We picked this cruise because of the itinerary. We have cruised with MSC's bigger ships (Divina, Preziosa, and Seaside). So our expectation at least for the ship experience is a tad lower than the ships we've been.
Ship is showing its age but still pretty decent. It is a mid-size ship. It looks a bit crowded in some common areas (like the buffet, theater, upper open deck, etc.) but there are some spaces where you can hang out in peace. Common areas are maintained well. We have used the open area in Decks 13 & 14, mostly in Deck 14. The open section of Deck 13 is designated smoking area. Try to avoid it if you do not like the smell of cigarette or cigar. There are 2 pools in Deck 13 which I find not used a lot during our cruise. The weather was great most of our 7-night cruise. We were surprised that there were vacant lounge chairs in Deck 13 & 14. We were able to use them several days during our cruise.
The shops and boutiques are pretty standard. There are enough variety of goods. The theater is big considering the age of the ship. However, the seats are not as comfortable compared to the newer MSC ships we have been.
This itinerary didn't have a sea-day. We were on land (on port or tendered) everyday of this 7-night cruise. The itinerary is great. Except for one day when it rained while we were tendered in Sarande, the weather was great and the places needed a second visit. I wish we had more time in Pireaus/Athens, Dubrobnik, and Mykonos. If you don't pace yourself, you will get exhausted easily.
The timing of arrival in Pireaus and Dubrobnik were perfect. Tourist attractions are not yet so crowded. If you don't like to be stressed-out in Athens, take the excursion from the ship (a bit expensive but stress-free) or take the Hop-On-Hop-Off just outside of the cruise terminal/port gate in Pireaus. If it your first time in Dubronik, go to the Old City and circle the city walls. A little bit expensive (€29) but it gives you a good view of the sea, the mountain, and the Old City. Walking in Acropolis and Dubrobnik's Old City walls or even in the Old City streets might be slippery when raining.
Food/Evening Show/Dance lessons
The buffet area is relatively small compared to the bigger ships but we were always able to find a table. Table clean-up in some areas of the buffet is slow. One of the things I've learned when using the cruise buffet is getting there at the right time to have a hot meal. Food is good for the most part. There were some fish dishes that were not to my liking but that is a matter of preference. Their pizza never fails. Sometimes there is a line up on the pizza isle.
We used the MDR for most of our evening meals. We also used it a couple times for lunch. We used it to have a less-hurried meal time. The food/menu is good. Nothing special but decent meal. The waiters are nice. You can tell them if you want your meal to be served quickly. There was a meal that I find a bit salty. The waiter even asked me if I want to pick another from the menu but I declined. It was not a big issue to me.
The Evening Shows were nothing special. Every night there is a theme but basically singing and dancing, some acrobat, and some magic trick. I find the sound volume is a bit loud. Production quality is about average (like your high school musical production). Talent quality - singing, dancing, acrobat, and magic trick is like the elimination round of America's Got Talent. There are other singers and musicians that plays in various lounges in the ship. Talent quality is not great.
We didn't participate in any dance lessons but we were in the same location where the lessons were conducted. The dance instructors were good and has the talent to encourage the participants to be comfortable at dancing.
The Embarkation process needs some work. We arrived at the cruise terminal from Marco Polo airport around 11:45am. The bag drop-off line up is already long, however, it was moving decently. We entered the cruise terminal after 12:00 noon and the line up was almost to the terminal doors. There were no annoucements or information posted what to do. The line up was slowly moving. We got our Priority Boarding number tags (#22) at 12:15pm. We stood at the line that wasn't moving until 1:00pm when an announcement came that they are starting to board Priority Boarding #1. We broke-off from our line and moved to a more comfortable section of the cruise terminal at this time while watching the display screen show the Priority Boarding numbers that are boarding. We started boarding (get through port security) at 2:15pm - 2 hours since we arrived at the terminal. It took us another 15 minutes to line up and board the ship. We were able to locate our cabin quickly and have our lunch at the buffet. It was our worst and chaotic embarkation so far.
Other than the itinerary, we also picked this cruise because it disembarks in Venice which will give us enough time to visit the other parts of the city we missed when we visited Venice 4 years ago. Because of weather (foggy morning), we were not able to dock on the scheduled (even the revised) time. We were disappointed that we won't have time to visit Venice. Our only consolation was that 1) we don't have stress-out ourselves rebooking our flight because our flight out of Venice is the day after, and 2) the buffet was open and we had our breakfast and lunch on the ship.
