Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
Captain-John

Meraviglia YC Experience - Baltic Itinerary

Recommended Posts

Well folks - very sad to be back from the above cruise but want to crack on with this whilst my thoughts are still fresh. I'll start this one off by giving a bit of background which should hopefully help you have a frame of reference for this review. Myself and DW are somewhat experienced cruisers with north of 15 cruises under our belts. Most of those have been with NCL, followed by MSC and the rest a smattering of other cruise lines. This was our first time in the MSC Yacht club, the closest we got to this this previously was an Aurea Suite on Orchestra last year (hardly comparable!).

 

This was a 6 night itinerary departing from Copenhagen and ending in Kiel. The pricing differential between the 6 and 7 night cruise was absolutely mind blowing - I think somewhere around the £500-£600 mark total for the extra night. Absolutely no way we would go for that, and in fact that paid for our hotels in Copenhagen and Hamburg as well as the flights. So our trip was 8 nights in total with 6 onboard Meraviglia.

 

Last July we sailed the same region on a 9 night NCL cruise - which was absolutely exhausting, especially the 2 full days in St. Petersburg. So this cruise was much less about the destinations than the ship & experience. The sea days were very welcome! All of the ports were repeats for us.

 

Northern Europe

 

Sun, May 12:Copenhagen, Denmark

(Depart 18:00)

Mon, May 13:day at sea

(Depart 00:00)

Tue, May 14:Helsinki, Finland

(12:00 - 18:00)

Wed, May 15:St Petersburg, Russian Fed.

(07:00 - 21:00)

Thu, May 16:Tallinn, Estonia

(09:00 - 18:00)

Fri, May 17:day at sea

(Depart 00:00)

Sat, May 18:Kiel,Germany

(Arrive 07:00)

 

As usual with MSC, we had an issue before even getting onboard. In the 3 weeks or so prior to boarding, I attempted the online check-in numerous times - expecting the tickets to be sent to me (electronically) via my TA each time. I tried on several PCs, my tablet and my phone - each time getting the green tick to say all the data had been accepted.

 

 

155751713_MSCWebsite.JPG.fd64ec4d0937b8009fd5af789a647045.JPG

 

In fairness, after writing a stern e-mail, I was called the next day with an apology and acknowledgement of the issue. The tickets were then quickly issued after the agent on the phone took down my passport details and input them manually. Apparently the system was deleting passport numbers after they had been input, and it was a 'known issue.' A simple warning or popup would have prevented a lot of wasted time, but regardless, to get a callback so quickly is a definite improvement in MSC shoreside service from years gone by, and I told them so.

 

As a slight aside - we stayed in the Radisson Collection Royal Hotel in Copenhagen - which is very convenient for the train station. But I have a real issue with Copenhagen hotels generally - the rooms are very small and very expensive. Last year, we stayed in the Absalon, and absolutely melted in the July heat (no air con) - with not a wink of sleep. I vowed not to repeat the experience so we opted for the more expensive hotel this time round. But at €315 per night, staying in Copenhagen for more than a few nights isn't an appealing option.

 

IMG_20190511_163827.thumb.jpg.553aec644f2733cf377909b800a9a189.jpg

 

It is a lovely city however, and easily walkable. Over a full day we covered around 30,000 steps and all the main sites - even although we had been before, we enjoyed revisiting and would still go back.

 

Embarkation:

We left the hotel around 1200 (despite having a 1545 boarding time?!?!). The taxi was around 285 DKK (c. £33 GBP) compared to 225 DKK (c. £26) from the Absalon the year before. Must have been Sunday morning traffic this time round?!

 

IMG_20190512_123351.thumb.jpg.441f4d5ff464ac3332c5b16bf42ae7d7.jpg

 

Have you spotted the ship yet?

 

On arrival at the terminal around 1230, we took our bags to the white YC tent and were escorted through the terminal to the YC check-in/waiting area. The terminal was very, very quiet at this time and I think we would have been on the ship sooner had we not been in the YC! We were later told that around 1,000 guests were embarking in Copenhagen compared to the other 3,000 or so who got on the day before in Kiel. This tied in with our perception of the demographic of our fellow passengers - mostly German, but enough of the usual MSC mix to feel very international.

