butler service, that count to make YC an even better valued proposal than an ordinary cabin for me. The itinerary is well-travelled, only one port, Ajaccio, was my first call. Genoa is an excellent starting port, easy embarkation, and much to see, so I had a pre-cruise stay of 3 nights before sailing. Cannes was next and we had a long whole day to explore the city. Palma de Mallorca came next, then Barcelona, both I had too many visits and so it was relaxing for me. The ship is my destination, that’s why I booked Yacht Club. Often a little stroll on familiar streets, then home for a fine dinner. MSC offers good entertainment with production-type shows every night. Then Ajaccio, my first visit although I have called on Bonafacio and Calvi on previous cruises. It was still too much sun and too hot on Sept 20 to have an otherwise most pleasant stroll of this town. For me ports like this of compact size are most desirable for cruise ships. Then Civitavecchia, and I didn’t bother to add one more of many revisits to Rome. Civitavecchia has become a permanent bore to frequent cruisers like me who do not bother to take 3 hours in train travel to Rome. Last call was La Spezia. An excursion port to see Firenze, Pisa, or Cinque Terre. It was bad that as I landed late I miss the few transportation to the latter, which I have visited of course but want to see again one of the most picturesque places of the world. It was an all-port day busy itinerary, great for first time cruisers of the Med. MSC has many ships doing similar itinerary. The spectacular new vessel Seaview was next to us in Genoa for departure same time but I have chosen Fantasia for Ajaccio to have at least one port of touristic interest to me. Paying a good last minute fare for Yacht Club, it was always a good idea if you have time to spare And alas, I still had time, so I embarked Costa Fascinosa the day I disembarked.. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
I was very apprehensive about this cruise after reading the reviews, I was totally blown away from start to finish. We are a couple in 50's, who have traveled a lot. We did a cruise 6 years ago with P & O and I cried the first week ... Read More
I was very apprehensive about this cruise after reading the reviews, I was totally blown away from start to finish. We are a couple in 50's, who have traveled a lot. We did a cruise 6 years ago with P & O and I cried the first week I hated everything about it ! Embarkation was so smooth and easy it was a joy !!! Friendly staff to greet us, welcome drink on arrival and a real WOW factor - just like a movie set with the glitz and glamour The Cabin was just what i was expecting, clean to a high standard and twice a day, large comfortable bed and the choice of pillows. Mini bar was not included in our room but it made no difference as i just went an got a drink when getting ready. Balcony was a good size 2 chairs and a table, don't need anything else. Food, again i was shocked after reading the reviews on here, we ate at the Red Velvet every night, yes it is small portions but it is ala carte, so i wouldn't expect anything else. The food itself was presented well and tasted great, there is a choice of starters, main and dessert. Even the table wine was good. We didn't try the buffet for dinner, we did pop in there for lunch, but it wasn't our thing. Breakfast again at the Red Velvet was extremely good, you have the option of buffet or table service. The level of service in the Red Velvet was incredible, they could not do enough for you. I ordered 2 desserts every night and extra potatoes, they never questioned it or pulled a face, these guys worked really hard and enhanced our dinning experience. We bought the all inclusive drinks package and it was well worth it, we added up everything at the end and it would have easily been double the amount We didn't do any MSC excursions, we did our own thing, again it was a straight forward process to disembark daily, no long queues. Cannes Don't worry about getting a ticket from level 7, go straight to level 4 and board the tender. There is a petit train if you wanted, but we wandered freely. Palma Straight forward, get of the cruise ship and catch the local bus from outside the port, it takes you straight to town. Barcelona. Again, catch the local bus from outside the port, a few minutes and you are in town. Corsica My favorite place, its just a stroll into the town, great place for wine and food Rome We did this ourselves through a cruise excursions it was half the price of MSC and had a full day here, just wandering around. Pisa We took a taxi from the port the train station 15 euros and had booked train tickets to Pisa before we left, the train was great, i think it cost us around 35 Euros return in first class. Not much there but at least i can say i have been. Genoa This is where we started our cruise, so didn't have any time to look round. Disembarkation, again a doddle, it was really smooth, the suitcases were collected in the evening, we collected from outside the ship went straight onto a coach and then at the airport. Entertainment was ok, better than P & O but bearing in mind they have to cater for at least 6 different languages it must be hard to please everyone. All in all, i am the hardest person to please, i have no complaints about MSC cruise , all i can say is I WILL BE DOING IT AGAIN. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Mediterranean Cruise Vacation ex Barcelona on MSC Fantasia. We have previously sailed with Celebrity, RCL, and Norwegian in The Caribbean, Alaska and on the Pacific coast, and this was our first European cruise and first with MSC. We ... Read More
