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psmarkle

My Opus on the MSC Seaside Yacht Club cruise, Jul 27-3 Aug 2019

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Warning, this is a long review of our recent cruise…over 10,000 words.  So, grab a glass of wine/margarita and settle in for a cruise adventure!

It’s been a week since we disembarked our beloved Seaside, this was our second time sailing her in the luxurious Yacht Club!  My DW, DD, and I took a week driving to Miami, stopping in historic Savannah and St Augustine along the way and just generally having a relaxing drive down.  If you’re in historic Savannah, I definitely recommend the walking food tasting tours…seriously good food and history combined and the walking was not tough.

Pre-Cruise:  Since we were using my Hilton points for all our hotel stays, we stayed at the Doubletree Miami Airport on the Executive Floor for the night before departure.  Big hotel, but not much around it so keep that in mind if you’re not wanting to drive for dinner.  Once we picked up my DSIL (sister-in-law) Fri eve, we found a local sports bar for some seriously good wings and cold beers!  Headed back to the hotel just before a good ole’ “gully washer” of a thunderstorm hit…the rain was blowing sideways!  Was fun to watch from our room while sipping cocktails.  After breakfast in the Executive Lounge, we loaded up the SUV and left around 1100 for the Port of Miami, about 15-20 mins away.  I will note, I was surprised at how close the Intercontinental is to the Port, I saw the hotel on my right and the ships on my left.  Very close.

Embarkation: OK, this was not the embarkation experience we had last summer, but it’s not a show-stopper, “I’m never sailing MSC again” rant, either. It was an area for improvement for the Yacht Club embarkation experience.  We drove up to Terminal F right around 1130 and easily saw the familiar YC white canopies.  We pulled off in the coned-off lane for YC guests and offloaded the family and bags while I went to go park our land-yacht SUV.  The closest parking is the G terminal parking deck at $22/day; from the YC drop-off tents, get in the far-left lane and drive around to the back side of G parking and pull on in.  After easily finding a spot, I walked back to Terminal F…it’s not too far, but this time there were a lot of passengers still trying to depart from the previous cruises, so it was a bit congested walking through the crowd. I don’t know if customs delayed some disembarkations, but it was a little chaotic with people coming in while a lot of people were still trying to leave.  Joined up with the fam under the YC tents where we handed over our passports and embarkation paperwork.  A quick verification and the butler handed gold-colored luggage tags to the porter who wrote our cabin numbers on each one and put them on our 6 suitcases, there’s no need to pre-print luggage tags as they will just pull them off and put the gold ones on themselves.  A butler gathered about 10 of us and our fellow YC guests and proceeded to take us past all the security lines right up to the x-ray machines.  Put everything inside your carry-on bags, to include phones, belts, etc, and put it on the conveyer belt.  Easy-peasy.  We all rejoined with the butler on the other side of the x-ray machine and he took us up the escalator.  Last year, we had our own butler escorting us vs this group process which was a foreshadow of the rest of our embarkation experience. As a group, he took us past the lines to the YC lounge, with several agents asking us along our route, “are you in the Yacht Club?” as they were about to direct us to the regular embarkation lines.  Again, not a big deal, just different from last year and probably a result of 1 butler trying to escort almost a dozen YC passengers as we got strung out/partially separated on our way.  We enter the YC lounge and was surprised to find it rather crowded, much different from last year.  They had a lot of folding chairs set out which made it feel like walking into a bingo parlor vs an embarkation lounge.  No worries, the waiters were prompt in bringing around champagne, mimosas, water as we set our stuff down.  Which jogs my memory, last year, the escort butler carried our carry-on bags for us after we got through security, but not this year with a larger group. Just a little difference.  Now, it was 11:48, we made the best of our time waiting, but they started boarding by groups before they ever took the first YC pasenger onboard.  We were in the embarkation lounge for a while and were joking around about how many boarding groups had already been called so far before any YC passenger had been asked to board.  We were laughing, “Now boarding group # 110 and all those who bought a cruise through Groupon! LOL” Finally, around 12:30, a couple of butlers came into the lounge and called for the YC guests to board.  A small herd of passengers all charged towards the door, so we opted to wait until they had passed and join the back of the group…bad decision.  The group took off into the main terminal and we quickly got separated.  We found another butler escorting a family with a wheelchair-bound family member and he told us to join them.  We go to wait for the elevator and then they moved in and the doors closed before we could try to squeeze in.  Separated again, we had a good laugh that they really didn’t want us on this cruise!  We turned around and went back to the lounge for more champagne while we waited for another butler to come escort.  After about 2 more champagnes (woo-hoo!) and 10 minutes, the “elevator butler” we were supposed to join up with came looking for us and apologized for the separation.  No worries, pour some more champagne and let’s get this vacay started!  It was 1:00 when we were escorted to the Topsail Lounge (since there were 2 people in line in the Concierge Desk area, I opted to bypass the credit card registration machine until later.  It’s simple and quick and you get 48 hours to register, so no rush) where we were quickly greeted with a butler carrying a silver tray of cocktails and beverages…ahhhh, yesss I will have some, thank you!!  By 1:10, we taken to our Cabin where we dropped off our bags and then we headed up to Deck 18 and the YC Restaurant! Again, long-winded on the embarkation, but I want to highlight the differences I noticed from our first YC experience last year.  There’s more on the differences coming up, but they are on the positive side of the ledger!

