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MSC Cruise Ship. Minefield of hidden charges

Moscow
Level Contributor
5 posts
5 reviews
MSC Cruise Ship. Minefield of hidden charges

On arrival onboard the MSC Cruise Ship Meraviglia, there is a huge hard sell line of touts that surround you as you walk through calling out to you to buy all their extra packages and shoving their ads in your hands. Very difficult to ignore or say no which is what they want.

Market place buffet restaurant is massively overcrowded, noisy, uncivilised and impersonal. Have to push and grab for everything. Should be split into different rooms. No free fruit juice except at breakfast time and extremely sugary! Coffee is terrible.

Hard sellers going from table to table touting for their businesses in your face whilst eating your meals. Pushing you to buy extras such as freshly squeezed orange juice which should be free anyway, soft drinks and payable restaurants, etc, etc. They are rude and interrupt you constantly.

The alternative free upmarket restaurant also charge you for water plus commission on top! They refuse to offer tap water. Food there is tiny. 3 raviolis for a main meal or a teaspoon size mashed potato as the only veg with a thin piece of meat. Soup size is about 4 tablespoons.

No films, documentaries, dramas, tv programmes for English viewers in the cabins. Only payable ones. They only had news channels and CBeebies in English. Cinema is chargeable. Bowling is chargeable.

Free show every evening but Cirque du Soleil in another theatre is payable.

Buying a wifi package doesn’t even give you access to your emails. You have to upgrade even more to get that.

Excursions are much more expensive with MSC. Much much cheaper if you get a taxi or Hop On Hop Off buses. There is always a Tourist Information desk right next to the ship at every port giving you a free map and directions and ways to get about much cheaper than the ship’s. The ship always gives you the impression that their methods are the only ones, such as their own ‘payable’ shuttle bus to city centre a mile away – not true.

Money is taken from your account towards UNICEF without your consent during the cruise. Was told this is apparently “in the small print”.

The brainteaser quiz session had 90% of questions regarding MSC i.e. “What benefits are there if you book your next cruise now with us”. I think the word ‘benefits’ should be swapped with ‘hidden charges’. And the words of their show one evening was “We work with Love” - or rather “we work with del boys”.

Felt like being hauled through a washing machine with the huge push to make you unwittingly spend more and I will never go with MSC again. Sadly, this mindset of hidden charges/hard sell/fees/commission is rife with all cruise companies and is getting worse. Stay away!

28 replies to this topic
Wales, United...
Destination Expert
for Bargain Travel, Cruises, Swansea, Cardiff, Carmarthenshire, Neath, Port Talbot
Level Contributor
74,155 posts
478 reviews
1. Re: MSC Cruise Ship. Minefield of hidden charges

It does sound a bit over the top with MSC< but you;re right that extra charges have becoming more prevalent across all lines.

Personally, I don't see this as a bad thing. It gives me, as a cruiser, more choice about what I spend my money on, and I get a lower base fare because of it. Excursions are always more expensive through the line, and years ago I got annoyed at Celebrity for giving the impression that their expensive shuttles were the only way to get to a nearby town, when there were buses and taxi's available for a lower cost.

It's part of cruising these days. The business model has changed form what it used to be, just like the dress codes have as well.

Ballybofey, Ireland
Level Contributor
790 posts
56 reviews
2. Re: MSC Cruise Ship. Minefield of hidden charges

HI. Your post comes across as a bit of a rant because you had done much pre-cruise research on MSC. The charges you mention are not hidden but are certainly additional, but well known if you had come here before you sailed. As you point out, these additional charges and 'a la carte' pricing is becoming more common across the cruise industry. In 5 cruises with MSC, I have never found the staff pushy with the additional packages. Shore tours by cruise line are always much more expensive than independent tours and they don't tell you much about local services as that would undermine their business. Food on MSC is notoriously 'pretty but petite portions'. You can order seconds or more than one course. If you sail again with MSC, you will receive 5% off and will be more prepared for the little niggles. DV

Moscow
Level Contributor
5 posts
5 reviews
3. Re: MSC Cruise Ship. Minefield of hidden charges

Sounds like you work for the company hence your reply that there is nothing much wrong with MSC. I would prefer to reach people thinking of going on a cruise, rather than paid staff members like yourself, to warn them of all the pit falls so that they can make clear decisions.

