I can hardly believe that we have had our holiday, its been and gone and we really had a great time!! I was worried about going with MSC as they really have mixed reviews, but people who review them fall into two groups, those who really love them and those that really hate them. I went with an open mind and I wasn't disappointed. In fact they are a good value company that have great service and great staff.
There were a few draw backs but nothing that would make me think never again. When we arrived at Southampton we went to check in and were given a drink and biscuits while we queued to have out photos taken and have our payment method for on board spend verified. There was a worry that our ship, The MSC Opera , may not sail, she had a major electrical fault the previous week and the port authority had not given the go ahead to leave the port. We were due to leave at 5pm but in the end we didn't go until 8pm . We had no idea that there were any problems until we spoke to some other cruisers who told us that they heard an announcement on the local BBC news on the way to the port!!!
After dinner we had our 'Emergency Drill' where we had to read up on our muster point and listen out for the emergency signal and when we heard it we had to don our life jackets and head for the designated area! While the reason was serious it was a 'photo op' and the on ship photographers didn't miss a trick!! We took our own photos !!
There were quite a few things I liked about the way MSC organised themselves in comparison to last year on P and O. They made sure all children were issued with a band with their designated muster station in case they became separated from their parents. Which I think is a great idea.
The first night on board was comfortable although the weather was terrible and we had some rocky moments on the way to Amsterdam. Beth was disappointed that there wasn't any water in the swimming pools, although it was freezing cold. The hot tubs did have water and it was funny to see Beth and a few others in their costumes in the pool while others were walking by wearing coats and woolly hats!!!
Its funny how the kids just don't seem to feel the cold!
Beth spent ages in the water and came out like a prune. It was pretty chilly when she got out though.
On the third morning we were surprised to find that both of the pools had water in them and were usable, although very cold . We later found out that it was sea water that had been purified and pumped in over night. Beth made some friends and they were happy enough to play in there!!!