 

IMG_20190512_124238.thumb.jpg.fac1478674c1a66b44cef1b191f05597.jpg

IMG_20190512_124250.thumb.jpg.aefb6669d8c9ec1ebb1071061ea0d6d5.jpgIMG_20190512_124243.thumb.jpg.1664a5b262e2871ef12e75a04eb5e08b.jpg

 

 

At this point we were offered a drink and asked which newspaper we would like each morning for the cabin (turns out this request was disregarded anyway and we were given a copy of the Daily Mail every day rather than the 'i' that we requested!). After a polite 10 minutes of waiting, it was clear we were in the driving seat and so we asked to board. A phone call was made and then a series of crew escorted us through the terminal and up the gangplank onto the ship. At this point we had our photos taken for our cruise cards (no embarkation photo - we were given the option by our escort), and then handed off to our Assistant Butler. After bypassing the crew selling drinks and photo packages, we were shown to the mid-ship elevators and taken up to deck 16.

 

Shortly after, we emerged into fresh air above the pool deck. I knew we had to head forward from this position but didn't want to be seen as obnoxious by showing the way. I casually mentioned it was our first time on Meraviglia. At this point, our escort made a frantic call to ask for directions. It later transpired it was his first week onboard too. Quite a laugh in the end, and it gave us a great orientation on the ship.

 

IMG_20190512_125815.thumb.jpg.c451e0882d4295ebe087f0b81e3fb223.jpg

 

We made it to the YC concierge desk, where Mr Ahmed welcomed us and explained the basics of the YC setup. We were granted immediate access to our cabin, 16013, a very short walk from the TSL and concierge area. Great location in my opinion.

 

IMG_20190512_130740.thumb.jpg.cb8c02a81061bb8c3af4a84f9f6605b7.jpg

 

IMG_20190512_130905.thumb.jpg.0176dba8c8ef959845998d943d0a71b1.jpgIMG_20190512_131027.thumb.jpg.540b11df81145587335fdd8596b0ad45.jpg

 

IMG_20190512_131003.thumb.jpg.8518acd79b1dee61d16c91e067569c1c.jpg

IMG_20190512_131240.thumb.jpg.37438d770bf0f8b17eb13374175785b2.jpg

IMG_20190512_131037.thumb.jpg.b8a3a91070be1737d2bb7e1b764689de.jpgIMG_20190512_131047.thumb.jpg.4f75e893cdc66fbb18dc0db54eb9f4f5.jpgIMG_20190512_131055.thumb.jpg.9c0b0838c68a064dde12bd175a12eda3.jpgIMG_20190512_131212.thumb.jpg.7e76536752827285311dfde41219b58f.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great start, Cap'n ... looking forward eagerly to more!  😜

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Bea!

 

So already I can tell this thread isn't going to be in my usual 'style' - I tend to avoid day-by-day accounts and prefer to give a summary in terms of different categories (food, service, embarkation, cabin etc.) However, I don't think I've set it up that way so I'll try to continue in the same style and maybe finish up in the manner I normally do.

 

We explored the cabin and started to unpack. The cabins on Meraviglia are definitely a huge advantage over YC cabins on older classes of ship - which I understand to be roughly the same size as normal balcony cabins. Although, they absolutely should be larger in order to further distinguish the YC offering compared to the rest of the ship. Lovely cabin although not as large a wardrobe as we had in the Orchestra suites for example. Plenty of drawers under the TV area though. Certainly plenty for our relatively short cruise!

 

We opened some envelopes and had a look at what we might like from room service over the coming week:

 

IMG_20190512_131322.thumb.jpg.47dfade4e7b863e7c95f1652caef69d3.jpg

IMG_20190512_132205.thumb.jpg.ed5aacc0082c65a0b3c9962b50377c7b.jpg

IMG_20190512_132248.thumb.jpg.df6a3862c713a8af18b92aaa52b617ff.jpg

 

Then we took a few short steps to explore the TSL (this is the start of the snack pics - Bea, CF, thecruiser6 et al be warned!).

 

IMG_20190512_132403.thumb.jpg.048c66c1d67bc2ba1f294b4bd1a7ea08.jpg

IMG_20190512_132406.thumb.jpg.0f41c590b06557c809687e2eeafd5986.jpg

IMG_20190512_132414.thumb.jpg.09cde3ce691df9ce3d8e4410aa9019d4.jpgIMG_20190512_132433.thumb.jpg.d8ad3ef833eb988ce2e40a052291345f.jpg

IMG_20190512_132437.thumb.jpg.3cdcf9531680fd09c31369e8a2af14e2.jpg

 

 

Truly lovely area. What we did note throughout the week was how comfortable and inviting a space this was, for a variety of reasons. The fantastic panoramic view. The quieter atmosphere. The warmth of the room (DW finds a lot of public spaces on ships to be overly chilled by the A/C). Generally TSL service was excellent, with a few exceptions - on one occasion I was barked at to sit down by an irate barman - nearer the end of the trip so I'm sure I'll touch on it again.

