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Cruise Ship Reviews : MSC Cruises Reviews
MSC Magnifica reviews

MSC Magnifica reviews

Average customer rating:
2.82 / 5

Average Rating based on 2 Reviews:
Value For Money
Cabin Design
Fitness Center
Food Quality
Ship Maintenance
Specialty Restaurant
Staff and Service
Value For Money = 1.00
Cabin Design = 3.00
Entertainment = 2.00
Fitness Center = 1.50
Food Quality = 4.00
Ship Maintenance = 4.00
Spa = 2.50
Specialty Restaurant = 4.00
Staff and Service = 3.00

danieUK2016 saw things this way:

Value For Money
Cabin Design
Fitness Center
Food Quality
Ship Maintenance
Specialty Restaurant
Staff and Service
Value For Money = 1
Cabin Design = 3
Entertainment = 2
Fitness Center = 1
Food Quality = 4
Ship Maintenance = 3
Spa = 1
Specialty Restaurant = 3
Staff and Service = 3

A chaotic and noisy cruise ship, July 21, 2016
Reviewer: danieUK2016

Pros: Good food

Cons: The screaming children, the extra payments, the disorganization

Date of cruise: July 9, 2016

Departure port: Venice

Region visited: Caribbean - Eastern

Cabin category: Balcony

Cabin number: 8180

Good for children: Yes

Good for teenagers: Yes

A diary of a cruise – a week on MSC Magnifica

Saturday 9th July 2016

Absolute chaos on arrival. No signage or staff to advise what was going on, just the first of many scrums. This is especially hard when traveling with someone with mobility issues. The ship has clearly lied about the first language of the ship being English. Everyone is speaking Italian. We feel like foreigners.
No signage and No guides for embarkation, which was utter chaos. No provision for the disabled

No proper welcome. No personal attention. No orientation so spending hours simply finding our way around. Not even given a map. The ship is very large and complex and yet no help was offered, no tours. Amazing.

The room is nice, except we needed to ask for the bed to be broken into two twins because it was arranged as a double. The TV is very small - utterly useless (from my bed my iPhone has a bigger picture). It had no decent channels apart from Sky News and couldn't be connected to any other devices. The balcony is very small and the chairs are hard so impossible to sunbathe there. We only used the balcony to dry our clothes and to look at the surroundings.

Sunday - Bari Excursion

Mum a slow walker so we were last on bus. Front seats should have been reserved for disabled but this had not been done and the tour guide refused to intervene. She lied to us (a theme on the trip, staff lying to cover their ignorance or organizational failings) that the coach ride was two minutes. In fact it was 10.

Despite a boat of 3,000 people there wasn't an English tour bus, the guides talked alternatively in Spanish and English.

The walking tour was fine, but little provision for the disabled. We met an Australian couple, Steve and Julie, who were in the same situation since Julie was in a chair. They were also experiencing MSC for the first time. Not impressed so far. They said they had never been pushed and shoved as much in their life. They have been on many cruises but not experienced such a uncaring attitude to the disabled. We exchanged details so we could keep in touch.

When we returned to the ship our bags were searched and put through an x-ray machine. Ridiculous. They are so desperate to sell alcohol that they search all passengers every time they return to the ship. This makes embarkation slow and is a rather degrading activity.

Sunday Evening

Already feels that we are being trapped in a school playground for a week. The buffet is uncomfortably busy, mum got pushed over by a crowd of running children. No parents in sight. Lord of the flies. Very little thought for the disabled. The place was packed, everyone fighting for seats and attention

More like a floating butlins, No magic. Getting attention generally very difficult. Always a long queue at the reception, from customers confused. Waiters inattentive, bar staff more interested in selling drinks packages. Badgering passengers rather than serving them

Serious language barrier, like the United Nations. Everything in Italian.

Sitting about waiting, queuing, herded like cattle, all seems very amateur. Herds of children everywhere, no peace and quiet no matter where you go

I wanted 30 minutes in the steam room but I was informed when I got down that there will be a charge of 29€ to enter the steam room. How do they calculate 29 euros for 30 minutes of a steam room?

On the plus side, the food is good (when you fight your way through the crowds for it) and then search for a table, but the restaurant is so crowded we took our food to our cabin and watched Sky News on the small TV.

No attempt to put Brits together, spent day 1 with Spaniards, English poor so no communication

It's day 2 and this ship appears to be cross between a floating scam and a vast kindergarten. Everything costs more money, even to get a drink of water costs money.

