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Everything posted by mack36

  1. On the Seaside in the US, they allow upgrading on the first or the second day of the cruise. We found out about the upgrade option on the third day of our cruise in 2018 and were stunned nobody had told us. We found a bartender who was able to make it happen even though it technically wasn't allowed. For our 2019 cruise, we upgraded before getting on board, so I don't know if their rules have changed. My big problem with MSC is inconsistency in policy. I called at least three times about upgrade policies, options, and pricing and got at least three different answers. So, if you're really worried about the cutoff point for upgrading, I would call MSC until you get the same answer twice in a row... but also know that it's really going to come down to what a particular bartender on a particular ship will do for you at any particular time.
  2. Yes, you're correct. The description in Post #10 of the Easy Package, which sounds incredibly limited, is correct. I had the Aurea experience before the change, also, and was very disappointed to see the change to Easy. I found the upgrade to Premium ($189/person for the week) to be a reasonable way to access everything I actually wanted to drink... I just wish I had known about the change when I was shopping for and pricing competing cruises.
  3. I've been on the Seaside the last two Februarys. Booked this year's trip after the major gutting of the drink packages and made the mistake of not realizing the Aurea experience now only includes the Easy drinks. I was debating whether to upgrade to Premium or to Premium Plus. We ended up upgrading to Premium (not Plus) before boarding, for $189 each, and saved the service fees on the upgrade by handling it before boarding. Premium covers all drinks up to $12. I was concerned that most of what I wanted might be priced at $12.01 but it wasn't. I was able to have any beer, Woodford Reserve bourbon --- trying to think of more examples of things I drank. Suffice it to say that anything I ordered was included. There was one small hiccup in the Venchi bar (they serve gelato and a number of chocolate-based beverages). There's an electronic display when you walk into the Venchi bar advertising several of their drinks. One of them is called Bubbles and Chocolate, which is champagne and some very tasty chocolate sprinkles. It's advertised on the display as costing $10.95. When the wait staff enters it into the iPad-like devices they use for room charges, it comes up as $12.95. That's more than $12, so it seems like it won't be covered under the Premium package. I had this drink a few times. Each time, they worked some magic and zeroed it out. One bartender tried to charge me the full price but I motioned over to one of the bar servers who had zeroed it out before, told him she had made it work, and he made it work, too. (By the way, the Venchi bar staff is awesome.) Couple more things: > gelato is no longer included in any package, even Premium Plus > the Coca-Cola self-serve fountain wasn't included with Premium. I could have had a thousand cans of Coke, but ended up paying about $2 when I dispensed some from the fountain in the buffet. I assume the self-service beer is also excluded, but I didn't try it. > premium coffee and bottled water (Acqua Panna or Nestle) are included even in the Easy package. I honestly drank more bottled water than anything else, and appreciate that MSC includes bottled water, unlike so many of their competitors. I think Premium is the sweet spot. Sticking with Easy would have been pretty frustrating. If I'd upgraded to Premium Plus, I would have dramatically overpaid. I can't think of anything I would have had to drink that would have justified Plus, since there was genuinely never a time when I tried to order something and was told "sorry - that's not on your package."
  4. If I upgrade from Easy to Premium, I see that it includes drinks priced up to $12. If I want to order a drink that costs (for example) $14, would I be able to just pay the $2 difference, or would I be charged the whole $14?
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