Embarkation View.jpg

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Day 1: It’s about 1:20 and our first meal aboard the beautiful Seaside.  We really enjoy this ship and its design to maximize outdoor space. Last year, I messed up and was asking for an “Anthony” that I thought I read about on Cruise Critic.  They said they had an Andrei, and I said, that must be him!”  Andrei was exceptional last year and I learned from these boards that he was till there.  Side note, I was supposed to be asking for the famous “Arthur,” not an Anthony.  Arthur is now on the Bellisima, I believe. Don’t quote me on that, but he’s no longer on Seaside. OK, we ask the Assistant Maître D’ if Andrei is still here and we would like to sit in his section.  I had our picture of us with him from last year pulled up on my phone and showed him.  “Andrei, Andrei, everybody wants Andrei!  Please, come with me.” We rounded the corner to the port side of the dining room and immediately saw the great Andrei.  Not expecting him to remember us from the thousands of passengers over the past year, I showed him our pic with him and then-assistant waiter Kailash (Kai has since been promoted to full waiter and is working the MDR). Andrei hugs each of us and asks how things have been since last year and welcomed us back to the Seaside! We sat at a 4-top table right by the floor-to-ceiling windows with a beautiful view of Miami Beach…ahhh, vacation has started! Now, here’s where I noticed another “difference” from sailing the YC last year, in a good way IMO.  Last year, I took a liking to the Robert Mondavi Private Selection Chardonnay down in the Topsail lounge. When we’d go up to dinner, I’d ask for a refill and Andrei would have to send Kai downstairs to get a bottle.  Now, the YC still offers the wine selections posted by many others, but they use the Mondavi as their “house chardonnay” along with a nice “house” Sauvignon Blanc that I also really enjoyed. So, the restaurant and lounge now bring you their “house” selections if you just order a “chardonnay” or whichever wine, and their “house” selections are all very nice because I tried them all during the cruise LOL! I preferred them to many of the other wine selections on the list which I also tried during the week.  During lunch, we talked with Andrei about keeping our table for the week at dinner.  We are earlier eaters so we can have time to hit the second show at 8:30 each evening (the third show is at 9:45 and cutting into DW and DSIL’s casino time!). When we asked for 6pm seating every night, Andrei said “at that time, it is early and not a problem.” True to form, we sat in Andrei’s section all week without a hitch as were usually the first seated in his section. BTW, his new assistant waiter is Christian, also from the Philippines who also gave us hugs every night as we sat down.  He’s getting married next year after this contract!

               After a somewhat chaotic day for embarkation, it felt like heaven to find refuge in the YC restaurant.  We enjoyed a terrific lunch for Cannelloni, Avocado/Vegetable Ceviche (yum-o!), Grilled Salmon (off the Everyday Menu and darn good!), and a Turkey/Duck pate dish that wasn’t spectacular, but was nice to try something different.  The Warm Apple Crumble won the prize for our favorite dessert.  Also, with the new YC menus (I have a separate post where I linked to someone’s YouTube Video of the new menus, good info so please watch it), there’s a different Risotto dish every day and Andrei would always bring some and put it in the middle of the table for all of us to share, so we did not need to order it as an entrée.

After a wonderful lunch, we headed back to our cabin to unpack which means DW did our unpacking while DD and I hopped into our bathing suits and headed to Deck 19 for a splash in the Topsail pool.  There was only 1 other bather in the pool area, so we practically had the pool to ourselves.  I walked over to the Pool Attendant to get some towels, but he insisted to bringing them to where we were sitting and putting them on our chairs.  Nice touch, and he did this all week.  A waiter quickly came over and I ordered my preferred poolside cruise cocktail, a Mai Tai, and DD’s favorite cruise treat, a non-alcoholic Pina Colada. After a refreshing splash, it was about 3:30pm, so we headed back to our cabin to rinse off and get ready for the upcoming Muster Drill.  It was here that we got to meet our Butler for this cruise, Lezle (pronounced like “Lez-lee”), our room steward (I seriously could not remember her name), and we also saw the incomparable Vishnu from last year’s cruise…luv this guy, he’s so great at what he does and he and Lezle are good friends and work well together. I’ll pause here to go over some cabin and butler notes.

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Butler Services and Cabin Notes:  I already wrote about changes in the embarkation from last year with regards to less personal butler service.  Well, now let me talk about a big change in onboard YC Butler service that I discussed with our butler, Lezle.  In our discussion, I learned that MSC is trying to re-create the aura of yesteryear cruising in their Yacht Clubs when it was an exclusive experience before today’s mass marketing. Lezle explained that he was here to escort us wherever we wanted to go on the ship, just call his direct cell ph #. We learned what he meant when we left to go have cocktails in the lounge before our 6pm dinner.  He came and found us, looking dejected saying he went to our cabin at 10 minutes before 6 to escort us to dinner and thought he had misunderstood.  We had a collective “oops” as we now realized he was expected to escort us everywhere, even for cocktails, to the shows, off the ship, bowling…everywhere.  The first day, this was a little unsettling as we felt like we were being followed or something, but by the next day, we got into the groove and became very proficient at communicating with Lezle when we were going to be going places.  We actually started joking that he and our room steward must sleep upright in the ship walls because they were constantly popping up out of nowhere to open our cabin door, escort somewhere, go over the rest of the day with us.  We nicknamed our room steward “Wall Ninja” because she always seemed to know when we weren’t in our room and got our room ready before we came back! We joked that she was actually hiding in the hallway walls watching for when we left the room. She was awesome all week.