The staff are nice but many don't really know what they are doing, ask for a latte and I got a glass of milk.

So far its very grim. I regret being on the cruise already. I would have more fun at work.

Monday – Katakolon

No shuttle bus or staff when we got outside the ship so we made a very slow walk to the local town, which was dull. Not long in port, hardly worth the trip to Olympia since mum is a slow walker, so we had a drink and returned to the ship. No provision for the disabled.

Monday Evening

In the evening we raced through dinner at 7 p.m. to get to the 8 p.m. theater show, since by 10 p.m. mum is very tired. The show was a mindless performance of “Romeo and Juliet” which lasted just 40 minutes. Alternative sections were in English and Italian, making the performance incomprehensible for everyone who couldn’t speak both languages. Very little story content, mostly visual and aimed at kids.

On Monday evening I started writing an online review using the internet terminals in the “cyber café.” The connection was slow and so it took me 30 minutes to write it. The ship then charged me 13 euros for this 30-minute session. 13 euros for 30 minutes! This reveals the level of robbery that MSC is involved in, when they charge such a scandalous sum for a basic service that should be included for free. And because the service is poor (slow) I have to pay extra!! These people are clearly thieves.

Tuesday - Mykonos
Finally a good length of time in port. We had a full day to explore the town and utilized a free bus arranged by the town along the promenade.

Wednesday – Piraeus / Athens
£40 for a bus tour. Just a few hours in Athens. Tour was in two languages because they couldn’t get a whole bus of English speakers. Didn’t get a single photo as nothing we stopped for was worth photographing.

We then set sail for Dubrovnik traveling at a snail's pace, Clearly going very slow in order not to arrive until Friday.

Thursday – At sea
A bizarre and unnecessary day at sea. The ship was traveling very very slowly just to kill time. Very little activity on board for the elderly. Very noisy all day with the cruise director screaming into the microphone in Italian making half of the ship unusable.
It is hard to believe we paid for this holiday - we would not be happy if we had got this holiday free - we would still want to leave.

Friday – Dubrovnik

Again, no provision for the disabled or those with mobility issues. On the bus at 8:45and into Dubrovnik at 9 a.m., but allowed just 4 hours to see this historic city. Last shuttle bus at 1:15 p.m. Cost £40 for a 90-minute tour of four adjacent buildings and the rest of the time free. Just enough time to visit a couple of tourist shops and have a beer.

Hard to believe: Visits to two great cities were cut impossibly short so that we could spend 36hours cruising the Adriatic at a snail’s pace between Athens and Dubrovnik.

We also suffered a rather arrogant tour leader who didn’t like to repeat herself. Steve and Julie were also on this tour and they were abandoned by the tour guide who breezed up the steps into a museum not giving them time to carry Julie’s scooter up the steps. Steve was furious when we exited the museum and complained to the guide. She defended herself and blamed them initially, saying she was unaware of the problem. They had a row in the middle of the street for a couple of minutes. The guide looked a bit shaken afterwards, but this was her fault for getting into an argument with customers.

Later in the tour she clearly had a rethink and decided to make amends and took them on a private tour of the museum after the tour had ended, Steve told me afterwards that she was a lawyer by profession.

On Friday night I asked at the reception what was the plan for Saturday, and why we were being ejected from the ship at 8 a.m. when the flight the cruise line had booked didn’t depart till 5:30. The lady behind reception looked a bit lost. She told us we would be at the airport by 11, and could then stow our bags and spend some time in Venice.

Saturday – Venice and departure
The minibar was locked shut whilst we were at dinner last night. If we thought the cruise could not be any worse we were about to be proven wrong. We were asked to leave our suitcases outside our doors on Friday night for them to be taken ashore. Seemed like a pointless exercise and indeed it was. We were asked to vacate our rooms by 8 a.m. on the Saturday! Never have I found a hotel with such an early checkout.

We then had to join a long queue to settle our onboard expenses at the reception desk. We found a mystery charge of 9 euros per person per night for “service charge” despite the lack of service during the cruise. This was a total of 9x2x7 =

Again no provision for the disabled at the homeward departure. We were herded into an enclosure where we had to look for our suitcases and then into a long queue for a bus. We were on the bus about 9:10 and at the airport about 9:30. There was no one at the airport and the assurance of facilities for our bags turned out to be a lie. We could not check in until 2:20. We had a total of 8 hours in the airport. In order to get a seat in the café we had to order food and drinks, because the seating prior to check in was nonexistent apart from this café. After sitting in a café for 5 hours we then checked in at 2:20 and sat around for another 3.5 hours, since our flight was delayed till 6:15.