Mediterranean Cruise Vacation ex Barcelona on MSC Fantasia. We have previously sailed with Celebrity, RCL, and Norwegian in The Caribbean, Alaska and on the Pacific coast, and this was our first European cruise and first with MSC. We are a married couple from Chicago who traveled with two single friends and we had adjoining cabins. We chose the Yacht Club package due to the all-inclusive feel, the price and the itinerary. This was a port-intensive trip with just two mornings at sea. One thing new to us was the idea of people embarking and disembarking at different ports throughout the cruise: on almost every cruise I can think we’ve been, we’ve had a complete passenger turnover on Day 1 of the cruise: not on MSC. Embarkation/ Boarding: Very smooth operation. Yacht Club personnel came to meet us (they must have seen the luggage tags) We were offered canapes and beverages while waiting for check-in. We were escorted in on the same line as everyone else, bypassing them as the butler led us on. No later than 20 minutes after boarding, we had our key cards and were given a tour of the Yacht Club enclave by our butler Germain who also thoroughly explained the workings of items in the cabin. The safety drill was an entire joke; no one was paying attention, least of all the Italians on board. The Cabin: 15001 is a large square room with an oversize balcony. The cabin was always perfectly maintained for the duration of the cruise, The TV screen was way too small for a cabin this size and was so far away from the bed that you could hardly enjoy anything on screen. We first always had to call for ice but after three evenings they got it and the ice bucket was always full when we got back. Europeans don’t use ice nearly as much as Americans; even our drinks had just a couple cubes compared to at home. Our friends next door had a regular size cabin; 15001 is really a nice cabin with extra space if that’s important to you. We had a large walk-in closet which had a lighting system operated by foot movement, so if you were in there not moving around you’d be left in the dark until you moved again! A bit disconcerting I suppose! We found it funny…. The bedding and bed linens/pillows were all amazingly comfortable and of a very high quality. A wide selection of toiletries was provided in the bathroom which had a bathtub/shower combination The Dining: Meals at L’Etoile were good but not stand-out exceptional. We had dinner there every evening, a few lunches, and just one breakfast which was slow but good. Service was attentive but not overbearing. We appreciated having this option as the regular ship buffet was always crowded and loud with people not keeping in lines. We ate there just once to try the pizza which was excellent. As a Yacht Club member you get to enjoy complimentary gelato throughout the ship, health bar shakes at tbe spa and chocolate cocktails at the Venchi bar on 6. On “Elegant” night (MSC doesn’t have “Formal”), we saw only two tuxedoes in Yacht Club, and most people dressed in smart “business casual” attire. Many men wore blazers and khakis, few even wore ties. I have no experience of what it was like in the main dining room but no one seemed to bother much about keeping to any kind of dress code. One nice thing about the Yacht Club was the personalized attention we received at all times on The One Pool deck and at the Top Sail Lounge, including Afternoon Tea service. The Entertainment: the Italian Operatic evening was enjoyable as was the French evening, but the others were just bad-mix combos of ballroom dancing, skipping-rope and street-dancing routines and I have seen better High School productions in theater. Elsewhere on the ship we had a pianist every evening at the Yacht Club Top Sail Lounge., and there were various bands and musical entertainments elsewhere that we heard about but didn’t experience. One thing I noticed on MSC is that there are many more smoking sections in some of their indoor spaces than seem to be the case of the American cruises we’ve been on. The casino, the indoor lounges all allowed smoking (sections of the lounges were non-smoking but the smell of Febreze next morning—it is used liberally to get rid of cigarette smoke stink--was quite nauseating). Personally, I would prefer a non-smoking cruise option and will look for that on our next cruise vacation. The Spa: Yacht Club guests have access to the sauna and steam room areas at all times; there is a special elevator that takes Yacht Club guests directly into the area. Otherwise you have to enter the spa through the main doors on floor 14 which is like being attacked by mosquitoes, so aggressive are the spa staff at selling options and offers. A word to the wise: I tipped my service provider at the spa generously but realized after seeing my receipt that a 20% service charge is automatically added, so you do not need to tip unless you think your therapist deserves more than that. My therapist was exceptionally good at her job, professional and obviously well-trained. The ship