 

IMG_20190512_132454.thumb.jpg.a4dc2ef989d7ddf415c3dca40a6c6987.jpg

IMG_20190512_132450.thumb.jpg.de259037904d8f17f7adc07eaaaa8690.jpg

 

We looked at the dinner menu for later:

 

IMG_20190512_132550.thumb.jpg.551199a1791c53359c573fcc5d73f010.jpgIMG_20190512_132605.thumb.jpg.036983071b21a0235de5cd0936f393e4.jpgIMG_20190512_132626.thumb.jpg.0ba79eddbf91bf802e3b00a8db6ee65e.jpg

 

 

Then explored the ship.

 

IMG_20190512_132756.thumb.jpg.18e1f8228af40e3302ca1444ee486cfe.jpg

 

IMG_20190512_132802.thumb.jpg.a0e11250628f31fcd6296788f71e93bc.jpg

IMG_20190512_132809.thumb.jpg.7bc58e18285c77c87300a9cf0942cfe7.jpg

IMG_20190512_132938.thumb.jpg.50200755e7338f97b9b062ee6015f9f6.jpg

IMG_20190512_133011.thumb.jpg.31d4c3a07637ffbc5e45ea0bf0736f3c.jpgIMG_20190512_133105.thumb.jpg.e8c26dad1dece2c59de6bfd8f9ca2b30.jpgIMG_20190512_140542.thumb.jpg.d0e5c3ae45644e2d90c38112264a7b7a.jpgIMG_20190512_140658.thumb.jpg.76c74667b723e0c6de6b5928d6056d02.jpg

IMG_20190512_140923.thumb.jpg.4315fceec98fb432a0e498fb52bfdb49.jpg

IMG_20190512_141042.thumb.jpg.4d60db093a14b27ddb250f8217bdcd7e.jpg

IMG_20190512_141131.thumb.jpg.ad4304cc48ddff18609a3fa5012a0893.jpg

IMG_20190512_141214.thumb.jpg.89248b0079bfecebe45cef8a152dcefc.jpg

IMG_20190512_141558.thumb.jpg.847e78b4a74198ec6c53787b7a10d0da.jpg

IMG_20190512_141854.thumb.jpg.f0c0a7999f7837cea01d33e167fb74d6.jpg

 

 

 

IMG_20190512_132442.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Captain John,

thank you for taking the time to write a review. I am following since we are sailing the same itinerary (7-days Copenhagen to Copenhagen) early September. We’ve been on Bellissima in April and excited to see the slightly different sister ship Meraviglia. Looking forward to your reviews of the ports because St. Petersburg is one of our top spots to visit.

Edited by SirWolf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm loving this 'style', Cap'n (despite you tormenting me with those pics lol.  I've 'saved' the previous ones you posted, too, to give me a huge incentive to lose a few pounds (or stones 😱) before I face the challenge of resisting demolishing that lot).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I appreciate your posting your experiences.  I am booked on Meraviglia in Yacht Club for a January sailing.  

 

Did you have lunch after embarkation?  If so, where:  the YC Pool Grill or the YC Restaurant?  Or elsewhere?  If you have a photo of the menu available, I'd appreciate viewing it.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Following, reviving very fond memories....thank you!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After working out the layout of the ship (and how to work the priority lifts!), we decided to visit the Aurea Spa. Not got many photographs of this area but plenty available on the web. I do have a photo of an empty changing room, for what it's worth.

 

IMG_20190512_152637_1.thumb.jpg.3bccf940f0b031e71d9b87b67ac803f1.jpgIMG_20190512_152641.thumb.jpg.08a056eb3aa9652bffcd9de908990a82.jpg

 

As part of the YC experience, you have free access to the thermal area of the spa. Unfortunately - this area was a bit of a disappointment compared to the photos I had seen. Having been spoiled by NCL's -Away class spa areas, we found the Meraviglia thermal area to be too small for the size of the ship, and too small for the number of people that have access to the area (everyone in Aurea, everyone in the YC plus those who pay for a thermal pass for the week). It's also entirely enclosed, which prior to sailing I didn't think would bother me - but it's definitely an advantage to have an outside view.