Summary - The good

Food is good and the bar drinks are reasonably priced, although charging 15% service charge at the bar is rather shoddy. The daily pianist or harp at 6 p.m. was nice (although the screaming children ruined it several times)

Summary - The bad

The problems

Children running and screaming at all times. All excursions and movement was surrounded by chaos, with little signage or direction. We dined alone at a large table four nights of the 7 as dining companions ate at the buffet. The maitre d' should have spotted this and rearranged the table plan. So we were denied the chance to meet other guests at dinner. Very poor organization.

The coffee provided with breakfast or in the buffet was terrible. Forget Italian quality coffee! All announcements in five languages so very long and intrusive. The internet is very poor here. The terminals are slow and VERY expensive. The wifi is expensive for the good quality.

Constantly being gouged for money. Forced to pay for water at meals (which is against maritime law). Charged silly prices for the excursions, which are short and chaotic. Charged 15% “service charge” for bar drinks. A mystery 9 Euro per person per day “service charge” added at the end of the cruise.
Too much to mention in full, but I will write a full diary and publish in the travel press if MSC does not promise to make changes.

In conclusion

This is a cruise company with serious problems. Very amateurish. Many staff are unsure what they are doing and there are few processes in place. Trial and error seems to be the principle of management. MSC have mis-informed and mis-managed for the whole week. The firm is always grasping money off customers, and is basically a floating mafia operation.
We get the impression that the MSC cruise ship operation is drowning, their head is underwater. They do not have the skill to manage such a large and complex operation. They run from crisis to crisis because of lack of organization.
There is no education on the cruise, no attempt to inform passengers about the destinations. The theater shows are all aimed at children.
The whole experience was impersonal. No one to greet us. Handed a newsletter every night, and have to queue at a reception to get any more information. When you get to the front of the queue you often are sent elsewhere or get no clear answer, or otherwise are told a lie.
The whole cruise was a waste of time. We all regret booking with MSC. This cruise line should have its license removed for the way they treat the elderly
Needless to say it will be our life’s work to make MSC cruises suffer as much as we have, and to help others avoid this shipwreck.
We suggest you dig a hole in the ground, fill it with water and sit in it for a week - you will have a better holiday than on this ship.

Finally, here are some quotes from a previous reviewer that are very accurate:
• “They would probably be nice if they weren’t constantly inhabited by 5-16 year olds. Screaming, running, hiding and jumping on the furniture, no one was there to control them. If you are an adult in these lounges, be prepared to get treated as second class to the children. They rule this ship.”
• Children running rampant and no service to speak of led to a chaotic and stressful time. Highly unorganized and at sometimes dangerous,
• Jacuzzis will be occupied by at least five teenagers each, so you can wait your turn, but they will never get out. Bet on it.

In short, please use another cruise line. Avoid this company like the plague.

BUT – one great caveat. Perhaps we were just very very unlucky. Let’s see how the company responds. If MSC responds with shock and horror and takes effort to make amends, then this could still be a good company. Even the best companies fail sometimes, but when they do, they make efforts to recover customer goodwill, retrain staff, fix processes etc. The test of customer service is not perfection, which is unattainable, but rather that management time is given to repair relationships and correct mistakes.

We will update the review with the MSC response.

dking210 saw things this way:

Value For Money
Cabin Design
Fitness Center
Food Quality
Ship Maintenance
Specialty Restaurant
Staff and Service
Value For Money = 1
Cabin Design = 3
Fitness Center = 2
Food Quality = 4
Ship Maintenance = 5
Spa = 4
Specialty Restaurant = 5
Staff and Service = 3

Reviewer: dking210

Pros: Big, beautiful, modern ship with elegant decor

Cons: Children cruise free

Date of cruise: July 16, 2011

Departure port: Venice

Region visited: Europe

Cabin category: Balcony

Cabin number: 9005

Embarkation: Very disorganized. It took a bus, a monorail, another bus, a cramped speed boat, a good deal of walking, hundreds of stairs, and an extraordinary amount of waiting to get from Marco Polo (Venice) Airport to the ship.

From the airport to the ship it took about six hours to get to our cabin, all of which was done with four pieces of luggage. Also, there were no signs to indicate where we should go, or in which direction. The MSC bus stop was indicated by a small tent with two flags outside it that we just happened to wander past.

