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Formula280SS

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About Formula280SS

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    Cool Cruiser

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  • Location
    New England
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    MSC-RCCL-CCL-NCL-DCL
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Caribbean

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  1. Although others have found otherwise, we've had the same experience as you. Our Yacht Club B2B on Meraviglia in December 2019 and March 2020, the price differential set us up for three extra nights (two pre-cruise and one post-cruise) at the Intercontinental in Miami and Harbor Beach Marriott in Fort Lauderdale for each cruise set. We've switched up and over to Meraviglia because we done Yacht Club Seaside 2 B2B's and pre-popular 2019 pricing (book long time ago, we met passengers that paid 2-almost 3X; incredible) and the RCCL and NCL upper tiers and Haven passengers are tipping the $cale$. 😮
  2. We've done the B2B on Divina and Seaside three times. It's easy. First, they will (or should) notify you as a B2B cruiser with a letter to your stateroom mid-week one. If they don't go to customer service. Second, you will need to get your "week 2 card a/o wristband" well before the last day as customer service 'lights up at the end of the cruise with passengers with issues (usually with their bill). 😮 NOTE, once you do that (at least our experience) your old card a/o wristband "won't work anywhere" (bar, fee dining, etc., but the wristband might still work for your room). We found out at breakfast trying to get mimosa's right off that my card with the beverage package "had been re-carded" and they thought it was stolen. A manager assisted as I told her we were B2B and we just re-carded the prior night. She OK'd the mimosa's and we used our new cards thereafter. The concierge in the Yacht Club re-digitized our wristbands also in a minute. If you want to stay on the ship, all the B2B's meet in one of the lounges/bars near the gangway. You are escorted down the gangway and directly to US Customs, where they facial recognize you (you'll need your passport and ship pass). You basically wait for the USC to certify the 'ship is empty, and you are the 1st group to re-board. You'll note even the new ship crew in line getting ready to follow you. If you want to leave for a tour, you simply exit and do your tour. We've never done that (enjoy the ship to ourselves before the new passengers mass in), however, we've been told by other passengers that they had an easy priority re-boarding. Another NOTE: We now do primarily B2B's, same stateroom. However, we've found that the COST of booking each 7-day week separately is LESS that booking the 14-day. I don't know why, but it's been that way from our B2B experiences the past 2-years. With MSC, once we found the stateroom we wanted that was available for both weeks, we'd call MSC and have them quote two 7-day and one 14-day alternatives. Again, we don't know why, but the two 7-day options has COST LESS.
  3. Can understand your reaction to an unpleasant experience. You're not alone, nor is it confined to NCL re: specialty restaurants. Cagney's was always a 'given great meal for us until our recent Bliss B2B; it was a bad miss; yet others had great meals at Cagney's and we even had great meals at several of the other specialty restaurant venues (see our full review; really, really great experiences). Before referencing a quote from that review, consider 'how many Cagney's 'hands contributed to that mac & cheese for example; the prep assistant, the cook, the expediter and window lead and the "waiter" finally. It shouldn't have gotten to the "waiter" and the "waiter" shouldn't have served it. Again, this is happening across all lines from our experience. For example, on RCCL Anthem last year, at Chopps signature specialty steak house, my medium rare filet came well done and pressed like a flat iron steak (while others 'walked by on plates that were inches thick plump). I asked the waiter 'what's up and he said he refused it 'at the window and the manager said to serve it and wait to see if the customer refused it. Turned down a offer to replace. This was after the "colossal shrimp" (which used to be 3-4 gargantuan prawns upright in a stainless) came in as 4 tiny shrimps in a martini glass (31-40 frozen back count size). Just a total bad experience. We even turned down the offer of two replacement dining experiences from the restaurant manager for the rest of our cruise. Got personal letters in stateroom apologizing and offering free dining in other venues. Said no, we're all set. Here is a link to our full review including each dining venue and an extract re: Cagney's. SPECIALTY DINING COMMON ISSUE - In specialty dining is the performance and service of the wait staff; gone are the days apparently of 10-12 year experienced specialty restaurant wait staff, replaced with new, inexperienced and rotational servers. They don’t know the food, and you’d likely see them busing in the Garden Café or main dining at various days. ALSO – When we mention portion sizes below, consider we are not big (I’m 145 lbs, wife 125 lbs) or big eaters. CAGNEYS – D We book Cagney’s on NCL 2-3 per week typically. After our first dinner in week one, we cancelled all of the other reservations. We ordered shrimp apps that disappointed in size of shrimp and iced texture. Like those in a frozen bag 31-40 count. Certainly different then our first cruises on this class of ship, not only with regard to size (yes, I know you can order several) but also not prepared properly at all. We shared an iceberg lettuce wedge; best part of the meal. Then the disappointment. My Australian lamb looked perfectly cooked medium rare and was. However, it had ZERO TASTE. Never figured that out, NOT ONLY NOT GAMEY, but didn’t taste like anything at all. Wife’s 5 Oz fillet was perfectly colored medium, beautiful sear; absolutely ZERO TASTE. Our onion rings (I got 2) were cold and the batter had separated from the onions. When our server “finally” came back, our plates were 3/4ths uneaten. Never even asked why. This would have been an F, but we’ve had dozens of great meals at Cagney’s before. Response to a Reply: I will say, regarding the restaurant specialty restaurants, we spoke with many couples in the Vibe, and others in the Observation Lounge, that had BOTH + and - experiences at the same venue. In context, that could mean our ratings could possibly all reverse. However, we did Le Bistro, La Cucina and Q twice during the two weeks with the same result. Also, to be fair, we also did not visit Cagney's or Ocean Blue for a 2nd time in the two weeks.