in general: Very clean and well appointed. Shore excursions: Poor offerings from MSC so we did our own thing. Ajaccio: we walked off the ship and explored this French town on our own. Visited Napoleon’s birthplace and an art gallery and artisanal craft store. Typical French south-coast town. Nothing much to note except the main street closest to the harbor is exceptionally touristy and you have to go up the hill to the next level or two to get the real French town feeling. Rome: picked up a rental car in port of Civitavecchia (near train station: took shuttle from ship to port entrance and port entrance to station about 4 Euro round trip) and drove to Odaleschi Castle on the shores of Lake Bracciano. Lovely day, The castle is home to an Italian Princess Orsini, and is famous for its celebrity weddings, such as Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. I can see why… views are stunning. On the drive back we stopped at an Etruscan Necropolis and overall had a great day and were back on ship in time for a very late lunch at L’Etoile. La Spezia: took the public ferry from the port to Monterosso. We’ve been to the Cinque Terre before, and have actually hiked the trail, from Vernazza to Manarola but this time around were happy to see it from the water and to see Monterosso which is a lovely village. Took the train back and walked to the ship. We stopped at the hotel we had stayed at two years’ ago and the receptionist recognized us! It was amazing! Another exceptional and memorable day. So enjoyable! Geooa: took a walking tour of the old town with a local guide organized on get your guide dot com. This was a great tour and included entrance to the Palazzo Rosso which is memorable for its rooftop views in addition to its art collection. Also we were back on the ship in time for lunch and then had the afternoon which some of us explored on our own and others used the ship as a vacation destination! Cannes. Tendered here. Took a tour to Monaco and Eze with Viator dot com. Also highly recommend this company. Bring your passport: you can get a free souvenir passport stamp in the Monaco Tourist Office in Monte Carlo (opposite the Casino but uphill at other end of the garden). It’s a nice and colorful souvenir. Unlike most things in Monaco, it’s free. Saw the Changing of the Guard at the Grimaldi Palace, visited the small nearby Cathedral where Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier, and visited their crypt. Vita Brevis. Enjoyed delicious ice-cream. The views of Antibes and Cap Ferrat from Eze are truly memorable. Eze is a lovely hillside village and is home to both the Fragonard perfumery and the Chevre D’Or. Walt Disney once visited here and it is obvious it inspired some of his work. We were lucky to get there early before the hordes of tour busses, and climbed to the sculpture garden at the summit for some of the best photos of our trip. Palma de Mallorca: MSC charging 14 Euro for a round trip bus transfer for what I consider a nice walk. Save money if the weather is not too hot and do it yourself. It’s less than a mile each way. We ended up taking the bus due to a travel companion’s foot problem and explored the Cathedral and Old Palma downtown. The ship was late in port this evening but we were back in time for dinner and wanted to enjoy our final evening on board. Excursions: we really saved a lot by going independently and lots of these ports are worth exploration; we had heard poor reports about value of ship excursions but no complaints at all about get your guide dot com or viator dot com, botb of which offered exceptional value and well-organized tours. MSC overall: Yes we really enjoyed this cruise but if we were not in Yacht Club we felt the ship had a crowded feel and a loud ambience. Once we entered the Yacht Club enclave everything became very quiet and peaceful and we loved spending time either on our balcony, in the Top Sail Lounge, or on the One Pool Deck. Nice touches included live piano music every evening, the free mini-bar in the suite and the daily newspaper that arrived with the morning coffee. I would choose MSC again but only in the Yacht Club. The wait staff and bartenders remembered our drinks, the concierge was exceptionally helpful and we were well looked-after. Packages: I pre-paid and saved 40% on the basic or standard internet package which lasted for the duration of the cruise. I also pre-paid for one of two massages that I had. We did not bother with photograph packages as we take enough on our phones! Our travel agent provided us a $250 shipboard credit per cabin which we applied towards things like laundry and spa services. Overall this was an excellent vacation and very relaxing. Disembark: we were first off the ship and our luggage was waiting, as was our driver; we had arranged a private full day tour of Barcelona and Montserrat and our luggage was stored securely on vehicle while we did this tour. It was an excellent introduction to our next four days in Barcelona before returning home. Photos: where to begin; they are all on my Google drive and it will take all winter to go through them! otherwise I'd upload a few here but cannot seem to be able to link to Google photos? Read Less
MSC Fantasia Ratings
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Rates 3.0 3.5

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