We were going to try to walk through the port ourselves to find the boat, I am glad we didn’t. Nothing on any of our documentation gave any directions or indications on how difficult it would be to find and there was no mention of the multiple modes of transport. My wife and I are very experienced travelers, but this portion was not for the faint of heart. Do not bring a lot of luggage.

Packages: While we were waiting for a very long time in the port, we were bombarded with sales pitches from various vendors from the ship hawking onboard items like a third world market. I will go through each and tell you why you should not buy them.

“Coffee Package”: Do not buy this! The guy said it was a coffee package, so we thought coffees were not included, so we were quick to snatch it up. Turns out it is for espresso, 14 of them! So on top of our free coffee, that we actually like, we have to drink two espressos a day, for which the staff will refuse to give you any milk. After a few very caffeinated days, we tried to give our coupons away. When our friend tried to use them, she was told that only we could use them. The whole package is not only a waste, but more frustrating than if you did not buy anything at all.

Drink Package: It seemed like the most likely package to use up, because we knew we would need a lot of alcohol to get through this cruise. You get twelve drinks, but only the bottom shelf, sugary syrup drinks. And you cannot use your coupons towards a more expensive drink. So you are forced to drink a super sugary, headache inducing, bad drink, instead of what you probably would prefer. I would strongly suggest steering clear of this drink package, unless all you plan on drinking is Bahamas Mama knockoffs the whole seven days.

Wine Package: Almost worth it...almost. It was pitched to us a bottle of wine for every dinner. They forgot to count one of those dinners, because it only had six coupons for seven nights. We had to have the house wine for the last night, which was better and less expensive than the “selection” we got with the package.

Beer Package: Did not fall for this one, and I am glad I didn’t. Only good for the one beer they had on tap, which I have never heard of, but by the standards of the rest of their packages, was most likely below par.

Water Package: How could we lose with this one? Two bottles of water a day, but bottles you drink from the room you can’t use a coupon for. So we took the hit twice before we realized we had to go downstairs and physically order them from a bar. Painful, and we had to take a bottle home in our luggage. Overall savings, about three euros, same cost of one bottle of water that we took home.

Cabin: The balcony cabin looked smaller than the picture, but sufficient for the journey, as it was just me and my wife. I would not want to try and fit a third body in there; it would be far too cramped. We saw people with cribs and cots in their rooms and they looked like little refugee camps. If you don’t have a balcony, you will have a terrible time, because it will be your only escape from the onboard chaos.

Lounges: Four lounges with decors that were pretty much all the same. The only memorable lounge was the Tiger Bar because it was so ugly. They would probably be nice if they weren’t constantly inhabited by 5-16 year olds. Screaming, running, hiding and jumping on the furniture, no one was there to control them. If you are an adult in these lounges, be prepared to get treated as second class to the children. They rule this ship.

Casino: Fun, great dealers, good bartenders, surprisingly no kids. This is the quietest place on the boat, aside from the slot machines. The smoke and seediness seemed to scare the children away from this area, but it is not open all day, and can get expensive to hang out there every night.

Restaurant: Every night same table and four couples shared it with us. At first it was intimidating, but they turned out to be nice folks and was actually a nice interaction with adults every evening. Our table was surrounded by screaming children, of course, but someone put some thought and planning into placing five English speaking couples with no kids at the same table. For this I am grateful.

Oriental Restaurant: Because most days lunch is closed after you get back from port, you either have to eat on land or pay for your meals. The Oriental restaurant was a little expensive but great. Great service, great food, and quiet for the most part. For some reason a family camped out right outside the open door with four children, who were of course, running, then screaming, then crying. No one closed the door, or asked them to move along. It seems on this cruise, everyone either ignores or is numb to children with behavioral issues.

Excursion Office: Cancelled one of our excursions on the first day with no viable alternatives. They did not have enough people to go to the beach, so we had to talk to the personnel there. They were uninformed, disinterested, and could not give you one single detail or bit of information as to what the next port had to offer. Was it close to the city? How far is the beach? Are there taxis? Is it safe? Can I handle doing something on my own? This led to at least one family we saw get abandoned by a taxi driver 90 minutes away from the port, they had to beg to get on our paid for excursion bus and sit on the floor. I felt terrible for them, but they also ruined our excursion because we lost at least an hour sorting out a solution for them on our hot, sweaty, and now cramped bus. That is just one example, but I could list one for each of the five excursions.

