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MSc Bellissima - Review

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32 minutes ago, gkbiiii said:

That's a sad development. 

Yup !! it did not mention that the dinner does not come with water when I was book this cruise. So it is new for me and any cruise we took or restaurant in the US always come with water. We traveled to Asia like Thailand and the meal came with water. 

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Why does MSC try so hard to chase away American business, when it spends so much money, to enter the North American Market? 

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4 minutes ago, gkbiiii said:

Why does MSC try so hard to chase away American business, when it spends so much money, to enter the North American Market? 

Water does not cost much and we don't mind to pay for it but the part we upset is not transparency about it. If I did not read the review from @CruzLover80 I not even know about it.

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You make a good point, this does not cost MSC much, so why remove it and anger the American passengers? 

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17 hours ago, CruzLover80 said:

The boarding process with MSC in Barcelona is horrific. You receive an assigned time, mine was somewhere around 5 and the ship sailed at 8. I had arrived around 330 in hopes I would be let in... nope. I stood in a line that I thought was for embarking.... nope... just standing in line (this will be the only time I see Europeans in a line).  Then I’m told that I need a number.... huh what number.

 

Apparently they were giving numbers to those checking in bags but to no one else (we paid a service to pick up our bags at our AirBnB and deliver directly to our cabin (BagsNgo - booked online best $20 spent). So here I have to go back outside thru security to retrieve a number. Yay a number.... 21, wait did I just hear they are only on 8... it’s 415p. Welp, there goes our tasty lunch on board. There are people EVERWHERE. We finally board around 630 

 

Thanks for the great info and review. I'm boarding what appears to be a pretty sold out Bellissima from Barca in May, and I'm getting a bit worried about embarkation. It's my first ever cruise so I'm a complete newbie to everything and I also have some mobility issues that make standing for long periods quite uncomfortable. I didn't think it was significant enough to warrant noting it to MSC but this post sounds like you were on your feet for almost 3 hours trying to get on. Even an hour would be really unpleasant for me and 3 would destroy me. 

I'd also love to get on the ship as early as possible. 

We'll have our bags with us (and thankfully a 16yo to carry them!), but would definitely use Bags&Go from our hotel if it made the process quicker. So the process is:

1. Drop bags off outside security? (if we have them with us)

2. Before security get number

3. Go through security, wait in line (or can you sit down waiting for your number to be called up?)

4. Check-in to get the card etc to use the get into room and purchase things 

5. Get on-board?

 

I know nothing about the MSC terminal at Barcelona but it sounds like you couldn't really sit for most of the time you were waiting, which is a bit worrying. 

Edited by adelaidefc

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14 hours ago, adelaidefc said:

 

1. Drop bags off outside security? (if we have them with us)

2. Before security get number

3. Go through security, wait in line (or can you sit down waiting for your number to be called up?)

4. Check-in to get the card etc to use the get into room and purchase things 

5. Get on-board?

 

 

So if you opt to use BagsNgo, it is 12€ per bag. You will give them the pick up time directly at your hotel (in our case a AirBnB) they will ask for your room number on ship and deliver it directly to the ship and cabin. Now we opted to use them because our check out and embarkation time was so far apart and we wanted to explore La Rambla which we hadn’t in our 5 days prior. Otherwise you can go straight to the port.  Once you arrive at the port go to where everyone is dropping off luggage, it’s outside of the entrance. Drop off your luggage if you have it and if not Skip the line and go straight to the guy and collect your number. You will then go inside through security. There are places to sit but when we went there were no seats available so we sat on the floor. We were able to get a seat about an hour into waiting. When your number is called you go to the line and start the embarkation process (really fast, maybe 15 min). Then forward to the fun lol!

 

Once on ship that’s when you set up the payment method, which is different from other cruise lines that you do it as part of the boarding process. 

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On 3/23/2019 at 2:42 PM, CruiseLand said:

Thank you so much for answering my questions. My son only 6 years old and still need milk do that need to pay too?

I think there is a little bit of over reaction going on here. Just image your scenario, you would like some hot milk for your 6 year old. You get a glass of it from the dispenser (homogenized/pasteurized) walk up to a member of staff and ask if you could please have it heated up. What do think their answer would be? 

