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ocdb8r

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Everything posted by ocdb8r

  1. What if you don't have an invoice from NCL? Booked via TA and only have their invoice, which has no promo codes listed...
  2. It also depends on where you are sailing. Just got off a Med itinerary where the cabin steward did ask we were out of the room by 9am, but said we could probably stay on the ship until 2 or 3 as they don't do a full zero out of the ship (and in fact have people getting on and off at different ports). We left just after lunch at about 12:45.
  3. Booked last minute, so never received an email...but there's a notice and link on my Manage My Booking on the NCL site.
  4. Anyone know if the counter can go over 10,000? I had status matched to Diamond and my counter set at 10,000. No points from our last cruise...I'm not so concerned about the points as much as making sure it's credited to reset expiration.
  5. Officially, yes, everyone gets assigned a boarding time. However, most reports here seem to indicate (and my experience a couple of weeks ago in Europe) that for YC guests, they will take you when you arrive, regardless of the specific time assigned.
  6. I don't think it has anything to do with being helpless, but rather trying to tip with something readily usable to them. Of course I am sure they are all more than capable of converting money to the currency they'd prefer...that doesn't mean it's easy or that one shouldn't consider what might be most useful.
  7. ...as to the number of devices, we were permitted two devices PER PERSON on the included "browse" internet. Each passenger created an onboard internet account using the ID printed on their room card. Each account was permitted to connect two devices. The system did say you would NOT be able to switch devices (and their was no way to manually de-register a device). However, I noticed about every 48 hours our devices would de-register and we'd be asked to login again...we only ever used the same 4 devices, so I don't know if possibly when logging in again if you could switch the device. Browse was sufficient for us so we didn't upgrade. We had no problems with messaging, news and email apps. Anything "streaming" related was completely blocked.
  8. See attached - scroll down to the Connoisseurs Collection - only available for the price quoted or with Premium Plus (soon to be discontinued). YC Bar (Sep 2021).pdf
  9. JWB was listed as available last week. We were focused on the cognac's and champagne....plenty of Veuve!
  10. This is not the case currently in the Western Med. Even in Italy, where only "bubble" shore excursions are permitted, crew are being permitted off the ship to shop in the duty free areas (and we observed this last week in several ports, with crew purchasing all variety of "snacks" and personal toiletries). I have no idea what the current regulation is for Caribbean cruises, but given USD is the most commonly used currency throughout the Caribbean, I would agree USD is likely preferable there.
  11. Take a look at the minipresso or nanopresso (WITH the nespresso adapter - base model is for actual espresso grounds). I travel with one of these regularly and they are a god send for someone who has also become addicted to nespresso and espresso in general. I used this on NCL a couple of times and just used the Hamilton Beach in the room to brew hot water (running it without a coffee pod in it). Also very easy to use anywhere else on on the ship they will give you hot water.
  12. I would not say always USD. The fact the ship uses USD and they are paid in USD is of little consequence. Cash is not spent anywhere on the ship except the casino (even in crew areas). Crew charge anything not provided by NCL to an account settled against their wages. Cash is most useful for them to spend onshore; if they're operating where that's Euros, they will most certainly be welcome (otherwise they are needing to pay a currency conversion for anything they want to purchase off ship). Regardless, ANY major currency I am sure is appreciated.
  13. Giuseppe Galano is currently captain. As for staff - make friends with Arnold from the Philippines at the YC Pool Bar. Super friendly, full of drink suggestions and by the second day was greeting us by name and bringing us our favorite drinks. He's new to the YC area and super excited to be there. Other memorable staff were Illona (sp?) from Ukraine in the YC dining room who had the section to the right up against the windows (facing forward as you enter). We didn't even sit in her section every night and she always came by to greet us. We also got to know the sommelier (Alessandro) well, but he finished his current contract the last day of our cruise.
  14. Any chance you know what the hours for the Thermal Suite are? Were any specialty restaurants open for lunch?
  15. Can folks report what current Thermal Suite Hours are? Specifically wondering about the Epic next month, but generally on NCL ships currently would be helpful.