 

The chemical mix in the waters was also incredibly strong - DW had to stop using the thermal area after day 2 - as it caused skin irritation. It also dyed the navy ties on my swimming shorts purple - whether it was too much chlorine or some toxic combination I don't know. I attended for the rest of the cruise alone. I wouldn't have been happy paying for this area and on reflection I probably preferred the spa on Orchestra - with the whirlpools beside the windows given a great view.

 

It's hard to get photos in a spa/thermal area - so please Google images to see what I mean.

 

IMG_20190512_162219.thumb.jpg.b092babc58ebfbf20ac88e3a586d1460.jpg

 

Back out to explore the ship after the spa visit IMG_20190512_185008.thumb.jpg.7a4f4a02f1f48cd6421d82f1f6b12efc.jpgIMG_20190512_182411.thumb.jpg.09da9ea5aff9b46ec5a4442672b7af82.jpg

 

IMG_20190512_184908.thumb.jpg.c398b77531cc874df0d068cbb85a89f5.jpgIMG_20190512_184910.thumb.jpg.cd13d5700a6d76d7ebba1eaa11735ea4.jpgIMG_20190512_184919.thumb.jpg.bc759480a1a276a221a0c9f4e35caf08.jpgIMG_20190512_182820.thumb.jpg.f15aa3bb9950b31966fd740aebf7b63e.jpg

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, SirWolf said:

Captain John,

thank you for taking the time to write a review. I am following since we are sailing the same itinerary (7-days Copenhagen to Copenhagen) early September. We’ve been on Bellissima in April and excited to see the slightly different sister ship Meraviglia. Looking forward to your reviews of the ports because St. Petersburg is one of our top spots to visit.

 

No problem. We visited SPB last year and spent 2 full days touring - so when I get to that day of our trip this time round, I'll write up some comparisons and include some detail from last year as well if it helps you. It's a lot to take in!

 

14 minutes ago, Beamafar said:

I'm loving this 'style', Cap'n (despite you tormenting me with those pics lol.  I've 'saved' the previous ones you posted, too, to give me a huge incentive to lose a few pounds (or stones 😱) before I face the challenge of resisting demolishing that lot).

 

Once I knew the snacks were a hit, I took multiple photos multiple times a day - probably a lot of duplicates in there - but they'll get slowly dripped into this thread. By the end of it I'm sure there will be a whole folder just dedicated to the TSL snacks. 😛

 

11 minutes ago, rkacruiser said:

I appreciate your posting your experiences.  I am booked on Meraviglia in Yacht Club for a January sailing.  

 

Did you have lunch after embarkation?  If so, where:  the YC Pool Grill or the YC Restaurant?  Or elsewhere?  If you have a photo of the menu available, I'd appreciate viewing it.

 

 

 

Unfortunately we just missed lunch on embarkation - getting lost combined with us hanging around in the boarding area before realising we could ask to go onboard meant by the time we were settled around 1400 lunch service had finished. We went to the buffet. I included a photo above that shows how busy it was. If I were you, I'd get on teh ship an hour earlier than we did so you could enjoy a more relaxed lunch in the YC Restaurant.


FWIW we never once dined in the YC Pool Grill, although did get some pictures of the offerings. The weather, although dry, wasn't always conducive to outdoor dining - much as we would have liked to sample the pool grill.

 

8 minutes ago, hamrag said:

Following, reviving very fond memories....thank you!

 

Glad to hear it - one of the reasons I take so many photos (1500 + on this trip) is for the memories. It also helps me tell the story when the photos are arranged chronologically - much easier to remember what we did. 🙂

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Captain-John said:

As part of the YC experience, you have free access to the thermal area of the spa. Unfortunately - this area was a bit of a disappointment compared to the photos I had seen. Having been spoiled by NCL's -Away class spa areas, we found the Meraviglia thermal area to be too small for the size of the ship, and too small for the number of people that have access to the area (everyone in Aurea, everyone in the YC plus those who pay for a thermal pass for the week). It's also entirely enclosed, which prior to sailing I didn't think would bother me - but it's definitely an advantage to have an outside view.