MSC staff that we have encountered have always been as good as any one any line we have been on. 

There is even a button on your table to press and someone comes over right away and takes your drinks order. 

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22 minutes ago, stoneman56 said:

I think there is a little bit of over reaction going on here. Just image your scenario, you would like some hot milk for your 6 year old. You get a glass of it from the dispenser (homogenized/pasteurized) walk up to a member of staff and ask if you could please have it heated up. What do think their answer would be? 

MSC staff that we have encountered have always been as good as any one any line we have been on. 

There is even a button on your table to press and someone comes over right away and takes your drinks order. 

I don't think overreaction to ask about something that I don't know. This will be the first time I will be on MSC cruise so I do not know anything about the cruise line. The only information I can get is from people review and MSC Website. Since this review said she had to pay for her water so that is shocking to me because other cruise lines I had been on, they are not charging for a glass of water with a meal in MDR or a glass of milk for the kid. It is not about paying for water or milk it is about transparency. There was no info on the cruise listing or anywhere on the MSC website about it.  

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I'm reading this with interest as I'm considering sailing on this ship out of Dubai next year.  Very disappointed to hear about the charge for water during meals in the MDR, and people say NCL is "nickel and diming" them.  The trip is going to be expensive enough, before having to pay for water that the ship probably "produced" from seawater!

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As someone stated before,

It is not about paying or not (prepaid premium package here) giving/having a glas of fresh drinking water is a common "law" world round.With kids and elderly people, choking in MDR is sadly a posibility.

MSC thinks differently

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2 minutes ago, JP Medina said:

As someone stated before,

It is not about paying or not (prepaid premium package here) giving/having a glas of fresh drinking water is a common "law" world round.With kids and elderly people, choking in MDR is sadly a posibility.

MSC thinks differently

In much of Europe (particularly Southern Europe), this isn't true at all. At a restaurant you'll most certainly be offered still or sparkling water... for purchase.

I understand these boards are very US-centric but the whole world doesn't necessarily work the same way as the States. Not defending MSC here (I'm Australian and free tap water is always an option at a bar/restaurant), just explaining that if you spend some time off the cruise in the EU you'll experience the same thing.

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3 hours ago, adelaidefc said:

In much of Europe (particularly Southern Europe), this isn't true at all. At a restaurant you'll most certainly be offered still or sparkling water... for purchase.

I understand these boards are very US-centric but the whole world doesn't necessarily work the same way as the States. Not defending MSC here (I'm Australian and free tap water is always an option at a bar/restaurant), just explaining that if you spend some time off the cruise in the EU you'll experience the same thing.

This is very true. In Europe you will always be offered and charged for water that is just the norm in Europe (always provides a bottle never tap water). So I want to make it clear there is free water at all times in the buffet, which you are free to bring in a bottle to the MDR if you wish. When you receive water in the MDR you receive a whole bottle not just a glass, it is not tap water.  Hey at least they don’t charge to use the restroom which is common in some areas throughout Europe. Lol. I did feel a little nickel and dimed but I feel like most ships are going that way. I am not going to complain as we paid $1100 for 2 people on a inside cabin to tour the Mediterranean. So with that being said and do not wish for a big debate to go on.., I’m going back to my review now. 

Edited by CruzLover80

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So we are back in Barcelona. Madrid is absolutely beautiful and wish we could’ve spent more time. If you find yourself in Madrid, please go to a Flamenco show (Essential Flamenco). It was absolutely beautiful, powerful and authentic. So back to fun stuff... excursions!

