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  1. Thanks, @CGTNORMANDIE & @Norwegian Cruiser 73! We did indeed, and what excellent value! We joked that they must be losing money on us (but that was before we saw our bill from the casino). So much so that I'm not sure we could do it any other way. We were talking about the cruise this night, and I got the distinct impression that a regular Bella or Fantastica was out of the question after having experienced YC 🤷‍♂️. It's not that a regular cabin is bad, but just that the Yacht Club is so good. I'm sure I would like it though. My fear before embarking the cruise was that she wouldn't like it, and therefore I decided we should book YC, knowing her dislike of long queues, but thankfully she was overwhelmed.
  2. 08.12 - Sunday - Disembarkation day I awoke at just before 5 AM, just as we were slowly passing Fisher Island Sorry for the blurry pictures The cranes of the port and the skyline behind I went to bed again and slept for another hour before taking a shower and getting dressed for breakfast Departure schedule. I had the "MSC Express" for breakfast and we briefly chatted with the group of Norwegians who had asked their butler how long they could stay on the ship before disembarking - they were allowed to stay in the TSL until 10:30 or 11 (can't remember). We went to our room shortly before 8:00 and retrieved our carry-on luggage before going to the TSL, and we were then escorted down to the gangway and off the ship. Luggage retrieval was easy, and we were through the terminal quickly. We ordered an UBER to take us to Bayside, but it was slightly difficult to find a spot where the UBER could pick us up with all the passengers curbside. We dropped off our luggage at Bayside where you can store your luggage for the day for a small fee. We then just had a look at the stores before wandering along the shoreline. 09:57 - We were a bit early for the Christmas market, with just a few vendors having opened. We went to Whole Foods for a short while to have a look around and then returning to bayside to buy a christmas present as not all the stores had opened up when we were there initially. We then ordered an UBER to the airport. We had an overpriced slice of pizza and then headed to our gate 15:35 - just seconds before pushback on SK 956, direct from Miami to Oslo on an Airbus A330. SAS Go (economy) seat wasn't nearly as spacious as SAS Plus, with a 2-4-2 configuration and only 31-32 between each row. We had paid an additional $70 to reserve two seats by the window, as I was fearing being placed in two middle seats for the 9-10 hour flight. I initially thought it was OK... But just minutes after take-off, and before the fasten seatbelt sign had been turned off, the passenger in front of me decided he would recline his seat all the way back, and I felt I was breathing on his head and was unable to read. I think his seat must have had a larger recline than the other seats, because I couldn't even take down my tray table properly with his seat in the maximum reclined position (Luckily the stewardess told him to reduce his recline when meal service came around). Coincidentally, we were seated in the row infront of two of the Norwegians we had met on the ship and always seemed to bump into. Bye bye Miami, see you another time! I tried to watch a movie, but I kept dozing off. We landed in Oslo at around 06:30, slightly ahead of schedule. I had originally planned to head to work after lunchtime, but after getting home and retrieving our dog, we just had a shower and went to bed and slept until 17:00 (before unpacking and then sleeping for another 8 hours before work the next day). That concludes the trip-report. I'll write a short summary review of the ship, service, ports, etc. in another post later in the day or tomorrow. I appreciate all who have commented, and feel free to ask any questions and I'll try to answer to the best of my ability.
  3. 07.12 - Saturday - Ocean Cay continued (I made an error in a previous post, it was of course Saturday and not Friday) Once back onboard the ship, we went to the room to start packing, shower and change. I stepped out on the balcony to have a look for a few minutes (and if I followed my usual pattern, had a Corona while doing so). Perhaps we should have gotten a room on the other side of the ship.. Looking down. Looking aft After showering, I changed into a pair of pants and a tropical shirt I was given as a present from my family a few months back and promised to wear on the cruise. My girlfriend just laughed and thought it was almost so ugly that it was funny, and thought I wasn't being serious. 🤷‍♂️"You're not seriously going to wear that to dinner?" Being a casual night, and having seen what others were wearing, I didn't think I'd be too out of place. Tonight's menu We both ordered the potato lentil soup for starter (tasty enough) Magret de Canard for the main course (good). The dessert menu. I ordered the warm apple strudel, she ordered the crispy tulip. The warm apple strudel with vanilla sauce. Somehow, I had misread the menu and thought it said vanilla ice cream, so I was surprised by the sauce. The dessert was unmemorable. After finishing our dinner, we went to have a look at the lightshow at the lightouse from the pool decks. Final night onboard for most passengers Around midnight, we set sail to Miami. I hadn't finish packing, so I packed for the next hour and just got the luggage out the door before the stated deadline and then headed to bed.