               As for the cabin, we sailed in a YC Deluxe with 4 people this time and had no space/storage problems.  DW gave each of us ½ a closet for hanging stuff, and each of us got 3-4 drawers (I’m including the bedside end tables which each have 2 drawers).  We had plenty of space. Last year, there were 5 of us in the same sized cabin and that was “fun.” Each of us got a bathroom shelf as well.  I brought a multi-plug adapter to plug in all our devices, but you also have 2 USB outlets by the head of the bed to plug in items. You are not allowed to bring travel irons on board, so we brought a clothes steamer instead which worked great for getting out all the wrinkles.  Recommend bringing one.  We asked Lezle to separate the beds when he prepared the room for the night, which was no problem.  Now, I have back damage so I always ask for extra pillows to basically sleep somewhat upright, but I find the beds to be very comfortable and had no problems sleeping this week.  However, the sofa bad was another story this time around. Last year, DD and I took the sofa bed, DS took the bunk bed that came out of the ceiling, and DW and DSIL took the 2 beds.  I recall enjoying the comfort of that sofa bed, but this cabins sofa bed was a little less plush in that I could feel the cross bar when I tested it out. That evening before turning in, I called the Concierge to ask for a mattress topper, but she said they did not have any.  On other cruise lines such as NCL, I’m used to requesting an egg-crate mattress topper with no problems. A few minutes later, Lezle “pops out of the wall” and is knocking on our door asking how he can help. He and Wall Ninja reappear with a few extra Duvets to layer on top of the sofa bed mattress which did help mitigate the discomfort, but I could still feel the cross bar.  WN asked if it’d be OK to leave the sofa bed out for the rest of the cruise vs folding it up each morning.  We had no problem with that since we also take afternoon naps when on a cruise…mainly because we like staying at the Casino each night!  In fact, DW and DSIL closed down the casino every, single night, ummmm, morning of this cruise, usually not getting in until 4-5am every morning LOL.  The balcony was plenty big with 3 chairs and an ottoman.  I spent time out there every evening as the 3 ladies got ready for dinner, which also reminds me that I’d go down to the Topsail Lounge and order “getting ready” drinks for all of us (non-alcoholic Miami Vice for DD, Moscow Mules for DW and DSIL, and a Grey Goose Martini for me…that’s my evening cruise treat 😊  ), and the Butler working the lounge that evening would deliver them to our room on a silver tray, very nice!

OK, back to Day 1, time for the muster drill.  Just like last year, our station was in the Casino (one of our favorite places, and we joked if the ship was going down, MSC would be getting our last nickels as evacuated the ship LOL).  You do not take life jackets with you.  In fact, the life jackets are all stored in a closet back by the Roulette tables.  Kind of makes sense, if there was a true emergency, do you want passengers scrambling over each other to get back to their rooms to grab their life jackets, or does it make more sense to get to your muster station as quickly as possible and get your life jacket there?  Passed my common sense test. Yes, it was hot in the casino and crowded.  We managed to stand against the cashier’s cage while we waited out the muster drill instructions in 5 languages.  No worries, we knew what to expect and just went with the flow. We waited for the crowd to clear out before heading to the forward elevators to get back to YC haven.

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Posted (edited)

YC Priority Elevators:  OK, we struggled last year to get the YC priority elevators to work.  They are the most forward sets of elevators with a card swipe or YC wristband monitor by the elevator buttons.  It took us until Monday to finally figure it out.  When you swipe for a YC Priority Elevator, it only allows YC guests to press floors and bypasses the other floors.  So, to get it to work, you swipe your wristband on the monitor pad, but DO NOT press the up or down button.  One of the elevators will light up and ding, showing Priority Service requested.  Wait for that elevator.  Once you get on, swipe your wristband again on the pad, the press your floor(s).  The doors will close and you will be taken directly to your chosen floor.  If there are other on the elevator, have the courtesy to re-enter their floors for them or it may be an uncomfortable elevator ride as they wait for your YC-pampered butt to get off the elevator!

What to Wear (Guys):  I thought I’d put in a plug for all of my fellow shorts/flip flop/t-shirt wearing brethren out there concerned about having to tie a tie for this cruise. Good news, if you think you can get away with it with the spousal unit, just like last year, I packed 1 pair of Khaki pants and 4 golf shirts for dinners.  That’s it, no lie.  Rotate thru them during the week and try not spill any sauce on them or you might get a “Ohh, you wore that shirt back on Italian night, didn’t you?” from Andrei J/K, he really doesn’t care!  Each night, after dinner, I went back to the cabin and changed back into my shorts and t-shirt before the 8:30 shows.

               As I mentioned earlier, we goofed the whole 1st day butler escort thing and went down to the Topsail Lounge by ourselves for some pre-dinner family game time and cocktails.  Lezle came and found us shortly before 6pm, feeling like he had let us down.  We explained that we’re not used to this first-class service, but would do better the next time!  He escorted us up the Swarovski Crystal staircase to the YC Restaurant where we were greeted by the new Maître D’, Paulo.  Last year, Giuseppe was the Maître D’.  He was always outgoing with us, but could pick up on the staff’s grumblings about his management style being a little more stifling.  Paulo was easy going, low key, and even cooked one of the pasta dinners and even the seafood lunch at the poolside grille on Thursday.  The staff seemed much more content and not stressed out under his leadership.  Just my own personal observation. As I am “technology challenged,” I took pics with my new GoPro and have not figured out how to pull them off the computer yet, so I don’t have pics of our dinner for tonight.  I’ve downloaded from the GoPro to my laptop, but when I try to open it, I get the blue donut of death (if anyone has some GoPro tips on this, please help me!!).  By dining at 6pm, we got to enjoy the best views of the sunset and our sail away from Miami while sitting window-side in the YC restaurant.