  16. Yes, and this is still the case (just off Seashore last week). There is a separate drink menu for each of the Yacht Club locations (Topsail, Pool Bar and Restaurant) - anything on it without a price is included for free when in the Yacht Club area. If you compare, you will see there are several "Signature Cocktails", well drinks and wine/champagne there that would be above $12 at bars outside the Yacht Club (and thus, in the Yacht Club you can get some drinks free that you cannot outside the Yacht Club). Based on my experience on the Seashore, there is no "package" within the YC - simply almost everything is included, with a small selection of top shelf liquor, wine and champagne listed on YC menus with an extra charge. Outside the YC we effectively had the "Premium" drinks package (which in Europe was up to EUR 12 and in the Caribbean is up to USD 12). On my cruise, we upgraded to the "Premium Plus" package, which gave us access to anything offered by the glass on the whole ship. I would also remind everyone that this is all about to change AGAIN as MSC introduces new drinks packages for the Fall (there is a separate thread here detailing this). We have no idea what "equivalent" YC guests will be given for use outside the YC (and so the current situation could change). We already know that the new "Premium Plus" will not entitle holders to anything offered by the glass and will introduce a new top per glass limit of USD 15 (EUR 12).
  17. Just got off Seashore in Naples and our experience was the same as posted for the US - we were told the Pringles, Mixed nuts and Toblerone were included but would not be refreshed (and we in fact consumed these and we're not charged). We were given a choice of 8 different bottles of alcohol and chose Bombay Sapphire, which arrived as a full 70cl bottle. Non-alcoholic drinks and beer were refreshed regularly.
  18. I wouldn't be concerned - the Taxis seem to know exactly when the ships will have disembarkation. We were on the Apex in June (which I think used the next terminal past the Jade) and there was a swarm of taxis available when we got off. We had pre-booked a van as we were a large group; happy to share the WhatsApp contact details (just shoot me a PM) if you are interested.
  19. Paul - I've posted almost every bar menu (including the Champagne Bar) in a coupe of different posts on this thread here: Mods - any way to add these updated Bar menu's to a sticky section for MSC?
  20. Some final thoughts… We had a complete rain-out in Genoa, so I thought I’d take the time to jot down some of our final thoughts on the penultimate day of our first MSC experience. A bit long, but hopefully helpful to any others looking at MSC or specifically the Seashore. Food and Drink (Yacht Club and elsewhere) We were not “blow away” by any of our food experiences on the ship (and I would also say we were not really disappointed either). The dining in the Yacht Club was certainly elevated above most other MDR experiences we have experienced in the couple of years before COVID struck, but I can’t say there was anything we had that really made us say “wow, I can’t wait to have that again sometime.” Italian dishes and fish dishes certainly stood out as the best quality and taste options. Meat and poultry dishes were much more variable, with some being very good and others just passing the grade. We also ventured to the Marketplace Buffet a couple of times just to see what was on offer. The pizza was definitely a cut above most cruise ship pizza, but not quite the amazing quality we had in Naples (where we boarded). Otherwise, the buffet seemed quite disappointing with a much more limited selection than we are used to on other lines. We also found the design of the buffet very poor on Seashore, with long tight corridors which made it both difficult to navigate and difficult to actually see what was on offer. After taking the time to walk the full length of the buffet area a couple of times, we discovered quite a bit of repetition throughout and only one small section of hot dishes at the very back of the ship. As a (matched) Diamond member, we spent one evening at Butcher’s cut. Again, the food was clearly above MDR standard but certainly below the steakhouse on Princess (although it’s been nearly 5 year’s since we last dined there) NCL (just pre-COVID) and Celebrity (this June on the Apex). Our steaks were perfectly cooked, but the NY Strip was a bit tough with more gristle than I would expect. Sides were forgettable and the four steak sauces presented for every table were not particularly flavorful. Dessert was also subpar, with the chocolate “lava” cake served cold/room temp. Finally, we ate once at Hola Tacos (and drank there a couple of other times) and were very pleased with the food offering (coming from a native from SoCal – it wasn’t as good as what you can get from a good SoCal Mexican restaurant but exceeded any Mexican offerings we’ve had on other lines). HOWEVER, we were quite frustrated to have been charged for all our drinks in this venue, despite having upgraded to the Plus package. This was remedied by the YC Concierge after the fact, but apparently Hola Tacos is also completely excluded from any drink package. I pointed out that all the online descriptions of the plus package (both in the MSC app and on their website) make no mention of this and explicitly indicate drinks are covered at specialty restaurants – that said, printed documentation provided to ship staff (and also in the flyer used to promote the packages on the ship) now exclude Hola Tacos….I suspect an online update will forthcoming. Quite disappointing and bizarre as effectively this means you cannot have a single free drink (no matter how small the cost) at this venue when dining here, regardless of any drink package you may have. As for drinks – as I mentioned, we immediately upgraded to the Plus package to take advantage of the no per glass limit which will be going away this Fall. Overall, we were very happy with the selections available to us and certainly got our money’s worth. The Sommelier (Alessandro Di Fiore) in the Yacht Club dining room provided outstanding service and really latched on to us once he realized we had upgraded our