One other particularly sneaky trick they pulled is when they increased the price of one excursion by around 50 euro per person. A total of 100 euros on top of what we already paid. When we complained, they told us to cancel it, but when we asked if we could feasibly do it on our own, we were met with disinterest and uninformed answers again. Do not expect anything from them.

Pools: Not for adults, children only. They will be in there 24/7 non-stop. They will be screaming, crying, running, jumping and splashing. This is not a large pool by the way, so the water eventually turns brown. I don’t know what from, but it does by the afternoon, so get there early. Jacuzzis will be occupied by at least five teenagers each, so you can wait your turn, but they will never get out. Bet on it.

Fitness Room: More like a closet, very small, but beautifully positioned in the front of the ship. Get there early if you want to do anything at all.

Room Service: Very attentive, polite, and cleaned the room twice a day. Always greeted us in English and made eye contact.

Service in general: These people acted very frightened. Seemingly, they were at the point of not wanting to do anything in the way of customer service. Can I get milk? Can you make the drink better? Can I send this back? Can I have a drink not on the menu? Nope, never, you will never convince them to give you what you want, not even for money. Here are just two examples of how terrified the servers were to do anything besides serve exactly on the menu.

Example 1:
Wife: Can I get a mimosa?
Waiter 1: Not here try Tiger Bar.
Wife: Can I get a mimosa?
Tiger Bar Waiter: Not here try upstairs.
Wife: Can I get a mimosa?
Upstairs Bar: Not here. Only Tiger Bar has champagne.
Wife: Can I get Champagne?
Tiger Bar Waiter: Yes.
Wife: Can I get Orange Juice?
Tiger Bar Waiter: Yes.
Wife: Can I get both and an extra cup?

Example 2:
Me: I think you gave those kids our alcoholic Mojito and us a non-alcoholic one.
Waitress: No.
Me: I’m pretty sure, because this does not taste like it has alcohol, and those kids seem really happy.
Waitress: No, not possible, maybe it’s just weak.
Me: Maybe, can you ask them? You brought them out in the same hand, maybe you made a mistake?
Waitress: No
Me: Maybe you should before they drink all that alcohol. I will buy myself a new one.
Waitress: No, it’s not my fault.
Me: Those kids are real young; I need to talk to the bartender.
Bartender: It’s possible; we made a non-alcoholic Mojito and yours at the same time.
Waitress: It’s not my fault, it’s his problem.
Me: I will pay for a new drink, I don’t care! Kids under twelve should not have alcohol!
Bartender: Here’s a new drink, sorry about that.
Me: Whatever.

Disembarkation: Worse than embarkation. Make sure if you have any follow on transport departing before 4 p.m. you notify someone. We didn’t think we had to because our next transport was at 3 p.m. but we almost missed it. They held us in a waiting area from 8 a.m. until noon with no indication as to how long the process was going to take.

When your group is called, then your real journey begins. It is a free for all where only the strong survive. The baggage area is the only thing that is somewhat organized by color, but no assistance. Just scope out your bags and grab them and run to the free shuttle, because that thing is first come first serve, and people have been in line for longer than they would like to be.

Have I mentioned this is all taking place outside in the rain? Around the shuttle area, there is what appears to be a line, then another, then another, with no signs or personnel to sort anything out. We saw one lady in a uniform, and asked if we could walk to the monorail. She told us yes, it was 25 minutes walking. We had four pieces of luggage and it was raining, 25 minutes in that! Then a shuttle pulled up and all semblances of law and order broke down. People started charging towards the vehicle in a dead sprint. Jumping on the bus as people in the line screamed about unfairness in disgust. We followed suit and elbowed and muscled our luggage and bodies on the bus.

Fifteen minutes later we arrived at the monorail, so walking we now realized would have been a fatal mistake. At the monorail chaos persisted and a line stretching past the exterior fences was steadily growing. This line had no logic behind it and flowed in both directions, so it was more of a mob in transit. When you get to the front of this line, all while being rained on, pushed, and rolled over by rolling luggage, you will confront a automated ticket vendor. This is the bottleneck, as everyone has to fish out a euro coin to get a monorail ticket to get through the turnstiles with their luggage. Then you have to take two escalators to reach another mob at the top awaiting to get on a monorail. More pushing and shoving and you can finally start your hurried dash to the airport.

Overall: Beautiful ship, great itinerary. Children running rampant and no service to speak of led to a chaotic and stressful time. Highly unorganized and at sometimes dangerous, I believe with new management this ship could be truly great.

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