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About xznwfd

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  1. We felt the YC restaurant was much better than the Haven one. We really liked the new menu for lunch and dinner every day, and our service was perfect. We loved the bread; they always had a whole grain option and we never missed receiving bread with our meal. Our waiters made recommendations for our selections and everything they recommended was fabulous. Agree the YC rooms are much smaller, but perfectly comfortable for 2. Really enjoyed the mini bar being free, and our butler would bring us each a glass of nice Cabernet every night to drink before we went to bed. The whole butler experience was much, much better on MSC (Seaside) than what we had in the Haven (Escape). For the price especially, YC can't be beat! Cathy
  2. Hi Peter! I never knew you were the famous Dr. Cocktail, I've read many of your posts! We had such fun talking with you both, you are a wealth of knowledge. The MI and I are finally better, although I had to do 5 days of steroids to get rid of the coughing (I have asthma). Still had a fabulous time. 🙂 Cathy
  3. We did see people ordering and receiving Champagne in the bar on the 19th floor, so it is possible on the Seaside!
  4. There was a smoking section on the outside portion of the Top Sail Lounge, but not inside. There was noticeably more smoking on the Seaside than some other cruise lines, but not so that it bothered me (and I'm allergic). The casino was smaller and I did notice the smoke there.
  5. Chocolate martinis were included, they did scan our card (wristband) because we weren't in the Yacht Club proper. Did not try the gelato - I know, crazy! - so can't answer that. Don't miss the shows, do try the chocolate martini and if you like salmon, the smoked salmon in the Yacht Club lounge is fantastic!
  6. Last year, my BFF and I tried a week on the NCL Escape in the Haven. This year, my Significant Other the MI (Melancholy Italian) and I had a week on the MSC Seaside in the Yacht Club. It was our first MSC cruise, and I did a lot of research before hand on these boards, so wanted to pay it forward a bit. I won't cover every detail, but did want to make some comparisons between the 2 cruise lines and the 2 ship within a ship concepts. Embarkation/Disembarking Both YC and Haven have nice private lounges for boarding with expedited service. Both offered snacks and drinks, and both escorted you to the lounge bypassing all lines. Where MSC shone was in disembarking, our butler took us past every line (which were HUGE) and we were off the ship in less than 5 minutes. MSC wins this first round! Room Last year we had an aft penthouse suite. The room was huge, with a real bedroom and 2 bathrooms, and the balcony would have been perfect for ballroom dancing. This year, we had a deluxe suite on MSC, which was more like a mini suite on Princess. There was no division between the living area and the bed, and the bathroom, while lovely, was quite a bit smaller than the Haven bathroom. Have to give this round to NCL. Butler No comparison. Our butler this year was Glen, and he was an absolute delight. He was always trying to think of things to do for us, including keeping the fridge stocked with a glass of Bailey's for the MI's morning coffee, and 2 glasses of Cabernet every evening for us to enjoy before bed. Both the MI and I got dreadful colds (I blame flying into Orlando with dozens of sick kids on the plane) but he offered us hot tea with honey, offered to escort us to medical for cough medicine, and escorted us on and off the ship at every port and when we left the ship on Sad Saturday. Last year we hardly saw our butler and he really did almost nothing for us. MSC and the Yacht Club won this round hands down. Private restaurant MSC hands down again. The staff was amazing, we had the same waiters for most meals and they quickly learned our preferences. I loved that the menu changed every day for lunch and dinner, vs. the same choices every day in the Haven restaurant. The Yacht Club homemade rolls, pastas and fish were all outstanding - better than anything I had in the Haven last year. Really flawless experience. Private lounge MSC all the way. The views from the lounge were amazing, where as the Haven was completely enclosed with no view. Service was outstanding, we never waited more than one minute after sitting down for someone to offer us a drink. The bar was huge, and they could, and did, make anything we asked for. We also loved the little snacks available all day, not just candy like I saw in the Haven last year, but little sandwiches, fantastic salmon sushi, and things like cake pops and pastries. The space is so large and open and very comfortable, and there is outside seating as well. We spent a lot of time just relaxing here and enjoyed every minute. Private pool deck MSC again. Lots of loungers, and the buffet area was great. We had breakfast and a couple of lunches here and everything was fresh and good. There wasn't much shade if you wanted a