package. He seemed to delight in being able to open some of the more expensive bottles of wine to be able to explain and serve them. He did an excellent job offering up both good pairings for the food we ordered and ensuring we got a good “tour” of the upgraded wines by the glass available to us with the plus package. Entertainment I posted a bit about some of our initial experiences which were pleasurable. We continued to really enjoy the Cabaret Rouge venue and the design of programming there. Those nights that paired the band with live performances were very nice (Van Gogh, Woman Artists, Paris revue – with Van Gogh being the clear standout from a production perspective). However, I think ideal for people to go in with a proper expectation of how this works; we saw several people come, order drinks, sit and leave in apparent frustration at the lack of seeing a “show.” On nights offering one of these productions, the general formula is for the venue to start at 7:30 with the band playing live music. This would occasionally be peppered with a live singer for the first 30-45 minutes. Usually between 8 and 8:15pm a more fulsome “production” would commence with 15-20 minutes of live singing and dancing. This sequence would then “repeat” with the production being done a couple more times throughout the evening. For us, it made for a more casual type of entertainment we could weave into our evening plans and we enjoyed the more intimate space with live entertainment. For the main theater productions, we found all FOUR of them very enjoyable. We were surprised to see so many FULL productions given our more recent experiences on the main US based lines is to have a couple of big productions with the other nights filled by other simpler entertainment (a single singer, musician, comedian, magician…etc). However, while these are scheduled for 45 minutes, nearly every one was exactly 30 minutes in length. As to quality, they may not have had quite the talent or storytelling we have seen on other lines, but I don’t think I have ever seen more elaborate costumes. Finally, we also enjoyed several of the lounge/bar acts throughout the ship and found them of similar (high) quality to Princess/NCL/Celebrity and particularly enjoyed the regular live music presented in YC Top Sail Lounge (which also drifted up to the dining area). Spa Thermal Suite I mention this because we are completely in love with the thermal suite on the newer NCL ships and always get the weeklong pass. This has served as our little hideaway of tranquility on NCL ships since we no longer find sufficient value in the Haven at current pricing. I have been surprised having had access to the thermal suites on our Celebrity Apex cruise in June and this MSC cruise to learn that NCL’s offering is a bit unique/superior (at least for us). All three have very nice sensory showers, wet and dry saunas and Himalayan salt rooms, hitting the main points for a thermal suite. However, the Celebrity Apex has no Thalasso/water therapy pool/jacuzzi and while there is one on the Seashore (closed due to COVID) it is extremely small; I can’t imagine being able to really enjoy it as we do on NCL. In addition, the Seashore Thermal Suite location on deck 8 makes for little to no outdoor views. Location was better on the Celebrity Apex, but very few heated tiled loungers, poorly placed, meant no long relaxing afternoons gazing out at the sea from a warm tiled lounger after 20 minutes in the therapy pool. Overall Service As mentioned, service within the Yacht Club was always top notch. Everyone consistently went above and beyond to ensure we were having a pleasant time and to get us anything we needed. Of particular note was Arnold from the Philippines up on the Pool Deck who really excelled at getting to know everyone, including our morning and afternoon drink preferences. Based on my reading of other posts, our Butler (Manoj) was average for YC, but certainly above and beyond any room steward we have ever had. He was also well backed up by our junior butler (Joao) who was always so upbeat and helpful. Random notes and observations The bars and bartenders are effectively “no-go” areas during COVID which we found a bit annoying. You are not allowed to sit at any bar, nor are you able to order directly from any bartender. This made it difficult to ever “quickly” grab a drink as you always had to find somewhere to “sit” and get the attention of a server. The Seashore really seems to shudder quite a bit when maneuvering on and off the dock. Much more so than any other ship we’ve been on in the last 5 years. At sea, smooth as silk. Crew fatigue is a real issue right now. I think we had forgotten that MSC has actually been operating (continuously) since last year. Many of the crew are in the 8th or 9th month of their contracts…some pushing themselves to work longer as a result of the (forced) time they had off during COVID, others desperately ready for a break but worried the cruise line will call them back early as more ships continue to come back online. In addition, we met several crew members who had launched Virtuosa, got it up and running and then were moved to launch the Seashore. A couple even commented that they felt honored to be sought out for to help launch new ships due to their repeated positive guest comments, but that launching two ships in such a short period was very taxing. Summary Overall, we had a very nice first cruise with MSC and would not hesitate to sail with them in the Yacht Club again. I think we would hesitate to sail MSC outside the Yacht Club as we missed some of the things we love about NCL (good a la carte restaurants, abbreviated Broadway productions, best thermal suite at sea and much better shoreside customer service and communication). At current YC pricing, there is clearly value for money that hits a sweet spot for us that would continue to tempt us to pay the premium over a regular (non-Haven) cabin on NCL, however, if prices continue to creep up, we may be priced out of the YC. I think we would also tend to gravitate toward the newer MSC ships which significant dedicated YC space as this was something that stood out to us as really enjoyable compared to the (earlier) Haven set-ups on NCL.
