The Switzerland-based cruise line fell to the bottom of the 2020 ranking for the second year in a row with a score of just 57 per cent, with its customer service and food ranking poorly.
The rating was based on the feedback of 2,253 Which? members on their cruise experiences over the past two years. Cruise lines were rated on factors including customer service, cabins, onboard facilities and food and drink.
MSC’s fleet of 19 ships, which can carry up to 6,500 passengers, were deemed to have long queues for things like meals and entertainment.
Food and drink onboard, alongside port excursions, were rated just two stars. In addition, a fifth of passengers said they had to complain about their cruise when they returned home.
Other cruise lines that were rated poorly by Which? included Holland America, Cruise and Maritime Voyages and Norwegian Cruise Line, scoring 68 per cent, 69 per cent and 70 per cent respectively.
At the other end of the spectrum, Viking Ocean Cruises came top with a score of 93 per cent and five stars across all categories. Customers appreciated the “classy” and “crowd-free” atmosphere with Viking.
Saga Ocean Cruises (88 per cent), Azamara (87 per cent), Hurtigruten and Silversea (both 85 per cent) were also rated highly.
“Cruises shouldn’t be about long queues, expensive extras and rubbish excursions, especially when you’ve already forked out thousands of pounds for your trip and have limited choice about how you spend your time and money onboard,” said Rory Boland, Which? Travel editor.
“Bargain headline prices often mean dubious add-ons once you set sail. A far better experience was had by those who paid for an all-inclusive cruise where pricier upfront tickets will give you peace of mind and might actually leave you paying less overall.”
A spokesperson for MSC Cruises told The Independent: “We are of course disappointed that this survey of Which? customers has shown some dissatisfaction with our product, however we are sure that the small sample size of 67 passengers is not representative of our overall passenger experience given that in the UK market alone we have seen a 37 per cent increase in passengers comparing 2018 to 2019, with a high number of repeat guests.
“In 2019 over 3 million people sailed with MSC Cruises across the world. After every cruise we contact guests for feedback and as a result create an overall satisfaction score which is not in line with the Which? findings. In addition MSC Cruises is an award winning cruise line, and in 2019 alone we collected over 50 awards around the world recognising the strength of our product.
“While we are always grateful for feedback, and are constantly working to evolve our product offering and passenger experience we feel that this ranking is unrepresentative of both our brand and the cruise industry as a whole.”