 

Barcelona - we embarked here so did not take an excursion but since we stayed here for 5 days prior. If you are cruising with Barcelona as a port, the ship will leave a cruise shuttle ticket to the city center (not sure where it takes you) in your cabin the night before. I want to say it was like 10€. There is another shuttle as soon as you exit the building that is a cruise port shuttle (r/t is 4€) that leaves you pretty much at the base of Las Ramblas, which is very walkable to El Catedral, Gothic area and Las Ramblas. There are free walking tours online you can find and reserve and solely give them a donation. The hop on and hop off is about 20€ for the day, so a good way to explore the city on your own as well. I want to say the HOHO booked thru the ship is slightly more. During our stay we went to Sagrada Família, Montjuic, El Catedral (my fav), Parc Güell, along with the HOHO, and a lot of walking. Barcelona is a very walkable city and very easy to navigate on public transportation. My two cents. If you are embarking or disembarking from  Barcelona, it is very easy to get directly to the airport using the cruise port shuttle, green line L3 from Dessaines to Plaza Catalunya and Aerobus to airport.  Or you can always taxi (there is no Uber in Spain due to many taxi strikes). I was very overwhelmed when thinking about what we had to do but actually doing it we found was so much easier than originally thought. There are so many signs directing you. We fell in love with Barcelona and the beauty of it. We stayed in a AirBnB in the Gràcia neighborhood on the front end (which we highly recommend- Berga) and in Ciutat de Barcelona in the Raval/El Born neighborhood now (which we also recommend). Two completely different areas and experiences. 

 

I need to hunt down a cup of coffee and will return at some point. 

 

 

 

 

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TThanks for the review. Were excited for the ports, were on in May. Hopefully they iron out the bugs out as I never go to a new restaurant when they first open, I give them a couple months. My first trip overseas. We're flying out of Boston. Questions I have: Dress code for dining room? I really dont want pack a coat and tie if I dont have too. Business casual good for me. Did you purchase any drink packages?

 

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Just now, adelaidefc said:

 

Thanks for the great info and review. I'm boarding what appears to be a pretty sold out Bellissima from Barca in May, and I'm getting a bit worried about embarkation. It's my first ever cruise so I'm a complete newbie to everything and I also have some mobility issues that make standing for long periods quite uncomfortable. I didn't think it was significant enough to warrant noting it to MSC but this post sounds like you were on your feet for almost 3 hours trying to get on. Even an hour would be really unpleasant for me and 3 would destroy me. 

I'd also love to get on the ship as early as possible. 

We'll have our bags with us (and thankfully a 16yo to carry them!), but would definitely use Bags&Go from our hotel if it made the process quicker. So the process is:

1. Drop bags off outside security? (if we have them with us)

2. Before security get number

3. Go through security, wait in line (or can you sit down waiting for your number to be called up?)

4. Check-in to get the card etc to use the get into room and purchase things 

5. Get on-board?

 

I know nothing about the MSC terminal at Barcelona but it sounds like you couldn't really sit for most of the time you were waiting, which is a bit worrying. 

 

I would suggest you notify MSC as soon as possible that you require assistance for embarkation and disembarkation.  That way they will escort you and you won't have to wait in the lines.

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Okay, sorry for the delay for anyone following! We are now back in Florida and I've been able to catch up a just a little sleep. So back to the review. So our first port was Marseille. Prior to traveling, we had booked through MSC  a tour to Aix-en-Provence and Avignon. So getting off was rather quick. We were told to meet in the Casino and then went to the bus. There were probably 25 people on our tour and the guide was good. She did have to provide the tour in two languages, English and Italian to accommodate those on the tour. I would suspect during busy season it is one bus for each language, but we traveled during shoulder season. So it felt like a lot of talking, but she was funny and gave a lot of good information. We visited the Palace of the Popes which was interesting. This was my first excursion booked through a ship (as I usually book offshore), so the pace was a little slower than my liking, but we did not have to wait for everyone and everyone was pretty respectful of time. I cannot say it was my favorite, but we did enjoy ourselves. I am  not a history buff so I struggled with all the historical facts, but my husband loved it. I took time to wander off and enjoy the views and take in the beauty rather than history of things. I did wish we had more time to explore things on our own. We had about an hour in Avignon, which was plenty, as there wasn't much open. But you don't really have time to sit down and have a proper lunch and explore the area. The same for Aix-en-Provence. Not much to see on the drive, which was about an hour to Avignon, then another hour to Aix and about 45m to the ship. There is nothing off-ship to see and there is a shuttle offered at the port that is quite a ways down. But I did hear people tell of their experience with the driver not being able to navigate through the construction and often hitting things... definitely a funny store to hear. MSC does offer a shuttle to the city center, a ticket is left in your cabin the day before. I want to say the cost was $10-15 r/t. Overall, a good tour and worth the money.