lounger, but there were shaded areas at the bar and tables so we were fine. Again, excellent service all around. Mini bar Loved having the mini bar free in the Yacht Club. We enjoyed the nuts and Pringles, and any kind of soda was free as well. They serve Coke products, which would have made my BFF very happy (only Pepsi on NCL). There was also unlimited still and sparkling water and we enjoyed that a lot. There was also fresh fruit and nice little treats at night, along with real champagne when we arrived in the room. Once again, MSC wins the round. Room steward She was a ninja - rarely saw her, but our room was always immaculate and she was delightful when we saw her in the halls. Our steward last year in the Haven was equally stellar so a tie for this round. Staff all around the Seaside were warm and friendly, I never passed any staff member in the halls that didn't say hello and smile. Ship itself We loved the atrium, so beautiful and bright. The crystal stairs were fabulous, and the LED screens were amazing. The ship was crowded, but so was the Escape last year. Everything was clean and beautiful. Shops were nice, but it was odd that there was no place to get small sundries you forgot (like cough syrup!). The Venchi bar was fantastic - the #2 chocolate martini was one of the best drinks I've ever had. The MI tried the F1 flight simulator and had fun, but didn't need to do it more than once. We did not try the bowling but saw a lot of kids having a great time. MSC wins again! Entertainment Best Shows On Any Cruise I've Been On! (Celebrity, Princess, RCL, HAL and NCL). The shows were fantastic! The singers had wonderful voices, and the stunts and dancing were absolutely amazing. I loved the shorter length and didn't notice any accents that detracted from the songs. Really, really well done. They made the shows on the Escape look like high school musicals (no offence to high school musicals). Thermal Spa This was NOT included in the Haven, but was free for Yacht Club members. It was beautiful, loved the salt room and heated loungers. I had a massage (only $70 booked ahead of the cruise) and it was one of the best I've ever had, with no hard sell afterward. The spa on the Escape was equally lovely, but since it wasn't included in the Haven we didn't get to enjoy it. I had given the MI 3 sessions with a personal trainer as a gift but he was only able to use one due to being under the weather. He really enjoyed the one session he did do, and wished he could have done all three. Once again MSC for the win. Fellow passengers We really enjoyed the international mix on the ship. We met wonderful people from Canada (shout out to the delightful Peter and David from Toronto), Germany, Italy, Spain, and Brazil. We didn't mind the announcements in 5 languages because they were infrequent and not invasive. Almost everyone was polite and friendly. It never felt like a booze cruise, but we did always welcome our return to our sanctuary in the Yacht Club. MSC again! Excursions We had 2, one on St. Thomas (kayaking, hike and snorkel) and a boat ride to the beach by the airport in St. Martin. Both were fine, and were enhanced by being escorted off the ship by our wonderful butler. We bypassed all lines and had a private entrance when we came back to the ship. Really well done and worth the money. Price NO comparison! We paid 1/2 of what I paid for the Haven last year. It was an absolutely amazing experience for the money, and I can't recommend it highly enough. I hope to be back in the Yacht Club next year, and every year after that, God willing and the crick don't rise. 😉 I'm happy to answer questions, but wanted to put anyone who hasn't cruised the Yacht Club yet at ease - it was a wonderful, wonderful experience! Cathy and The MI
  7. Looking forward to your review!! We love Princess, especially the Royal and Regal, love Celebrity and are taking our first MSC cruise on the Seaside next month in the Yacht Club. Thank you for doing this. 👍
  8. Following, we will be on the Seaside in Yacht Club in February - first time on MSC. Can't wait to read your review and thank you for doing this! Cathy
  9. Even better news, thank you Fredric!
  10. Awesome, thanks so much! Sent from my iPhone using Forums
  11. Is sushi available in the Yacht Club on Seaside, either on the menu in the restaurant, or in the buffet? Also, how is the espresso on board? Thank you!
  12. apietros - I don't think Maria was the maitre’d in the Haven restaurant on our cruise - I think we had the assistant Maitre'd Diana from the Philippines. She was wonderful! Good to know it wasn't just us who thought our butler wasn't what we expected. We asked him for nothing other than the lemonade/iced tea for the fridge, so we were not "demanding aft passengers". ;)
  13. 2 Wheels only - we were on Deck 12. My travel agent picked that one because it has the largest balcony after Deck 9. Debala715 - We were your neighbors! Enjoyed talking to you guys when we were all on our fabulous balconies. Kaydak rules! :D We would have been perfectly happy with just him and no butler.