 

The chemical mix in the waters was also incredibly strong - DW had to stop using the thermal area after day 2 - as it caused skin irritation. It also dyed the navy ties on my swimming shorts purple - whether it was too much chlorine or some toxic combination I don't know. I attended for the rest of the cruise alone. I wouldn't have been happy paying for this area and on reflection I probably preferred the spa on Orchestra - with the whirlpools beside the windows given a great view.

 

It's hard to get photos in a spa/thermal area - so please Google images to see what I mean.

 

IMG_20190512_162219.thumb.jpg.b092babc58ebfbf20ac88e3a586d1460.jpg

 

I have had questions about their Spa.  I love the Greenhouse Spa on the Vista, Signature, and Pinnacle Class ships of HAL.  Why?  Their exterior views and the Hydrotherapy Pools  On Royal Princess. I booked the Lotus Spa's area and, being on an interior lower deck, I found it OK, but not as enjoyable as HAL's amenity.  Your photo of the changing area reminds me of the size of what I experienced on the now retired Statendam's Greenhouse Spa.  When I sail on a R or a S Class of HAL ships, I won't purchase the spa pass.  Thermal suite amenities are nice, but the "pool" is nothing more than a Hot Tub.  On Meraviglia, such appears to be available as part of the YC area.

 

It's got to me the mix of chemicals used in the pool waters that causes blue swimming trunks to become purple.  The trunks are still wearable, but the color is odd.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Here are some Spa photos that I have:

4d97f3ec7fd306d093abe9e3b4410d9c.jpg

9043dc159b8d9907d5eb2a349c2ea7a8.jpg

198e127b9fcccdf8a724d5aff0c19479.jpg
 

Edited by Beamafar

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Fabulous treats photo's Capt. Looking forward to hearing more.

 

The balcony cabins do certainly look more spacious than the standard YC1. The whole ship does look very impressive (149 days to go)!

 

I 'fondly' recall our very overprice broom cupboard hotel room in Copenhagen!

Edited by CruisingFox27

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, rkacruiser said:

 

It's got to me the mix of chemicals used in the pool waters that causes blue swimming trunks to become purple.  The trunks are still wearable, but the color is odd.

 

 

In fairness to the below image - I was in the salty pool, the hot tub and the thermal area - so perhaps a toxic combination. It's more a reddish colour, but, that's never happened before and I've had these for a few years....IMG_20190521_182540.thumb.jpg.6fcc8eddf25231cfbabb87cd9118cfde.jpg

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So after relaxing in the spa and having explored the ship, it was time to get ready for dinner. I posted the menu above but some of the dishes were below. An absolutely beautiful ambiance in the restaurant, and a gorgeous sunset around 2130.

 

We enjoyed this meal, the duck was cooked perfectly and the cheese plate was absolutely superb.

 

I received the wine I asked for this evening without any trouble, which was not a common experience.

 

IMG_20190512_201258.thumb.jpg.8d0d563c99cde08876455c6f0f75e528.jpg

 

534715292_IMG_20190512_204528(2).thumb.jpg.e4e80c4270ae1c4c1ea2e7af2e9c588d.jpgIMG_20190512_212104.thumb.jpg.8b11b59029af4e412e2f951feb19243e.jpgIMG_20190512_213413.thumb.jpg.346f2a98d75bf1a1f3be52bafbe34a02.jpgIMG_20190512_210936.thumb.jpg.33eb75d994fcc1a098a0f5f03f0cff25.jpgIMG_20190512_210715.thumb.jpg.7e203f7509aade7fc831b827ea2d06b3.jpg

IMG_20190512_202302 (2).jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Followed by more exploring:

 

IMG_20190512_221133.thumb.jpg.593497a84a127045c5d5ca37ae06a97b.jpgIMG_20190512_215234.thumb.jpg.a118c0998bf78d4a4bc3839dea9cd673.jpgIMG_20190512_215305.thumb.jpg.106e65881fec888c6fc5aac8107addb0.jpgIMG_20190512_215410.thumb.jpg.63de0073a8573bca61f3632022dd83ef.jpgIMG_20190512_215423.thumb.jpg.a373f2115bcf08921dc5fb7834b3d852.jpgIMG_20190512_220329.thumb.jpg.0b6c0100c0d4b6de43fe16c78876ff27.jpgIMG_20190512_220449.thumb.jpg.f3cd52031cd957c2ce1c405d7ab2b561.jpg

 

 

We could never, ever get a seat in the Sky Lounge (last picture) - always packed to capacity so very grateful we had the TSL to retreat to, with equally great views.