Evening Shows and YC Guests:   After dinner, we returned to our cabin to unwind before the 8:30 show, Timeless.  Here’s another difference from last year.  The last, back 2 rows of the center section are roped off for YC Guests and your butler escorts you there.  Also new, YC passengers do not need to make show reservations (we did as soon as we got onboard as we did not know this changed), your butler escorts you right past the attendant scanning passengers cruise cards to the YC-designated rows.  Now, I always like to sit in the front row during a show.  I like how you can “feel” the dancers performing as they dance almost in your face. However, for this time, we opted to go with the YC flow and sit in the newly designated rows.  As you could expect, sitting center and up, you had a clear view of the whole stage, but I missed that up close and personal experience.  For the rest of the cruise Lezle, would take us to the 6th floor to the front row seats, no problems.  My wife even commented how good the dancers smelled as they performed in front of us, it was that close!  I will say, Timeless was our least-enjoyed show…storyline was disjointed, the songs didn’t grab me, but the shows are only 30 minutes’ish long, so no worries.  Another change to the shows from last year is the Friday night Michael Jackson show.  Last year, his performance was the last 10 mins of the Friday show.  MSC changed that to make it its own “Starwalker” show.  Do not miss this one, high energy. Especially in the front row!! We did enjoy the remaining shows the rest of the cruise.  With the exception of Starwalker, they were the same ones from last year.  Fun fact, on a cruise a few years back, we learned the dancers had to weigh-in every week, these performers work very hard to stay in the shape/aesthetics they have.

               After the show, in what would become our daily vacay routine, DW and DSIL headed off to the penny slots and DD and I headed off to the pizza buffet on Deck 8.  I enjoy the pizza on Seaside, it’s Italian style vs NY or Chicago covered in cheese.  Their pizzas are simple ingredients, some cheese, and very tasty, IMO.  After pizza…Gelato time!  Here’s another difference from last year.  Last year, we just showed our YC wristbands and they didn’t even scan them, just prepared our gelato.  This year, I told my crew I wasn’t sure if Gelato was included anymore or not.  I guess it is because they would scan our wristbands each time, give us our receipt, but the charges never showed on our bill, and we went every night.  So, based on my experience, gelato was still included for our cruise, they just seem to be tracking it now.  We took our gelato up to Deck 18 and enjoyed it while standing on the Bridge of Sighs. DD opted not to join the Teens program this cruise, so I am not able to give feedback on that. A little after 11pm, we headed back to the cabin to crash for the night and rent her an in-room movie (btw was an $8.00 charge for the one she chose.  I “think” some may be free???)

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Edited by psmarkle

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Casino: I did not go to the casino the first evening, but would for the next 5 nights.  I am a Craps aficionado, but Seaside does not have a craps table.  So, last year, I studied up on baccarat and planned to play that only to find out they did not have a baccarat table.  So, I learned in real-time how to play 3 Card Poker, they have 1 table.  Last year, I won a few hundred the first night and called it quits for the rest of the cruise, so I did not experience the Casino dept discount letters they hand out.  This year, btw, they do have a baccarat table that was taken up every night by a group of Crazy Asians…seriously, that’s what they called themselves when I chatted with them! They told me I had to learn to play like crazy Asians to play baccarat as they were betting stacks of $100 chips and shouting “Monkey” which apparently is a good-luck chant, perhaps??  Was a lot of fun watching them!  Anyways, starting Night #2, I played some 3 Card poker and met several fellow YC guests at the table.  Luck was shining on me as each night, I would get to the table around midnight as they were wrapping it, not looking too happy. I managed to hit a winning streak every night somehow after they left.  It must have been the Grey Goose martinis which the waiter kept refilling without me even asking (maybe it was the $5 chip I tipped him every time?), but I had a lot of fun in the casino this trip and managed to pocket quite a bit of MSC’s $$.  Now, on Wed night, my DW stopped by the table and said a Casino Rep approached them and said they qualified for a 30% Casino discount off a future cruise.  And this from playing penny slots!  She also said I had qualified as well and filled out the paperwork for me.  On Friday morning, there were 3 envelopes from the casino on our door, each with a 30% off letter for DW, DSIL, and myself.  Now, you only have 9mos to use the discount, and it’s only 1 discount per cabin, but you can also stack your Voyager’s Club 5% discount on top of this as well.  We’re currently booked for April back on the Seaside using the 2 discounts (will be stopping at their new private island vs Nassau).  On this cruise, and thanks to other CC posters, I learned it was quite easy to use your OBC for chips/slots in the casino.  We had $600 OBC to use with $350 of that covering our automatic gratuities.  In the casino, they just swipe your card at the tables and give you however much in chips you want and it gets charged to your room. DW put her card in the penny slot machines and charged her playing bankroll to our room. So, our OBC from our travel agency ended up covering our automatic gratuities and playing money vs my original plan to book a ship excursion just to use up our OBC.

Zipline:  I did confirm with the concierge that even YC guests now have to pay for the zipline, $11.  I did not inquire about whole cabin rates as even the $11 changed my mind about it.  My kids and I did it last year, and it’s nice, relaxing ride with great views, but definitely not what you’re looking for if you’re more of a thrill seeker.  I did not observe many people using it.