  4. The outside dining venues are covered and enclosed by rails generally. There is significant outside lounge arrangement with all weather couches and single chairs. They are very, very popular with people who like to read, see the seas and not get too much sun. Great for larger groups also to get together. The Observation Lounge is 'awesome. It has been noted, with photo's, of people with bare feet on the fabric. On our B2B we only saw a few of such. Most had socks on or used a towel under their feet. We booked what we could ahead of time. What we needed to book for the go-carts and the Vibe we did at the location others have noted and at the Social Comedy Night Club. We also went across the hall from their to make changes to dining reservations; earlier times are the easiest to get. Also, regarding the LED screens for activities and dining (especially) they have green and red circles to indicate how full they are and what is open. We totally IGNORE them as they were not reliable. We'd walk in to whatever we wanted even if it indicated it was full for that time. Re go carts, we went extra time when they said it was ALMOST FULL. We were the only ones on the attraction. No help here, up in New England.😯 Hope some help. Have a GREAT time. Here is our Bliss B2B review from January.
  5. Good summary points. However, the Yacht Club $easide prices are changing. Supply and demand. We met passengers that paid 3X what we paid for our most recent B2B on Seaside. Stunning. Looking forward, some YC on Seaside range is astonishingly variant. $2,500-$4,750 PP on some weeks. I honestly couldn't believe it until another PAX on recent B2B told me of their cost. Yikes. The YC 'model works versus the Haven, NCL, when there "is the value." Might even be the best choice if 'equal. However, if MSC ups the YC to more than the Haven significantly? That 'value will be gone. So, ahead of the curve with MSC (YC PP was/is incredibly low, = stateroom balcony of most top lines) we've flipped forward to book MeravigliaYC for 2 B2B in both December 2019 and March 2020. Recommendation - Book ahead of the curve on the new MSC ships if this pattern continues.
  6. Comparing the MSC Seaside (new flagship, December of 2017) to the NCL Breakaway (flagship, April 2013) is not "apples to apples" IMO. I'd be interested in comparing MSC Seaside to NCL Bliss. I'll take a look. I will say MSC Yacht Club prices are up considerable (as you noted) since we booked all of our B2B's on Seaside and Meraviglia. 😀 We met passengers on our recent B2B Seaside that paid more than twice what we paid per person.
  7. Yikes. I hope they have 'upgraded the shrimp (size and quality) since our recent Bliss cruise. 🙄 If they are serving is the same trio in the Martini glass of ice I had, not worth it. Made an entire review of Bliss in this link. Below is an excerpt re: Cagney's. CAGNEYS – D We book Cagney’s on NCL 2-3 per week typically. After our first dinner in week one, we cancelled all of the other reservations. We ordered shrimp apps that disappointed in size of shrimp and iced texture. Like those in a frozen bag 31-40 count. Certainly different then our first cruises on this class of ship, not only with regard to size (yes, I know you can order several) but also not prepared properly at all. We shared an iceberg lettuce wedge; best part of the meal. Then the disappointment. My Australian lamb looked perfectly cooked medium rare and was. However, it had ZERO TASTE. Never figured that out, NOT ONLY NOT GAMEY, but didn’t taste like anything at all. Wife’s 5 Oz fillet was perfectly colored medium, beautiful sear; absolutely ZERO TASTE. Our onion rings (I got 2) were cold and the batter had separated from the onions. When our server “finally” came back, our plates were 3/4ths uneaten. Never even asked why. This would have been an F, but we’ve had dozens of great meals at Cagney’s before. I will say, regarding the restaurant specialty restaurants, we spoke with many couples in the Vibe, and others in the Observation Lounge, that had BOTH + and - experiences at the same venue. In context, that could mean our ratings could possibly all reverse. However, we did Le Bistro, La Cucina and Q twice during the two weeks with the same result. Also, to be fair, we also did not visit Cagney's or Ocean Blue for a 2nd time in the two weeks.