 

We stopped in the Brass Anchor for a drink - ordering one which cost 10.50 Euro and expecting to be charged - the charge never applied to our account but we had to sign for the drinks. I have the menus if anyone requires them.

 

IMG_20190512_221253.thumb.jpg.39759f47c0f1510dda417533b59060a0.jpg

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

We retreated to the TSL for a nightcap and some snacks and reviewed the breakfast, lunch and dinner menus for the following day at sea.

 

IMG_20190512_224819.thumb.jpg.f375b45f5cbac2efb9db2fd0bd29cd49.jpgIMG_20190512_224822.thumb.jpg.4585bc1d4173688b55d75a38ece963ae.jpgIMG_20190512_224827_1.thumb.jpg.f75136e59cf187b65f937445324e1206.jpgIMG_20190512_224834.thumb.jpg.643ffbb793b6a07dd17605459cfbe320.jpgIMG_20190512_232226.thumb.jpg.fa110a596175c8df51d8a8d34c035e38.jpgIMG_20190512_232259.thumb.jpg.563798c4a58ca005ad7f951ba9c2fcb4.jpgIMG_20190512_232351.thumb.jpg.8b3f48c066c9a89c2f5e73a793d29e5f.jpgIMG_20190512_232429_1.thumb.jpg.3b2bd3b6c5b5bfaa44eca33f8af1bd3e.jpg

 

Edited by Captain-John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

The following day was quite lazy - we wandered the ship some more and explored the outside decks - although cool, the sun was shining bright.

 

IMG_20190513_104221.thumb.jpg.d68da2bba4c05a29b710c0f0a94fb37e.jpg

 

We didn't get up for breakfast or fancy anything on the lunch menu, so we ordered room service.

 

It was delivered by the assistant butler, and was OK - not piping hot, and not spectacular but a very passable, lazy lunch. We ordered pizza and a few other things which I forget and didn't get a picture of.

 

IMG_20190513_124629.thumb.jpg.c14fdb06a73e8109d6ce8f6956e35ea5.jpg

 

We went to the spa again, although it was very busy, being a sea day. Pre-dinner we enjoyed some drinks and more TSL snacks.

 

IMG_20190513_104410.thumb.jpg.78b10448e55140691155a811aa0e99a6.jpg

IMG_20190513_104536.thumb.jpg.67ad8592badecda1da53e9e43dfdee7d.jpg

 

Edited by Captain-John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At this point, it's worth mentioning that I had received a telephone call at 1730 the day prior (Sunday) to advise that our booked tour for St Petersburg  had been cancelled. The YC concierge simply said it was 'not running.' I was told my credit card would be refunded and I should pick another tour.

 

I didn't find this acceptable as there was no kind of an explanation for the cancellation. It was also extremely short notice - we were told on Sunday evening and were due to dock in St Petersburg on the Wednesday morning. Bearing in mind MSC had taken payment for this excursion 3 months prior, and obviously have my contact and payment details on file, I wanted to know why the decision had been left so late.

 

I understand tours don't run if there isn't the requisite numbers speaking a common language - but was told this wasn't the case here by the YC concierge. He then directed me to the Shore Excursions desk for more information.

 

After a lengthy queue and a 20 minute discussion with the agent at the desk, it transpired our chosen tour was cancelled because of 'reconstruction' work on the Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood. Having seen all of the main SPB sights on our previous trip last summer, we specifically chose our tour because it was mostly a walking tour - we weren't fussy for the return to the church.

 

I asked why notification was not given prior to the cruise - at which point I was asked 'What difference would it have made?' and told 'It would be too much work for us to notify all guests.' Construction work doesn't start suddenly without warning on a major tourist attraction so I was puzzled by this. The lady then tried to explain that at the time I booked, the church was open, and sometime between then and the cruise the 'reconstruction' started. Still not acceptable.

 

Anyway I could ramble on and on - but I'm conscious that on CC there are resident types who will try to tell me how I should have behaved, what I should have said and how I should have expected changes and not to have complained about it - blah, blah, blah. Not interested in the lecture. MSC could have handled the whole issue better - although I do accept issues, complications etc. occur when travelling and I am prepared for this - but I expect the large corporation to be equally or better prepared than me to deal with it.