Edited by CruzLover80

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On 3/25/2019 at 9:31 AM, CruzLover80 said:

This is very true. In Europe you will always be offered and charged for water that is just the norm in Europe (always provides a bottle never tap water). So I want to make it clear there is free water at all times in the buffet, which you are free to bring in a bottle to the MDR if you wish. When you receive water in the MDR you receive a whole bottle not just a glass, it is not tap water.  Hey at least they don’t charge to use the restroom which is common in some areas throughout Europe. Lol. I did feel a little nickel and dimed but I feel like most ships are going that way. I am not going to complain as we paid $1100 for 2 people on a inside cabin to tour the Mediterranean. So with that being said and do not wish for a big debate to go on.., I’m going back to my review now. 

That is not  an european norm.  Might be around the meditarrean , but in northern europe especially scandinavia you`ll always get tap water for free.  There might be a couple of fancy resturant that wont provide free water if thats all you gonna drink, but if its ie with a glas of wine you`ll get it at no charge.  This is especially in the normal "tourist traps". 

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Spoke to a manager yesterday about Bellissimo and they said you can definately get tap water.  But, never know how true their statements are.

 

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Cooled water and ice are available 24 hours per day in the buffet area but none available in MDR that I have seen.

if it's a major issue bring a refillable bottle with you and ask for ice in a glass in MDR , obviously it's a lot of messing about.

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19 hours ago, abbflex said:

That is not  an european norm.  Might be around the meditarrean , but in northern europe especially scandinavia you`ll always get tap water for free.  

 

Same in Ireland.

 

2 hours ago, ltish23 said:

Spoke to a manager yesterday about Bellissimo and they said you can definately get tap water.  But, never know how true their statements are.

 

 

Tap water is NEVER served in the MDR on MSC ships - only bottled water (still/natural or sparkling/frizzante) for a charge, unless you have a drinks package.  Water is available 24/7 in the buffet and the tap water in the cabin is potable (it comes from the same source as the water in the buffet).

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On 3/23/2019 at 10:56 AM, CruzLover80 said:

So I will write a little diddy about attire. So my husband and I travelled in a carry on for 17 days.  So no, we did not pack for elegant nights, more for comfort and practicality, with pieces that could be dress casual. So we were always dressed appropriately. The Europeans do dress up a lot more but again it was mixed in attire. A little black dress and slacks for my husband was sufficient. Leave the rest at home. Both our AirBnB offered a washing machine and we had laundry service on the ship. Traveling light is the way to go, we have been on 2 planes, many trains, buses, and a lot of walking, so our little bags were perfect for navigating thru the cities. 

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Hi, 

 

by any chance did you book one of the wash packages online beforehand? And if so could you split the pieces or had to do all at one? (doing a 30 day trip in march and only have 23kg luggage, already getting nervous about this haha). Thanks

 

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11 minutes ago, Missjnnfr said:

 

Hi, 

 

by any chance did you book one of the wash packages online beforehand? And if so could you split the pieces or had to do all at one? (doing a 30 day trip in march and only have 23kg luggage, already getting nervous about this haha). Thanks

 

 

I was only on a 7 night cruise in May (but had travelled for 3 weeks prior). You can definitely split the pieces in the package over the length of the cruise, but make sure they're adding it up correctly. I did over 3 'washes' even on that 7 night cruise. The number of pieces you have left (or have done) will be on the receipt when the washing is returned.

I do think getting the package beforehand is good value. It was considerably cheaper than the rates onboard - easily less than half the price depending on what you're washing.

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1 minute ago, adelaidefc said:

 

I was only on a 7 night cruise in May (but had travelled for 3 weeks prior). You can definitely split the pieces in the package over the length of the cruise, but make sure they're adding it up correctly. I did over 3 'washes' even on that 7 night cruise. The number of pieces you have left (or have done) will be on the receipt when the washing is returned.

I do think getting the package beforehand is good value. It was considerably cheaper than the rates onboard - easily less than half the price depending on what you're washing.

Oh thank you so much for this info!! Defo gonna book the packages then! 😁

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