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Does MSC need new bartenders?

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As mentioned, just back from Bellissima a couple of days ago.  Brought back a nice little cold with me, but at least it hit on the tail-end of the cruise.  

We had the now discontinued 431 drink package, which I generally felt was a good package, although odd in that it only included house wines (mediocre at best, except for the prosecco), but it did cover most drinks except for the high-end stuff.

But...we felt that the bartenders were generally pretty bad and generally inconsistent.  Signature specialty drinks tasted quite different from one bartender to the next.  One time it would be super weak, another time crazy sweet, yet another time overpoweringly citrusy.

Has anyone else experienced this on MSC?  We thought that their bartenders were generally quite bad, unless your ordered something very simple.  We searched for a good bartender for 7 days, but did not find one.
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Perhaps MSC needs more bartenders who have been trained.  Hopefully the new chief of food and beverages, Jacques Van Staden who MSC recently hired, will solve the problems.  

Edited by CGTNORMANDIE

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I have found this to be true on other cruise lines as well.  Once you got away from the gin & tonic type of drinks to more complex stuff, the bartenders inexperience showed.  Several times on different lines, when I ordered a drink OFF THE MENU the bartender gave me a blank look until I opened the menu and showed him the recipe. 

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I agree.

 

I enjoy a well made mixed drink just as much as I would expect my meal to taste good.

 

My only complaint about being in the YC in February 2018 were the bartenders.  They couldn't even make a good margarita and would try to use tonic water in my mojitos.  Those drinks are pretty standard fare on a Caribbean cruise, so I didn't venture into any harder orders.

 

The bartenders in the YC, February 2019 were much better but still had some learning to do. I would LOVE for the bartenders to be properly trained on how to mix, pour, etc. a well-made drink.

 

In comparison, the bartenders in the Haven on NCL, are absolutely amazing and ask you about your favorite liquor and make drinks that aren't even on the menu.

 

Hoping Seaside February 2020 finds the bartenders even better than this year!

 

Edited by js

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We've found that the bar staff can be hit or miss on any line. Our most recent sailing was on MSC Lirica & most mixed drinks were good, other than the occasional bad one from the pool bars. We found that the two bar tenders in the Lord Nelson Pub (Dev & Nitin) went above and beyond in mixing off menu drinks once they got to know our tastes. 

We too had the old package & on a 20 night sailing, made good use of it! 

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MSC already has tons of new bartenders, that's the problem and getting more new ones won't help.  I'm sure MSC is having a hard time staffing all their new ships and experienced bartenders seem to be spread thin.  Regarding mixed drinks we've definitely experienced the inconsistency you describe.  I find it hard for them to mess up beer or a Macallan neat so that's what I went with.

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I think this can be hit or miss on most cruise lines and varies from bar to bar. I wouldn't say our bar experience on the Seaside was particularly memorable, which I guess is good. I will say that the bartenders at the Haven bar on the Escape and Getaway were extremely talented and proud to be "mixologists". They would even entertain guests by asking them about their preferences and then making something unique for them on the spot. Very cool. I didn't get the same vibe from the YC bartenders, but maybe I just didn't engage with them as much.

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2 hours ago, jcathers1 said:

I will say that the bartenders at the Haven bar on the Escape and Getaway were extremely talented and proud to be "mixologists". They would even entertain guests by asking them about their preferences and then making something unique for them on the spot. Very cool. I didn't get the same vibe from the YC bartenders, but maybe I just didn't engage with them as much.


This is exactly what I was saying in my above post.  I, like you, thought maybe we didn't engage with the YC bartenders as much, but they don't give you the vibe as in the Haven that they want to engage.  My last two NCL cruises were Getaway and then Escape and I fully agree with your statement.  Sailing Encore in Haven in July 2020, and hoping Bong is back in Haven as a bartender :)

 

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18 minutes ago, js said:


This is exactly what I was saying in my above post.  I, like you, thought maybe we didn't engage with the YC bartenders as much, but they don't give you the vibe as in the Haven that they want to engage.  My last two NCL cruises were Getaway and then Escape and I fully agree with your statement.  Sailing Encore in Haven in July 2020, and hoping Bong is back in Haven as a bartender 🙂

 

 

Yes, we enjoyed Bong (and Miro) quite a bit. They were also always great with our kids, making them smoothies and other creations. The lounge in the Haven is quite a bit more compact than the TSL, so it felt like more of a gathering spot for us. That's not a knock on the TSL (we are on Seaside again this Saturday), but just a difference we noted.

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I ordered like 10 mojitos in my last cruise and only a couple got it right.  smh

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been on seaside twice and I had no issues with any mixed drinks in any of the bars.  These people work hard and deserved every dollar I tipped.

 

The bar service in the main dining room was also top notch.  Had a husband and wife pairing serving our table on the last trip and they kept us quite amused  

 

  

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Shameful the bartenders could not make a decent martini.

0 for 10.  👎

Edited by Kingofcool1947

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I recently cruised on the Seaside and I thought the drinks weren't very good either. This was our third cruise and first with MSC. Me and the wife always like to try new drinks on the drink menus but most were just inconsistent. Like someone above mentioned too sweet or to much of something else.

 But the best one we found we liked was the Hawaiian Martini at the bar by the pay restaurants. The rest were just so so. 

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On 6/4/2019 at 6:44 AM, jcathers1 said:

I think this can be hit or miss on most cruise lines and varies from bar to bar. I wouldn't say our bar experience on the Seaside was particularly memorable, which I guess is good. I will say that the bartenders at the Haven bar on the Escape and Getaway were extremely talented and proud to be "mixologists". They would even entertain guests by asking them about their preferences and then making something unique for them on the spot. Very cool. I didn't get the same vibe from the YC bartenders, but maybe I just didn't engage with them as much.

We fully engaged YC staff and found the same, its inexperience and I speak from a food and bev background. Topsail lounge had two very good ones, Kadick and a Filipino man whom I'm forgetting his name. My personal fave was the pool decks version of a rum and coke with a half glass of rum and the separate glass of diet coke, made for a big bang when I mixed! I stuck with wine and beer, the inconsistencies made mixed drinks too much of a crapshoot, why waste the booze and in the YC pool deck there was one trained bartender (and good), the others were learning AND trying and we offered 'recipes' when possible.

🙂

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Last cruise in YC was on Preziosa in February.  We do 'engage' the bartenders as soon as we board. We go ahead and sit at the bar and chat them up.  our basic drinks are pretty straightforward (Hendricks/tonic/lime,  gin martini, Jameson on the rocks/lime) . But we do change it up in the afternoon with drinks like a Canadian whiskey sour. We do not expect that we will be able to have the butlers get our orders right off the bat so we 'train' the bartenders.  They will text mix our drinks to taste.  Once we have them making it how we like it that's how they come out. The butlers and beverage servers soon learn we have set drinks.

 

this is no different on any cruise line or resort for that matter in my opinion.

 

Dennis

Edited by kelleherdl

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I also found them to be inconsistent at times in the both the YC and standard bars.  Nothing that we haven't experienced on other cruises lines.  In fact the only place I have had spot on drinks all the time was at Alchemy on a carnival cruise.  

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