 

I will point out that Russia is not a country you can just 'walk off' and explore on your own. I also do all my research prior to cruising, so I don't have to waste time on the ship reading reviews and researching alternative excursions. Had I been given proper notice I could have organised a private, non-MSC tour for example.

 

The sting in the tail was - when I eventually decided on an alternative tour, I was told I had to pay the 'onboard' price - whereas when I pre-booked I got a discount, the 'online' price.


Anyway - on the sea day we picked an alternative tour, which was a partial repeat of what we had seen last year (Metro + Food Market tour).

 

So after all of that, I felt I deserved a drink!

 

IMG_20190513_181745 (2).jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So enjoying your review with pictures 

Thank you

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks very much Captain, although looking at the snacks again is not good 😂

Very excited that you enjoyed the cabin position,  Myself and Bea have moved to deck 16 so it’s great to hear you were happy. 

 

Very frustrating having an excursion pulled. We had that with RC the evening before for a beach day? Perhaps the sand was too yellow ?  The phone was put down when I asked why, so like you I went to the excursion desk.  There were about 100 people waiting in line, so we diverted to the bar rather than wait all night! 

Glad we have only booked 1 MSC excursion now!

There is no excuse and it can lose business, hopefully MSC are watching this! 

 

Someone the other day completely summed MSC up at the moment. Words to the effect of -  we knew it wasn’t going to be perfect but were prepared.  

 

We’re sad to hear the spa was crowded and when we cruise on her from New York in October it’s hardly going to be pool deck weather! 

Did you notice any times that were quieter than others? If not may have to use a couple of port day mornings. Any advice appreciated as always 

Thanks again Captain 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry to hear your (preferred) excursion was cancelled, Cap'n.  What a bummer!  As you say, you can't just walk off a ship in Russia.

 

A salutary tale, nonetheless - though how you can be prepared in advance for something like this I don't know.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, DLA57 said:

So enjoying your review with pictures 

Thank you

 

 Very kind, thanks. Much more to come - although conscious not to go top heavy with the pictures!

55 minutes ago, thecruisers6 said:

Thanks very much Captain, although looking at the snacks again is not good 😂

Very excited that you enjoyed the cabin position,  Myself and Bea have moved to deck 16 so it’s great to hear you were happy. 

 

Very frustrating having an excursion pulled. We had that with RC the evening before for a beach day? Perhaps the sand was too yellow ?  The phone was put down when I asked why, so like you I went to the excursion desk.  There were about 100 people waiting in line, so we diverted to the bar rather than wait all night! 

Glad we have only booked 1 MSC excursion now!

There is no excuse and it can lose business, hopefully MSC are watching this! 

 

Someone the other day completely summed MSC up at the moment. Words to the effect of -  we knew it wasn’t going to be perfect but were prepared.  

 

We’re sad to hear the spa was crowded and when we cruise on her from New York in October it’s hardly going to be pool deck weather! 

Did you notice any times that were quieter than others? If not may have to use a couple of port day mornings. Any advice appreciated as always 

Thanks again Captain 

 

 

TC6 - definitely going to dedicate an entire thread to the TSL snacks - we can accept contributions from far and wide to get us through the rough times.

 

Yes, the position of the cabin was fantastic. I did a little tour to pace out the distance from TSL to the YIN cabins - stay tuned!

 

It is frustrating - but more frustrating that the frustration was entirely avoidable! Of course I have no problem with excursions being cancelled due to weather, politics, not enough signed up etc. - and would adapt to a last minute change. Here though (and I think it's a point that's been missed by MSC quite spectacularly) - there was ample opportunity to correct the situation well in advance but MSC chose not to do so and made some terrible excuses for it without accepting responsiblity. I've written to their shoreside operation too and await their response.

 

I normally don't book cruise line excursions as a rule, but as we had done the private 2 day tour in SPB last year we wanted something quicker and cheaper. In October, I'm considering an 8 hour tour in Morocco but I'm having second thoughts at this point. Again that's a destination where I would be more comfortable using a cruise line tour - as public transport etc. isn't so widely available or sporadic in timings such that if things went wrong I couldn't make my own way back to the ship.