Internet: Now, I also had a Plan B to use the rest of my OBC to pay for an Internet package for the cabin if we didn’t want to do a ship excursion in Cozumel. If you pre-buy the 4-device package through the MSC website, I believe it’s $129??  If you buy onboard, I was expecting it to be $159 for 4 devices and that was my plan on embarkation day. Wellllll, in our room there was a flyer about the 1 internet package you can purchase onboard, it’s the Unlimited Data package, that’s it.  We asked the concierge about the 6Gb, 4 device package and she explained only the unlimited data package is available and it would be $252 for 4 devices for the week…what?!  No worries for us, we’re on vacay and voted to collectively go off the grid for the next week, yeah!!  In Ocho Rios, we did connect at Margaritaville and got caught up before disconnecting again.

YC Newspapers: When we turned in for the first night, there was a form to fill out if you wanted a newspaper delivered to your room each day.  There are several options and languages.  I enjoyed sitting poolside with my Mai Tai and making sure the world was still spinning and life was still continuing beyond those of us on the Seaside.

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Day 2, Sea Day: Now, I am usually 1 of “those types” who is lined up at the fitness center door at 5:55am waiting for it to open at 6am.  That was my plan for this morning, I need an intervention, I know. I have a rather aggressive workout regimen at home and like to continue while onboard.  Well, drum roll please…this is my first cruise where I did not go to the gym at all beyond walking through on embarkation day!  I totally vegged for the entire cruise…and gained 6lbs while doing it!  Now, I can tell you from last year, the Seaside has the largest fitness center I’ve seen on a ship, and does get busy!  It’s also the first time I’ve seen barbells and plates onboard as you usually only get dumbbells and machines.

               I’m always the first one up in our cabin, especially since DW and DSIL just got in a couple of hours ago from the casino and were “sawing logs” big time LOL!  I have my stuff set out beside my bed every night so as not to wake anyone when I get up in the morning.  I struggle with the small coffee cups on the ship, so I always bring my travel coffee mug as I enjoy a morning stroll around the ship while enjoying my morning coffee.  Now, In the YC, they do not have a coffee bar where you can go get your own coffee.  They insist on great service to you while on vacation and will bring your coffee to your table as they make each cup fresh.  So, I saunter over to Deck 16 and the buffet to go fill my travel mug.  This is about 7:30am.  Things are relatively quite with several folks milling around.  It gave me a chance to check out the breakfast buffet, and I was impressed.  Made-to-order eggs/omelets?  Yup.  Pancakes, French toast, waffles with an actual flavored syrup bar, the first time I’ve seen that on a cruise! Yup. Bacon, pre-made eggs benedict (a fave of mine), different sausages? Yup.  Breakfast pizza with a sunny-side-up egg on each slice…crazy good, too, BTW! Yup. I’d be hard pressed to complain about the breakfast buffet onboard, something for everyone, it seemed.

The Chair Hogs: In the YC, there is absolutely no need to go “mark your chairs.”  There are physically more chairs than YC guests. However, I did notice during this cruise that 3 loungers in the shaded part of the pool deck always had YC pool towels with towel clips on them every morning, but that was it.  I cannot confirm this, but I overheard on disembarkation how someone had tipped their butler $40 on embarkation day to reserve pool chairs for them.  Putting 2+2 together, I figured that must have been those 3 chairs.  OK, onto the main pools and chair hogs (I used to be 1 of those in my younger days, btw).  The Seaside is “the ship that follows the sun,” and is designed to maximize outdoor space (which I love about this ship).  If you want pool chairs in the shade, be prepared to get up around 6am to mark your chairs around the Jungle Pool, they go quick as they are almost all shaded by Deck 18 above.  Now, the main Miami Beach pool on Deck 18, even around 8am there were still tons of chairs not yet claimed except those padded loungers on the pool’s edge.  Even during the day, there were plenty of chairs to be found if you didn’t insist on being directly poolside.  I found this pattern consistent throughout the week during my coffee strolls…Jungle Pool chairs were the prime real estate, get there early.  If you’re in the YC, enjoy your morning, get to the pool whenever, ask the Pool Attendant for some towels and he’ll bring them to your chair for you…ahhhh, the good life 😊.

               After my morning coffee walk, I go back to our cabin and gently wake my teenage daughter for breakfast per her request.  That’s our bonding time as we are the 2 earlier risers in our group.  After she grumbles like teenagers do while getting ready (do not speak to them unless spoken to, do not make eye contact, do not breathe around them, do not blink…you get the idea), we head up to the Topsail Grille for what would be the first of every day, “eggs-cellent” breakfasts 😉.  DD opts for the choices from the grille’s buffet while order 2 eggs benedict made-to-order.  A waiter takes our drink order (DD loves her cappuccino…isn’t it supposed to be an evening drink vs b’fast??), and we sit down at a table—almost all the tables are shaded at b’fast time, btw.  My eggs benedict are cooked perfectly…the English muffins were toasted on the grill and the eggs poached lightly.  They nailed it every day of this cruise for me!