Moscow
Level Contributor
5 posts
5 reviews
4. Re: MSC Cruise Ship. Minefield of hidden charges

My main point is that this type of hard sell and hidden costs should never be part of cruising these days. It has definitely got worse since my last cruise with Royal Carribbean. Passengers should never be harassed or put under subtle but huge pressure to buy things. This type of sell makes people uncomfortable and vulnerable – not everyone can refuse politely which MSC and other Cruise companies are fully aware of and exploit this to the full within the legal framework because they know passengers are on holiday, relaxed and have spending money to burn. It ruined my holiday as I had to keep thinking how to avoid it all and it was tiring to ask what was exactly free on the ship which sadly wasn’t much.

Wales, United...
Destination Expert
for Bargain Travel, Cruises, Swansea, Cardiff, Carmarthenshire, Neath, Port Talbot
Level Contributor
74,155 posts
478 reviews
5. Re: MSC Cruise Ship. Minefield of hidden charges

Sadly, form your point of view, extra costs are part of cruising these day, though I wouldn't sya they were hidden. There is always upselling going on, and this has been the case for the last decade on all the lines I've sailed with. I accept that from what you've written, MSC have tkaen it to another level, but it's very common and nothing is going to change any time soon.

As for your assertion that someone works for a cruise line and is a paid employee simply because they have a different view, that is laughable and does you no credit at all.

Moncton, Canada
Level Contributor
3,035 posts
80 reviews
6. Re: MSC Cruise Ship. Minefield of hidden charges

Doesn't surprise me..I expect to see ALL cruise lines go this way in the next few years.

They will push and charge as much as they can till people stop booking or paying to cruise. Only IF that happens will it change.

I only started cruising less than 4 years ago, and I have seen a big shift in that short time. Based on what you have said about MSC, I wouldn't even consider a cruise line that is that pushy and upselling/charging extra constantly.

Wales, United...
Destination Expert
for Bargain Travel, Cruises, Swansea, Cardiff, Carmarthenshire, Neath, Port Talbot
Level Contributor
74,155 posts
478 reviews
7. Re: MSC Cruise Ship. Minefield of hidden charges

It's what people like me want. More choice. So, I cna't see a big majority of people objecting, or ,refusing to cruise.

What will probably increase is the number of folks who just look at the base price, don't realise that so much isn't included, and will then moan about it afterwards. Fail to prepare and you prepare to fail and all that.

Of course, some people don't like the idea of added charges out of principle. I respect that, but I don't really like paying for things I don't want and won't use. I'd rather have control over what things I spend my money on and how much of it I spend.

Moscow
Level Contributor
5 posts
5 reviews
8. Re: MSC Cruise Ship. Minefield of hidden charges

Most people are not as assertive as you and shy away from speaking up for themselves by having to reply 'no thanks' so many times a day. It gets exhaustive and the vulnerable ones cave in eventually. Not the best way to enjoy a 'peaceful' cruise. The hidden costs and hard sells need to be stopped.

Ontario, Canada
Level Contributor
6,300 posts
71 reviews
9. Re: MSC Cruise Ship. Minefield of hidden charges

You can always cruise with a line that has everything included then you will not be bothered with the constant upselling onboard

Some lines are not as in your face about the upselling

shop around

JMO

Chicago, IL
Destination Expert
for Cape Cod
Level Contributor
15,951 posts
34 reviews
10. Re: MSC Cruise Ship. Minefield of hidden charges

L S, yes MSC is as you suggest but they still gain new business because their fares are so low as to be irresistible to many and many more will undoubtedly follow you.

As Lyn suggests though there are ocean cruise lines like Regent who include everything,even flights. While Regent looks quite expensive upfront (and they are luxury) they are merely including what you want on holiday and are close to par with some other companies if you could get a fair comparison with everything in the rate.

Your other option is to 'graduate' from ocean to river cruising where most or everything is included and the staff/crew is not trained to sell you but to kindly serve you.....whole different (and very pleasant) atmosphere. You don't have to go on the most expensive like Scenic, Crystal, Tauck, Uniworld. Instead check out Croisieurope and Riviera River Cruises.

Happy trails to you L.S.

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