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SBCruiser

Hard sell and cynical lack of information on MSC

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We've just returned from an excellent Middle East cruise from Dubai on MSC Fantasia. However, two aspects REALLY annoyed us. Firstly, the swarm of bar staff trying to sell all inclusive drinks packages the minute we arrived on board (some of whom used very aggressive selling techniques when we said we wanted to "think about it") and secondly the lack of information about each port of call which we felt was deliberate to encourage guests to buy their shore excursions. We even asked at guest services about how to get into Bahrain from the port independently and were told "you'll have to get a taxi but barter with them"! When we got off the ship there was a FREE shuttle bus right into the centre which nobody had been told about! We are very cynical about this obvious lack of information. Has anyone else experienced this on MSC (or other cruise lines)?

 

 

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We found there a lack of port info with Celebrity, You use to get maps and shopping info in your cabin ,You need to go to reception to get the info.

They said" We are cutting down on Paper work as part of our Save The Waves plan"

Still found enough paper to tell us about the "Art Auctions" Spa specials and dodgy watch sales....Davybe  

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Unfortunately most lines have now adopted the 'hard sell' approach, I suppose that's the downside of lower headline prices, they've got to get their money back somehow.

HLM.

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Have found this on most cruise lines to a greater or lesser degree.

Even when you get a town map it always shows cultural stuff, museums, churches etc. not the restaurant and shopping area.

Do your own research before, don't rely on the cruise company for your info.

RayO

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21 minutes ago, RayO said:

Have found this on most cruise lines to a greater or lesser degree.

Even when you get a town map it always shows cultural stuff, museums, churches etc. not the restaurant and shopping area.

Do your own research before, don't rely on the cruise company for your info.

RayO

I agree.  We always research our ports of call before the cruise.  I start a file with maps, look at the cruise line offerings for various lines, then work out how we can do similar tours independently.  TripAdvisor is also a valuable resource.  By the time we board we know what we will do each day, although we are prepared to be flexible.  Cruise lines are in the business of selling tours so have little interest in helping independent tourists.

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Same here smtcan, I always have an idea of what I want to see before I go. 

I know what Davybe means though, it does seem a lame excuse for not providing port information when you re flooded with other information about ship activities in the spa & art auctions.

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5 hours ago, cruise chef said:

Same here smtcan, I always have an idea of what I want to see before I go. 

I know what Davybe means though, it does seem a lame excuse for not providing port information when you re flooded with other information about ship activities in the spa & art auctions.

The reams of paper from spa etc always annoy me.  They go straight into the bin in our cabin.  However, the spa, art auctions and shops just rent space from the cruise lines, so are not subject to the same restrictions.  I expect the rent includes a percentage of turnover or profit, so the cruise line is not likely to do anything that will impact their money making.

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Have recently completed a couple of trips on RCCL and did the Arabian Gulf 7 day cruise in January on the Vision of the Seas. The encouragement to do Shore Excursions is there but information on the ports is delivered to your cabin. The big plus we have noticed is that on RCCL when inside (Buffet etc) you are asked whether you want a drink it is always a free juice, water, tea or coffee unless the customer specifically asks for something else. On deck the waiters come round but relatively discretely. We have cruised a lot on Celebrity but not recently due to the lack of new itineraries but as others have commented Celebrity are now much less helpful. And this seems weird given the attitude of their parent group

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Morning all,

I've read the thread and I'm sorry to hear of your issues with MSC SB Cruiser. It's a shame as it appears to have put a downer on what was otherwise a nice holiday. I am yet to travel with MSC so could not comment on them personally but I do understand some of the frustrations with Celebrity re port information. It did used to be a better system that was more geared up to making life easier for passengers to access information. That said, it isn't something I regularly used as, like others have commented, I tend to do my research before I go. I would refute the point made about Celebrity's attitude though. I've cruised with them quite a few times now and always found them excellent, from the reception desk right through to each crew member in the dining rooms, they have all been excellent.

It's often the little things that make a holiday and an example of Celebrity would be our wine stewardess in the main dining room on board Celebrity Silhouette. I was looking to sample a new red and as my wife prefers white, I was looking over my options. Our wine stewardess came over and instead of just taking a back seat and waiting for me to decide, she made a big effort and spent a great deal of time with us finding out our likes and dislikes. Following our discussion, I was keen to try the Rutherford Hill Napa Valley Merlot, a wine I'd been keen on for a while. Not only did I enjoy it, but it was provided to me free of charge as it had been on recommendation of our wine stewardess who understood that I may prefer something else if it wasn't to my taste (which it was, I wanted to purchase it in the truck loads). That was just one example of excellent service we have received from Celebrity. The downside is that it is now one of my favourite bottles of wine, which is particularly difficult to track down in this country. Thankfully, I have found a place in Hampshire that I make a point of calling into whenever we're heading down to Southampton.

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We have just returned from P&O and they had a really good port talk person from the excursions desk who told you about the port and how far things were so you could do your own thing and then explained the shore excursions properly, not just a hard sell.  We also had the port sheets with map in our cabin pack.  Just like the old days really so good for P&O that time.

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