Cruise Critic Meet-N-Greet: The Cruise Critic Meet-N-Greet was at 10am (if you signed up online, you’ll have an invite in your room at evening turndown service).  After a leisurely stroll around the ship with her cappuccino, we head there.  I was looking forward to asking about MSC’s North America plans for year-round basing vs just seasonal.  Now, if I can put in a plug here for the Meet-N-Greet, I normally sail NCL and RCCL, and nobody, and I mean Nobody, goes out of their way to host a Cruise Critic Meet-N-Greet like MSC does on the Seaside.  So, if you sign up before the cruise, PLEASE actually attend!  We did the Meet-N-Greet last year and there were approximately 3 dozen attendees.  This year, there were 14 of us.  Capt Massa (who said he was only on Seaside temporarily before moving to the Grandiosa, I think??), Hotel Director, Food and Beverage Director, Gene Young the Cruise Director (luv that guy, he’s great), etc were all there for the 14 of us.  Instead of having a presentation like last year, with our small size the crew just went around and worked the room, talking to each of individually.  Drinks and hors d‘oeuvres were plentiful, and the Cruise Critic cake was amazing, seriously.  We took 2 pieces back to the room for DW and DSIL to try.  I talked with Gene for quite a while, he brings such energy to his job and is MSC’s first-ever American Cruise Director.  He’s also retired after 20 years with HAL before MSC hired him out of retirement, and he still has the energy of a 25-year-old!  He told me how MSC is actually creating a separate Yacht Club department to handle the growth in the fleet while focusing on maintaining the exclusive level of Yacht Club service across the fleet.  He discussed MSC’s expansion into North America, especially with the World Class ships on order (they will be even bigger than RCCL’s, if I recall correctly), but that is still a couple of years in the works.  So, for those of us tied to the traditional school year calendar for vacation time, Seaside and Armonia are still it for next summer until more ships come out.  Again, the Meet-N-Greet on the Seaside is the best I’ve attended of any cruise line, so please go experience one on your cruise.

               After the meet-n-greet, we returned to our room with some coffee for DW and to change into bathing suits for an enjoyable day poolside. DW and DSIL decided to try out room service for their breakfast that morning.  Coffee and eggs benedict were the choice for the morning.  DW said the eggs benedict were delicious (eggs perfect), however, English muffins were not toasted on the grill like I got.  The perks of going to the buffet and getting them made I guess.  The breakfast menu for room service had a little for everyone.  Pastries, eggs, pancakes, waffles, yogurt, cereal, etc.  It’s possible that if you talk with your Butler, you could get just about anything made from the poolside grill breakfast spread and have it delivered.  DD and I always enjoying going poolside to eat breakfast, and outside of day 1, DW and DSWIL pretty much slept in and made lunch their first meal of the day, so we never asked Lezle to make any special runs for us.  Wall Ninja seemed to pop up from nowhere and opened our door for us…how does she do that?! We enjoyed lunch from the YC buffet with made-to-order fresh burgers (they do not use frozen patties here!) and fresh cooked pasta dishes…and a couple of Mai Tai’s 😉 We got ready for dinner with our in-room cocktails.  For tonight, we let DSIL and DD enjoy the Black Card Specialty Dining voucher (DSIL is also a Black Card member, so no issues) while DW and I had a date night.  Lezle showed promptly at 5:20pm to escort them to Butcher’s Cut for dinner and then returned to escort DW and I to the Topsail Lounge for wine before our usual 6pm dinner with Andrei and Christian.  Reports from the Butcher’s Cut was steak was a little undercooked (had ordered medium-rare), but otherwise was a very enjoyable dinner experience.  I will add in here, my DD and I luv our steak and ordered the everyday Filet Mignon several times.  On all other cruises, we’ve learned to order 1 level less-done than desired to get it the way we like as they almost always overcook the steaks.  This was the first cruise where we quickly learned to order our steaks Medium if we wanted it to come out a very nice medium rare, which they nailed it on the head once we learned that trick.  Again, not a “I hate MSC and will never sail again,” just learning to adapt so as to truly enjoy our vacation.  I fail to remember the name of the show tonight, but this time Lezle escorted us down to Deck 6 and took us to some open front row seats for the show.  I really enjoy being up close and catching the little quirks and sideways glances by the dancers when something goes slightly different.  Amazing talent from these performers.  After the show, we meet up at the cabin with DSIL and DD and then go for some gelato.  Again, nothing showed up on our bill even though they scanned our wristband.  After gelato, DD settles into the room and gets out her book to read (she’s seriously a good kid considering those teenage hormones running around) for the night and we order her a pizza from room service (really good and different from the pizza on the buffet).  Tonight, I join DW and DSIL on their trip to the casino.  I head over to the 3-Card poker table which I hadn’t played since last year on the Seaside.  I decide to watch for a while and meet some fellow YC guests who take the time to freshen up my memory on how to play.  Eventually, I sit down when a chair opens up and start to have the first of multiple successful nights at that table.  Woo-hooo!  The Crazy Asians seemed to be having a good night over at the Baccarat table as I heard several cheers coming from that section.  A fun way to end the evening before turning in to get some sleep before Ocho Rios the next day…DW and DSIL toughed it out, closing down the casino and hitting the beach in Ocho Rios on only 4 hours of sleep…you go girls!!

