My husband and I decided to book a very spontaneous trip on MSC Magnifica four days before the ship was to set sail through Expedia. We were coming from Boston, USA and took a non-stop flight to Rome, then a smaller flight to Bari, Italy where we embarked. We read some of the negative reviews (mostly about smoking on the ship and staff being rude) but decided to risk the trip anyway. We are so happy we did!! We found most of the criticisms of MSC and the crew to be completely inaccurate. From the moment we boarded, the staff, crew and bartenders were fantastic and very responsive to any of our needs. We did not have to wait very long for drinks, everyone was friendly to us and the ship was gorgeous. The cabin was ready when we arrived with our bags already in the room. The cabin was nicely furnished, very clean, comfortable bed and a beautiful room with a balcony. The dining in the main dining room at night wasn't my favorite. The food was good but nothing blew me away with flavor. If you are what we call in the states "a foodie", this is probably not the cruise for you. The buffet for breakfast and lunch was good, however. Very nice salad bar, hamburgers, french fries, pasta, homemade pizzas, rice, Thai dishes and lots of other choices. We went on the cruise for the Ports of calls and a spontaneous adventure. The dining portion and food were a low priority for us.
The Activities on the crew were fun, we danced, had drinks at the cool bars, sat in the sun, and attended many of the Broadway-style shows. They were cute shows with skilled dancers and singers and a nice way to end the night.
The thing we loved the most was the amazing ports of call. Every Greek island and/or city (Venice, Montenegro, Bari) was outstanding. Too much to write but a trip of a lifetime. Everything and more that we had hoped for. I highly recommend this cruise. The only small difficulties were lots of Europeans do smoke, but only outside. Not many people spoke English so we were a little isolated (but my husband found that to be a positive lol), the initial Embarkment was a 2.5 hour wait to get on board, and lines were a bit confusing in the buffet area for breakfast and lunch. I recommend going to the buffet right when it opens to avoid the frenzy. The only people I found to complain were the Americans who didn't have a lot of travel experience. Their expectations were too high for some of the places they visited off the ship. We understood that traveling to these ancient cities there would be lines and confusion since they are not equipped for the influx of thousands of tourists descending on their infrastructure at one time. Some of the ports of calls would have 5 cruise ships show up at one time letting 4,000 people off per ship.
One last thing, I do believe you need to be average to good shape to walk around these ports of call. I am in good shape (45 year old female) and found it to be moderate to above moderate exercise to get around with lots of cobblestone walkways and uneven terrain. I was grateful my 80 year old parents decided not to attend the cruise with us as I don't think they would have had the energy to walk around. Overall I would rate this an excellent trip and would do it again with my family in a heartbeat.
The cabin was clean, very comfortable and well-appointed.