  14. Escape – January 13-20, Haven – The Outstanding, The Good and the Meh This was my first NCL cruise, and we (my best friend and I,who take a cruise together every year) decided to go big or go home. So, we booked an aft Penthouse suite on the Escape so we could experience the wonders of the Haven. In summary: OUTSTANDING The Haven! What a concept, it was truly a haven from the commotion of the ship itself. Loved the private restaurant, bar, and pool areas (and the cover for the pool area – needed on this trip). Haven restaurant – amazing food, amazing service. They learn your names on the first day, andthe rest of the trip was Madam Cathy, Madam Joan everywhere we went. Haven bar – Wonderful bartenders. They would make up drinks for me based on theingredients I liked (Pimms in particular) and they were amazing. Haven Concierge – We had Anoop, and he was everything aconcierge should be. Loved him. Aft Penthouse Suite – best room we have ever had. Deck was HUGE, could have held Dancing with the Stars competitions out there. Heard no noise from any other rooms, and liked the door between the bedroom and living room (we took turns in the Big Girl Bed in the bedroom and the fold out couch in the living room). So quiet,even if one of us was watching TV, you couldn’t hear a thing in the other room. We also loved having 2 full bathrooms – so convenient when we both wanted to shower at the same time. Second shower was small, but perfectly serviceable. Our Room Attendant – Kaydak. He was awesome! Great towel animals, always serviced our room quickly and took excellent care of us. Tobacco Road – What a great bar. Wonderful bartenders, great perfectly made cocktails. Favorite place outside the Haven Boarding process – Best. Ever. On the ship about 30 minutes after walking through the doors of the terminal, and that includes having a snack in the Haven check in area. Ultimate Beverage Package - first time having this, and loved the freedom of it. GOOD The specialty restaurants. We had the 3 free package, and went to Cagneys, Le Bistro and LaCucina. Our favorite was Le Bistro –great food and service. Cagneys was the least favorite, Joan said her fillet was dry, and that the one in the Haven was much better. Cagneys was also loud but the service was very good and we did enjoy it. La Cucina was also very good – we had read some negative reviews of the food but we found it excellent (and my boyfriend the Melancholy Italian and I spend a lot of time in New York and eat at some amazing Italian restaurants there). O’Sheeans – really good service, and surprisingly good food. We had lunch there one day and although it was busy, we had an excellent waiter who made it a fun meal. Ship layout – we found it easy to find our way, although a midship stairway and/or elevator would have been useful. We loved the fish in the carpet, so helpful in determining whether we were going aft or forward. Since our suite was in the aft of the ship and the Haven was in the front, we logged a lot of steps but the fish kept us going in the right direction. Photos – Really good pictures, first time we have bought any in years. Loved the way they kept all your photos together in a book and thought they were reasonably priced. The Brat Pack Show – really liked this one! The 80’s were our generation, so the music was great and the entertainers excellent. Thermal Spa – we didn’t buy a package, but saw it on the spa tour. It’s beautiful, with huge bright windows and plenty of space. Much nicer than the spa on the newer Princess ships, which is dark and enclosed. Margaritaville – We got to eat here for free on the first day’s lunch, and enjoyed it. The volcano nachos were good, if way too big, and the margaritas were excellent. NCL transfers to the airport – we used this on the way back from the ship to MIA, and thought the $16 each price was very reasonable. Our taxis from MIA to our hotel and to the ship were $50 each way. MEH Our butler Jefferson. We only saw him 3-4 times over the whole week, despite his first day promise to check on us 3-4 times a DAY. When we did see him, he made sure to tell us how busy he was. He did bring treats, but nothing personalized, just whatever was available. He also never refilled our requested lemonade and ice tea in ourfridge. We did tip him, but tipped our room attendant just as much as an extra because he was so good. This could have been because we were located so far from the Haven, but didn't feel the butler provided any service we couldn't live without. The Itinerary – We had booked for the Eastern Caribbean, and ended up with Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Great Stirrup Cay and Nassau due to the hurricanes. We had poor weather, not the fault of NCL, but if we hadn’t been in the Haven it would have been a real bummer of a trip. Jamaica is just not a great port if you don’t dock at Ochos Rios, since we had a very long (1.5 hours on the way back due to traffic) ride to our tubing and beach excursion. Bamboo Beach was really not worth the trip, although we did like the tubing part. We paid for the VIP experience and didn’t see a thing different between our treatment and those who paid for the regular excursion. They need more restrooms! We did like our guide Amoy very much, she was darling. Didn’t make GSC due to the wind, and so spent the night in Nassau, one of my least favorite ports ever. The crowds – Escape is the biggest ship we have been on, and I don’t think I would have enjoyed it nearly as much if we hadn’t been in the Haven. I don’t like masses of people, and the pool area was especially loud and crowded. They did agood job of portioning folks into the different areas of the ship but there area LOT of people on board. Overall, a wonderful trip and I’m another Haven convert. It was completely worth the extra money to me (especially after a less than stellar 2017) and I think all future NCL trips will be in the Haven. If anyone has any questions, just ask away! Cathy
  15. What a wonderful review! I'm really enjoying the pictures - you two are such a cute couple. :) Thank you for all the great information! Cathy
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