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Day3, Ocho Rios:  Now, DW and I have been on 30+ cruises at this point, so we’ve hit pretty much all the islands.  We were in Jamaica 2 years ago and did the Falls, river tubing, lunch (first…and last…time I tried goat), etc.  We did not care for Jamaica as much as other islands, so we had planned on staying onboard and hitting the Thermal Spa which is free for YC guests.  However, while watching 1 of thousands cruise videos on Youtube, I saw one where the guys go off and walked to the Ocho Rios Margaritaville with a beach, chairs you could rent, and floating platforms/trampolines in the water.  I showed the video to the crew and we voted to make it one of our beach days in lieu of doing a beach club in Cozumel so we could save our obc to use for our playing money in the casino.  So, after we all enjoyed breakfast up at the Topsail Grille (eggs benedict were on point, once again!), we arranged for Lezle to meet us at our room to escort us off the ship. Easy stuff.  The Margaritaville is about a 10min walk through the terminal parking lot, past the “Lookie-Lookie’s (lookie here, mister, buy this),” and down the street a short way until you see the Margaritaville sign.  We walked up and asked the hostess for 2 VIP packages which are 2 loungers, 1 umbrella, and 2 margaritas/draft Heinekens for $55, so $110 total.  We picked 2 chairs in the shade and 2 in the sun.  Was not crowded at all when we got there around 10:30am.  The water is wonderful and clear, the margaritas were tasty, and the floating trampoline is a lot harder to get on than you think…I was gassed after pulling myself up! We really enjoyed a very relaxing afternoon here, and ordered the Volcano Nachos as a “snack” LOL (see picture below…it was a LOT of nachos!) to hold us over until we got back on the Seaside. We walked back to to ship well before final boarding and headed past the lines to the YC boarding tent.  That cold wash cloth felt soooo good.  The crew headed up to our cabin, showers, and a seriously needed nap time for all zzzzzzz.   Cutting to the chase, Lezle escorted us to dinner this evening, where I ordered the Everyday Filet Mignon as I remember it from last year, and I’m a true carnivore (info note, in the MDR, the everyday steak is a New York Strip, but in the YC, it is a very sizeable Filet Mignon), the chicken Oscar (did not care for this dish…not a lot of flavor, fake crab, Sysco chicken meat quality), and a pasta dish with Speck, and the daily Risotto which was good as the earlier one at lunch!  We had to ask Andrei what Speck was…it’s a type of ham, in short.  Let me just say up front, I am normally a no/low Carb eater, but I was all-in on this vacation for MSC’s pasta dishes.  Enjoyed every single one of them each day, did not have a bad one!  The Tapioca and Chocolate Souffle were the dessert winners tonight.

               The rest of the evening involved DD and I doing some onboard shopping and gelato whil DW and DSIL went to work in the casino.  I eventually joined them around midnight for another round of 3 Card poker.

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Edited by psmarkle

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Day 4, Grand Caymans: DW and DSIL were troopers with only 4 hours of sleep after getting booted out of the casino, again, at 4:30am.  Fortunately, DW had remembered to order a couple pots of coffee from room service before they headed out last night.  After breakfast, Lezle met up with us to escort us down to the gangplank for boarding the tenders to take us to shore. No lines for us, just right up to security, scan our cards, and onto the tender. Pretty sweet process.  Once on shore, we easily found a van/group taxi right outside the terminal gate.  There are several holding up signs with set prices to various destinations.  We had reserved a poolside cabana at the Royal Palms Beach Club for the day, which was the first stop for $5pp.  I did notice the taxi van driver was guiding people who did not have a pre-set destination to Calico Jacks which is a little farther down the beach.  We were the last 4 to get into the van which involved DD and I climbing over other pax to get in the front seat with the driver and DD and DSIL getting fold down seats in the aisle.  Good thing we were getting off at the first stop or it would involve a Chinese Fire Drill routine to get anyone else out! After getting hounded by a taxi driver saying to “ask for me when you are ready to go back to the ship, what time shall I pick you up?,” we walked up to the entrance, paid for our cabana with a credit card and were escorted to our poolside oasis for the day.  Service was great and prompt, pool was clean, great bathroom and outdoor shower facilities, and right on 7-mile beach.  I did notice a couple of Seaside crew members here hanging out for their short time off.  We ended up getting 3 buckets of local beer (we’re such lushes), and DD and I paid $30 for 1 hour of paddle boarding.  Wonderful afternoon right up until I noticed the storm clouds drifting our way…. Ka-sploosh!  The skies let loose exactly as I said’ I think we better start packing up and heading back to the ship.”  At least we had the cabana to keep all our stuff from getting wet, it was a deluge!  Without seeing a let up in the rain, we sucked it up, threw our MSC YC towels over our heads and went to get a taxi back to the terminal.  Now, the terminal was a whole other type of chaos…haven’t seen pushing and shoving in line since I was stationed in Turkey.  The rain was pouring and there was no orderly getting in line under the tents, it was a mass push forward all at once.  Now what annoyed me greatly were the pax coming in from the sides and jumping ahead of people, wedging their way in.  But what really annoyed me was the 14+ (I really did count and it was at least 14 people, poss more) “family members” following the handicap escort pushing “their grandfather” in wheelchair trying to force their way to the front of the line.  Fortunately, one of the few MSC staffers at the gate caught onto this and made the 14+ get out of line and go to the back.  Now, DSIL remembers Lezle saying something about “don’t wait in line, go to the front,” but we thought he meant after we got through the terminal security to skip the regular line and go to the YC line.  We finally spotted one of the butlers in regular clothes vs his tux checking for people with YC boarding cards and I held ours up high.  He spotted us and pulled out of the chaos to stand at the front right next to Grandpa in the wheelchair.  It was then that that the 14+ “family members” reappeared, trying to push us aside to get to the front.  The butler, told them no, only Grandpa/Grandma (who was walking), and sent them back a second time.  We finally trudged through the security gate in the downpour and sloshed our way to the tender, laughing all the way since we were completely soaked by this point and just didn’t care anymore!  The shoving at the terminal was a difference in culture where we are used to standing in lines, others (like when we lived in Turkey) are used to shoving as many people up front as possible, then shove some more until you get through! We had a good laugh about it on the boat ride to the ship.  Showers, naps, and off for family game time in the Topsail Lounge before dinner. Filet mignon with mushrooms, pasta, seafood ceviche, risotto, desserts…yum! Another very enjoyable meal in the YC restaurant.  Rinse and repeat of last night with Lezle escorting us to front row seats, and then another profitable night in the casino.  DW and DSIL closed it down again around 5am!  Talk about Energizer Bunnies!