  4. Thanks! I'll try to wrap this up soon, I've just been pretty busy the last week.
  5. 07.12 - Friday - Ocean Cay continued The Lighthouse bar was very busy at 17:00, and after standing at the Lighthouse bar for 15 minutes, we were finally successful in getting a barman's attention. It seemed like the bar was understaffed, so I hope they rectify that in the future. To ensure we could get our drinks before the sun had set, one of our fellow countrymen offered to put it all on his card. We weren't sure if our drink package covered it or not, but he kindly offered to pay for the whole group in the event that it did not. He didn't have to sign for anything, so I don't know if that means it was covered or not? 17:24 - The final sunset of the holiday 17:55 After having another round of drinks, we started to walk back towards the ship for dinner. At this time, a band was setting up their instruments at the lighthouse bar. From what I could gather from the MSC for me-app, there would be live music from 18:30 or 19:00 (I've forgot to mention it earlier, but when I first downloaded the app, I thought it was rubbish. But once onboard, it worked really well. You could see where on the ship you were, and how to get to other areas, opening times, and your onboard bill, etc.). There would be a beach party here later in the evening which we did not attend Plan-status: expired 😞 We had now used up our 6GB of data and contemplated purchasing a little more, but we decided we could live without data until we arrived back in Miami and save the $50 or so it cost to recharge our data-plan.
  6. Our documents stated a 15:10 check-in with the same request to not show up any earlier, but we disregarded that. I think the all-aboard time was set to 17:00 on that sailing, but I'm not sure.
  7. 07.12 - Friday - Ocean Cay continued After lunch, we returned to the beach. While service was slow at first, after a while they were coming around often and asking if we wanted anything if they saw our glasses were nearing empty. It might take a few minutes for your order to arrive, as they have to walk all the way to the restaurant and back to the beach, and I guess that may be the reason for when I asked for a Corona, I was given two. Lots of small fish! 15:09 - I heard the lifeguard warn a person that was swimming that a stingray was approaching People were out in the water walking close to it and taking pictures @mafig There was no shortage of umbrellas On one of the walks to the restroom facility on North Beach, due to there only being a single shared restroom at the YC restaurant. 16:40, and we were going to go to the Sunset beach to watch the sun set Sunset beach However, we ran into the group of Norwegians that we always seemed to run into, and went with them to the Lighthouse Bar to watch the sunset there instead over a cocktail. Very nice atmosphere in the late afternoon Along all the walkways were Bose Free Space speakers (the army green thing that just juts out of the ground), playing music, but thankfully not very loud.
  8. Turtle Bay. The Club Med 2 was docked at the other pier that day.
  9. All beaches are nice from what I saw. I don't necessarily think the YC beach is the best beach, except for maybe the service. Some beaches are protected by a net, such as the beach right by the dock, others are not. Regarding calm water, I would think that it would depend on the wind direction, there wasn't any wind at all on my sailing. The lagoon will probably often have calm water as it is pretty sheltered. Although sandy, all of the different beaches I saw had some small pebbles, rocks, and bits of coral, so if you have sensitive feet it might hurt if you step on them. From what I saw, there wasn't any crowding on either Bimini or North beach, but I didn't venture to the other beaches before later in the afternoon when most people had left their loungers.
  10. Thanks for sharing your trip report/review! It must have been a nice to receive a free upgrade from an inside to a balcony. I was hoping to see your pictures, but apart from your recently uploaded daily planners, I can't see any pictures at all, only this "access denied"-sign: Not sure if I'm the only one having this problem?