  21. @Irishcanuck - see below my (disappointing) note on Hola Tacos. Unfortunately, it is excluded completely from all drink packages (and is the only place on board with Mezcal).
  22. Manhattan restaurant is in fact just a dedicated venue - the menu on offer is the same as the other MDR's. The private deck area is quite nice and clearly much quieter than the other deck areas. I note there is no pool, but a couple of jacuzzis which are also quieter than those on the main decks.
  23. There's a Dinks Packages (2021) thread on here (currently on page 2 of the threads) going into detail...in short, they are just about to change the packages such that the new top tier "plus" package has an upper limit on the per drink pricing included (as opposed to the current top tier offering ANYthing offered by the glass on any menu). This was actually the main reason we upgraded...to try anything at the top of any menu pricing wise to see if there was anything we might not be able to live without in future cruises (mainly the upgraded champagne offerings). Within Yacht Club (physically) it appears to work much like Haven or Retreat - anything on the menus is available to you, including some "premium" cocktails found on menus outside the Yacht Club. When (physically) outside the Yacht Club it appears the included package is just below the top tier "plus" package (which on the current cruise, means any drink priced up to €10 is included...which ends up excluding some of the same drinks available if in the Yacht Club area). We upgraded to the plus package for €104.50/each for the week giving us access to anything throughout the ship. Venchi Coffee and Chocolate Bar menu posted below. Venchi is not in any way connected with Brooklyn Cafe (they are on different Decks). Brooklyn Cafe menu also posted below (main unique things to note on here are the large beer selection and hot wings offering). On Venchi, there are three places with Venchi branding that I've seen: The Venchi Coffee and Chocolate Bar, with it's own small seating area on Deck 6, the small Venchi Bar at the back of deck 8 by the infinity pool, offering Gelato, Ice Cream Bars and small frozen chocolates and the small kiosk next to the Jungle Pool (deck 18) offering Venchi Gelato. Absolutely (and we have enjoyed this as mezcal fans ourselves)! There's a bar you can order from and some seating nearby. The actual bar seating (at all bars on board) is closed off due to COVID....but I get the sense many of the current on-board COVID regulations have been dictated by currently being homeported in Italy. I suspect there will be some modifications once Seashore moves to the US. Posting the following Menus" Venchi Coffee and Chocolate Bar Brooklyn Cafe Cocktail Bar (just outside the teppanyaki and steakhouse entrances) Venchi Chocolate Bar Menu (Sep 2021).pdf Brooklyn Cafe Sports Bar Menu (large beer selection) (Sep 2021).pdf Cocktail Bar Menu (Sep 2021).pdf
  24. ...a few more observations from another day in board. - I don't quite understand the usefulness of the MSC bands. Servers can't seem to scan them with their tablets, so we've needed to be sure to have our cards with us at all times. I guess it's slightly helpful to get in and out of the YC area, but also pointless for door access as you must insert your card to activate the electricity in the room. - Jacuzzis throughout the ship are barely warm, much less hot. Is this normal? The larger one in the YC is down right cold but we've been told they're working on maintenance issue for it. - Service in the YC has been stellar. I think MSC does the "ship within a ship" concept better than NCLs Haven (will be interesting to one day compare to the Retreat). Bottom line, I feel like we really do have our own "ship" here between a plethora of per passenger space within the YC and a concierge team/butler that guarantees you access to other venues on the ship.
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