We docked at 3:45pm. There wasn't an explicit announcement which group was disembarking but display screens in the ship showed which (color) group are being processed for disembarkation. Our group started lining up from the back lounge of the ship at 5:00pm. We were out of the cruise terminal at 5:20pm.
This cruise was the most expensive cruise (fare) we had compared to the other cruises with MSC. But we enjoyed it as much as the other cruises we had. Room Service is included in our Fantastica cabin which we used several mornings for breakfast.
Embarkation was a disappointment which I hope MSC will address in the near future. It is always best to stay in Venice on the day of disembarkation.
I've noticed that the ship is trying to lessen single-use plastics by using a refillable shampoo and soap dispenser, no plastic sache for food condiments, and paper bag or no bags at all at boutique stores. I'll give MSC brownie points for that initiative.
Food wastages in the buffet is still a common thing. I may sound like a wet-blanket with this observation but it appears that there are people who feels no obligation to minimize waste. I've seen plates upon plates of food that appears not to have been touched at all left on tables in the buffet restaurants.
The ship (MSC Musica) will be refurbished later this year but I think we like to cruise the bigger ships.
We had an interior cabin in Deck 12. It is designed to sleep 4 (2 bunk beds hanging on the side walls). Closet space is good enough for 2 people. There are 6 small drawer space, good for 2 people. I guess you can always use the space under the bed. The room space is small but decent for 2 people. Room space for 4 people would be tight. The safe can accommodate an iPad-size tablet, DSLR camera, and other valuables.
The bathroom is cruise ship standard. Shower stall is decent size and uses a shower curtain to cover the stall opening. MSC's newer ship uses glass enclosure which is better than a shower curtain. It has an adjustable height removable shower head. People taller than 5'10" and/or weighs 200 lbs will have challenges with the space in shower stall.
We didn't feel the ship's movement or heard the noise (from all sources) so much. We had a pleasant sleep every night. Being tired from the day's activities might contribute to that.
Our room steward looked after our cabin well. We had an issue (not unlocking) with our electronic safe and was attended to within the hour.
Dubrovnik is worth visiting again. There were other tourist in the Old City besides cruise passengers. The timing of our arrival in the Old City was perfect. Tourist are just starting to arrive and streets were not too crowded. Be sure to prepare your camera. There are a lot of breath-taking views.
We bought tickets (€29/person) to go up the city wall and walk around. It was worth it. There are other City Pass available that includes passes to museum and discounts to stores. I think if you plan to stay multiple days the City Pass is worth it.
Much of my rating for this port is related to the weather. It started to pour hard as soon as our tender arrived at the port. We spent 30 minutes in the terminal waiting for the rain to stop or at least change to showers but it continued to rain for over an hour. We braved the rain and walked along the seaside. Some restaurants were open while most of the shops we saw were closed.
It was our first time in this place and have read about the traffic in the Acropolis and surrounding area. We decided to take the excursion to have a stress-free transportation and tour of the city (Athens/Acropolis). Cost of the excursion is obviously more expensive (ticket to Acropolis included) but the extra cost was worth it to have a stress-free day. There is a Hop-On-Hop-Off bus outside of the cruise terminal for a less expensive alternative.
Our tour guide was very passionate about Athens and Acropolis and its history. We saw the Panathenaic Stadium and had a quick stroll and shopping at The Plaka.
My only regret was the short time we had. But then again, traffic is unpredictable and I don't want to miss the ship.View All 390 Acropolis Reviews
The cruise terminal has a boat shuttle to bring passengers to the port in the middle of Mykonos. It cost €2 (one-way), however the wait is longer compared to the more expensive (€7/return) boat shuttle MSC contracted for their cruisers.
It is a very nice town. Lots of places to eat. Neat little shops. There were 3 other cruise ships tendered so the town was populated with cruise passengers. Tourist were moving everywhere so it wasn't too crowded.
It rained while we were going out of the gangway. Katakolon is like Ocho Rios. Unless you take the an excursion to Olympia, there's not much to do near the cruise terminal. If the weather is great, you can go to the beach which is nearby.
It is a nice small city. It is unfortunate that we landed here on a Sunday, when most stores are closed.
We have been to Venice before. Airport to Cruise Terminal is very easy even when using public transportation (AVTO) albeit lots of walking from People Mover station. During this time of year (October), we are glad we booked our return trip the after our disembarkation date. Otherwise, we would have been stressed-out and paid more rebooking flights than the amount we paid for our hotel stay.
Venice is worth visiting again (at least for 2 extra days).