 

Spa wise - it varied so spectacularly. One day, I was there completely alone - at around 1530 on I believe the SPB day - I imagine most folks were doing a full day tour, especially if it was their first visit to Russia. Other times, I tended to go between 1600-1730. On the last sea day, I went to the spa at 1630 to see how busy it was without going in (peeked over the counter to the trays they put your wristband or keycard in when you go into the thermal area). It looked moderately busy. I asked if there was likely to be a quieter time and told around 1730 onwards people would empty out. Not so. I returned an hour later and the number of people in there had easily doubled. Absolutely no logic to it at all! I had assumed a lot of guests would be out for the earlier dinner sittings but it made little difference in reality.

 

20 minutes ago, Beamafar said:

Sorry to hear your (preferred) excursion was cancelled, Cap'n.  What a bummer!  As you say, you can't just walk off a ship in Russia.

 

A salutary tale, nonetheless - though how you can be prepared in advance for something like this I don't know.

 

Indeed - like I say - not so much the disappointment of the preferred tour being cancelled - moreso the attitude surrounding my questioning and complaint, as well as the assumption I would/should be satisfied with their alternative.

 

SPB is a place like no other I've ever been - I would return on a land trip and get the requisite visas so we could have free rein - but DW says no way!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After drinks, time for dinner on elegant or formal night.

 

IMG_20190512_232351.thumb.jpg.a7024c23c4d638e5f10cf0ae5c3fe750.jpg

IMG_20190512_232429_1.thumb.jpg.208ead6dc936d6678abdace9261103d3.jpg

Cheese souffle.

 

IMG_20190513_185946.thumb.jpg.4f9a691638c93d91fa7b091272704725.jpg

Seafood Skewer

 

IMG_20190513_191841.thumb.jpg.ea947e5a0fd971ebc7e9311ab560fe17.jpg

 

Blackened angus fillet steak:

 

IMG_20190513_191838.thumb.jpg.b08858617a0395d24f42a2043ab8f65c.jpg

 

Crepe Suzette and ice cream sundae

 

IMG_20190513_195841.thumb.jpg.10b8484318c8425763b41570a1db1159.jpg
 

Very nice indeed. Cheese souffle was not overpowering with blue cheese. The beef was delicious and generous chunks of parmesan on top.

 

The skewer was a bit tough and had perhaps been sitting under the heat lamp a bit too long. DW isn't one to make a fuss though and managed to finish the plate so it must have been passable!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

After dinner, a walk around the darkening ship and then retreated to the cosy cabin after a nightcap in the TSL.

IMG_20190513_202703.thumb.jpg.3f8786f0e1ca830864a3db29f05f8b84.jpg

 

IMG_20190513_210315.thumb.jpg.f5d05533d04af833a2094c97cd27ab91.jpg

 

IMG_20190513_211115.thumb.jpg.dd4637c070f18b5d7a15863bc41e95f1.jpg

 

IMG_20190513_211235.thumb.jpg.0f6407a8a7a5604779628ea2d6f1516a.jpg

 

IMG_20190513_212627.thumb.jpg.11cd9539219c61107d997e6681e5c750.jpg


 

Edited by Captain-John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Today, Helsinki! A repeat from last year (as were all ports), the initial plan was to take a tour around the waterways. We were a bit thrown as the itinerary had us docking at 1200. We planned to hot-foot it off the ship to maximise our time in the town, whilst still getting back early enough to enjoy a quieter ship. The original plan was a lazy morning, followed by a zip round town and back for 15-1600.

 

As it transpired, we docked at 1000. An unexpected bonus of extra time in Helsinki. We modified our plans and headed out around 11, still grateful for the extra hour compared to plan. Shuttle busses were 15.99 each I believe. Dropped off near the market area of Helsinki harbour. We decided not to take a water based tour as although dry, it wasn't too warm and we'd be exposed to the elements on a boat. I also think the trips were quite expensive.

 

Helsinki is easily walkable and we covered the main sites in just a few hours.

 

IMG_20190514_120102.thumb.jpg.884e4dd5220217ae8b17c5f0bbe886a2.jpg

 

IMG_20190514_122355.thumb.jpg.eb3a9aaaa6e6636bce4b267f82b97198.jpg

 

IMG_20190514_130018.thumb.jpg.70f22657a4bfe660ca4810479e83d082.jpg

 

IMG_20190514_120045.thumb.jpg.8d5511ef841b3aaf1d3da5dceed1e9a6.jpg

Edited by Captain-John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • SAIL-AWAY GIVEAWAY - Enter for a chance to win a $3,000 Norwegian Cruise Line Gift Card
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...