  8. Well, we had a thread on our first MSC cruise on the Divina in the YC where tipping was discussed, but more recently the YC on Seaside. We've been on Seaside YC again B2B recently 3/2-3/16/19 and we've actually increased our 'envelopes on the day before the last sea day. My wife hand writes (Catholic grade school, perfect cursive skills) notes to each recipient personalized with a comment or two about how they made our cruise so enjoyable. PERSPECTIVE - We booked MSC YC long ago before it became noticed. The demand is up and so are the prices. We were actually uncomfortable telling others what we paid for the B2B after being apprised of what others paid. So, we're in for short money. We tipped our waitress $200 a week, her assistant $25 and the hostess $25; both per week. Our waitress was 'worth it. We tipped $100 to 1 butler, $50 to two other butlers, that took care of us in the lounge (we always got champagne and a certain select organic wine that I wanted), and $200 to one butler (Roy, week 2, after return from getting married so half was a 'congratulations gift). We tipped $25 to 2 bartenders in the lounge and 2 at the YC pool. We tipped our room steward and butler $50 each, each week. We didn't use room service, and they only needed to make the bed and refresh the towels. They were really nice, quick in the AM and worked together in the room (on 2 prior B2B YC's, never saw the butler to anything in the room so this was new). It might appear to be too much, but again, we cruise a lot and our YC cruises are 'over the top, the service is 'over the top and we just totally enjoy the entire experience.
  9. Beyond breakfast, the food was amazing all week long. The top deck pool grille continues to shine; adding cooking shows and special open cooking at lunch. The YC restaurant is 'what you make of it. You need to make sure they understand what you want. We'd been in YC for 4 previous weeks and knew a number of the staff so it was a breeze for us. Again, just tell them 'what you want and how you want it prepared. Some pics. Shellfish stew and pasta at the pool grille. Pumpkin risotto at the YC restaurant. I believe a strudel. Lots of 'artwork at the pool grille.
  10. French toast, with fruit and side of crisp bacon was wife's favorite.
  11. Nice. Hopefully, most got to see it on all lines. We'll know tomorrow and Sunday if we start to see how many got 'a real surprise at the FL airports.
  12. Agreed, re: ALL cruise lines. When apprised of the issues, no one on MSC Seaside added any announcement to the dailies or notes or phone messages. Yet, in the Yacht Club alone, we met 2 of 4 couples we talked to that had flights cancelled and didn't know until they went and checked. It looks like heading from FL to the East and Northeast is the toughest with Spring Break midpoint return travel of college students. The planes were ALREADY FULL, and even they are experiencing cancelled flights. They'll likely rent a car and drive. We did get set up in FLL @ the Harbor Beach Marriott and got a flight in a couple of days. Hope there are too many SURPRISES at the airports (MIA, FLL, MCO) on Saturday and Sunday with so many cruisers returning. GLTA
  13. On the MSC Seaside currently, recently off the NCL Bliss. Turned iPhone on in Mexico (in our plan) and text notice from SW airlines FLIGHT 3/16/19 CANCELLED. Not too concerned until we spent 2 hours trying to find a decent flight back to the northeast. There were NONE AVAILABLE at time we could make, terrible connections, and on alternate airlines, GOUGED pricing for the same. Decided to stay in FLL until Tuesday and fly SW on connection through Tampa to NH. What a MESS. Also, booking a hotel in Miami or FLL was a task; a mix of Spring Break supply/demand. Ended up with $1,500 for 3 nights in FLL @ a decent hotel. Not really a problem, but most cruisers might not know. So, we started talking to others; they didn't know. Some had the same cancellations. Alerted Yacht Club concierge and ship cruise director; hoping for an announcement to all passengers or paper notice to CHECK YOUR FLIGHTS. Just an FTI. TX CC.
  14. Get the premium if internet (and related streaming of news, etc.) is important for you. Seaside had really good WIFI when we B2B last year; expect the same 3/2/19 for two more weeks.
  15. We think NCL Breakaway class in your situation (and the Haven versus Yacht Club) "for your kids" is the right choice. The entertainment is more traditional on NCL, higher quality productions (and longer). Also, the activities, slides, ropes and other features on the Breakaway class are quite better than Seaside (except the zip line, but that is mild). If you could swap out Breakaway to the Bliss you'd be on the go carts and down the 'drop water slides and laser-tagging day after day after day. We just did a B2B Bliss in January, not even in the Haven, and wow did we have a blast. GREAT NEW DESIGN FORWARD with the Observation Lounge and Garden Cafe (GREAT new FAMILY high top seating area) and every seat has "the view." Enjoy. If you want to be spoiled without kids, the MSC Yacht Club is a 'must try in our opinion.
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