  11. It wasn't that hot that I needed one and it was my last chance to get a slight tan, so I didn't inquire. But I saw plenty of umbrellas, so I don't think that would have been a problem. They do have a net around some of the beaches and the lagoon, but it may not be a very fine mesh so that smaller fish/sharks can swim through. I'm certainly no expert, so I wasn't sure if it was some sort of shark or just a scary looking fish, but I overhead someone else saying that the lifeguards had found small sharks that made their way through the net, but that's just hearsay.
  12. 07.12 - Friday - Ocean Cay continued At 10:10, we were ashore at the long awaited Ocean Cay. After walking between the clapping employees welcoming the passengers ashore, we went to the YC-line to wait for the shuttle. I saw that some of MSC management were present, including Ken Muskat. Thankfully, the butlers don't have to wear their normal uniforms on the island. 10:16 The transportation provided were golf cart shuttles hitched to a loud diesel powered tractor. In the pamphlet we were given the previous night, MSC stated the following: "Ocean cay is easy to get around on foot, with the farthest area from the arrival plaza only 20 minutes away, and the island electric tram service makes it very easy to travel from one stop to another *Golf carts are available to YC guests only", emphasis mine. They had only opened the island two days prior, so I understand that it's still a work in progress. The ride took approximately 13 minutes before we were dropped off at the bridge. I remember feeling silly taking the slow shuttle when I could have easily walked the short distance (and quicker), and letting someone who actually needed the seat have it, but not knowing better, we just went with the flow. Next time I'll walk. 10:35 - Drop-off point for the shuttle we took, the bridge over the lagoon. I love the color of the water! The YC beach area Towards the restaurant Beautiful clear water As I needed to use the restroom, and there is only one single restroom at the YC-restaurant where there was a queue, I went on a short walk to see if I could find another restroom nearby. I'm not sure if they thought that one single bathroom for a couple of hundred pax was sufficient (Hint: It's not, judging by the line), or if they just didn't have time to finish the others? Ocean front cabanas Bimini beach North beach and the lagoon, the Meraviglia seen in the background. Lots of small fish. You can also see that although the sand is fine grained, there are some small pebbles and rocks on the seabed. As I was standing nearby the lifeguard overlooking the lagoon, I saw this creature approaching There were some children playing in the shoreline, but the lifeguard didn't say anything, so I guess this little guy or girl wasn't of any imminent danger to anyone. Restrooms just to the right of the picture. There were plenty of available loungers, and it felt really uncrowded. Such a different experience to the Royal Palm beach club at seven-mile beach. Back at the lounger with a cold glass of prosecco Followed by a short swim. Although not the warmest water I've encountered this year, it was nice to cool off. The lifeguard warned people not to swim too far ashore, although some didn't heed his warning at first At 13:30, we went to have lunch. Inside the restaurant - Bar to the right. The menu I ordered the burger with sweet potato fries. I wanted a Bahamian beer that was on the menu, but they were all out, so I settled for a Corona. I found the patty to be decent, but the rest of the burger to be very plain and boring. For dessert I had the creme caramel.
  13. 07.12 - Saturday - Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve I woke up at 07:15, and opened up the curtains and stepped out on the balcony to these views: The little tugboat that could It was very quiet and serene to have a cup of coffee overlooking the ocean here, but after a while I was curious to see what was on the other side of the ship, and headed out to the main pool deck. We were informed over the PA (one of the few messages I managed to hear, as I could often barely hear that they were making announcements if we were in the cabin) that while we had docked, the staff were getting the island ready for us, and we could disembark at 10:00. So at at 09:00, we headed up to the YC restaurant to have breakfast. The One Pool deck buffet was closed, so it was quite busy at the restaurant, but we were seated straight away. "MSC Express" After breakfast, had another look around while waiting to get on the island. The small tent, just above the large canvas sail is where the YC-line was. 09:55 - back at the cabin to grab our towels and other things
  14. Of course, I thought that was a given! Although we were in fact tired, it was not from excessive walking. You can clearly see which were the port days and which days were spent at sea (Dec 2. and 6.). I find it amusing that at their own private island, where if the towels are simply forgotten, they are not lost to MSC, but at other ports you can grab as many towels as you can carry. Perhaps they had lost a significant amount of towels during our previous ports, and somebody made a snap decision to suddenly introduce this new rule?
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