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Edited by psmarkle

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Day 5, Cozumel: Will keep it short here, did not get off the ship again for the next 3 days and loved it!  Had the YC area to ourselves almost.  We all hung around the pool, soduku puzzles, Mai Tai’s, French fries from the buffet (they cook them in fresh batches), etc. Serious relaxation time.  Usual late afternoon naps, family game time in the YC Lounge before dinner.  Tonight we had crab cakes (very good), duck breast (cooked just right!), ravioli (really good!), and sea bass (was OK, not bad, but not exceptional).  I did not care for my lentil soup appetizer, but that was just my taste.  Front row seats at the show, DW and DSIL head to the casino and DD and I go for shopping, gelato, and late night pizza before she turned in and I drifted over to the casino around midnight.  This was the evening the casino rep was going around letting us know we qualified for the 30% discount off our next cruise…sweet!

Day 6, At Sea:  Another day on board.  As I was enjoying my morning walk with my coffee, the “behind the scenes” tours came through the YC areas.  They seemed to be grouped by languages, and I waved at them while the guide was explaining the Yacht Club and what was special about it.  Feeling like a zoo animal, I was hoping they would toss some food my way, but, alas, I had to go find the poolside buffet and get the food myself LOL. A difference from last year, today was lobster day and my mouth was watering from the moment I got up…DD and I are serious lobster eaters! So, on Thursdays at noon, the poolside buffet features a seafood buffet with grilled ½ lobster tails, king prawns, fish (and the usual burgers, chicken, minute steaks), and the Maître D’ Paulo does a version of linguine and red clam sauce (I believe he used mussels instead) poolside.  The lobster tails were grilled just right, and I put a hurting on them LOL.  My critique of this event is they only serve the lobster from 12-1pm, and all the butlers tell their guests to be there before noon.  This was the only time the YC felt less-than-exclusive, it got crowded around the pool around 1130.  Fortunately, I channeled my old chair hog genes and had us 4 loungers poolside at 10am (with a Mai Tai, I might add 😉).  Once the buffet opened, here comes the lines, breaking in line, etc.  It just took away from the YC experience, for me anyways.  I don’t understand why they limit it from 12-1pm when you have a defined number of YC guests.  Why not serve it during regular buffet times of 12-3:30pm??  This way, guests can come up at their leisure?  Again, not a show stopper for us, but an area for improvement.  Now, they will also be serving lobster in the YC restaurant at dinner, so don’t despair if you don’t get up to the poolside buffet between 12-1pm.

               Another leisurely day by the pool (minus the chaotic lunch I just described), afternoon naps, and back to the Topsail lounge for family game time before dinner. Tonight was the second Elegant Night (which means I wore a clean golf shirt LOL) featuring a dish from a 3 Star rated Michelin chef.  A Halibut dish.  Now watching the videos on the elevator tv’s, it looked really good, so ordered the Halibut and…wait for it…a Lobster Tail!  As if the 3 trips to the buffet at lunch didn’t fill my lobster quota for the year!  Among our crew, we also had the Beef Tenderloin Rossini (ordered Medium, came out a perfect medium rare like I like), the Roasted Veal Loin (very good), I tried the Foie Gras appetizer (very good, if you enjoy foie gras), and the Asiago Cheese Fritters are a must-have!  And, of course, Andrei dropped a plate of Risotto in the middle for all of us to share.

Bowling:  Back on Tuesday, DD and I stopped by the Arcade after getting drenched in the Caymans to inquire about bowling reservations.  Here’s another difference from last year for the better.  The gentlemen told us that all had were midnight slots available the rest of the week.  Now, last year, I was waiting in line before 11am for the Arcade desk to open to make bowling reservations for that day and that was all he’d let us do.  This year, it appears, maybe they’ve opened up the reservations for the whole week so get there early, perhaps??  Midnight is not a problem for my crew, so I asked him to hook us up for Thursday at midnight.  Good luck, he said, there was a cancellation for a 1hour slot at 10:30pm on Thursday, would we like that?  Heck yeah, HABU (hook a brother up)!  So, tonight, after the show, we changed into casual clothes (I was already there immediately after dinner), grabbed our tennis shoes, and went bowling…or something that looked like bowling…I think.  Couple of notes, if you have soft soled shoes (tennis/gym shoes), you do not have to rent shoes.  Also, it’s hot in the arcade, dress light. And, they only have XS, SM, M, and L sizes in bowling balls.  I have large hands and the L bowling ball would only allow to fit my fingers up to the first knuckle.  Needless to say, it wasn’t pretty.  Most of my throws would involve my thumb getting stuck in the ball which caused it to go airborne halfway down the lane until bouncing two times then (hopefully) striking the pins.  We had a lot of laughs this evening, along with the group bowling next to us, at my expense 😊  It was $45 for the lane (for 4 of us) for the first ½ hour, and $40 for the second ½ hour, FYI.  Money well spent for all the laughs we enjoyed!

               Another run at the casino where I gave some profits back at 3 Card Poker, but not much as I was determined to walk off that ship with their $$ (I took the money and stopped by the concierge and paid my bill down to $0 then put the rest in the safe for the rest of the cruise).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Edited by psmarkle

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Day 7, Nassau:  Again, we’ve been to Nassau many, many, many times, so we opted to remain on the ship.  We really enjoy having the ship to ourselves when in port.  We originally planned to spend it in the Thermal Spa, which we had yet to visit, but, alas, we ended up poolside with a Mai Tai/Moscow Mules/non-alcoholic Pina Coladas instead.  This now makes 2 years in a row I have yet to take advantage of the free Thermal Spa access accorded to YC guests.  Oh well.  Woke up to go for my morning coffee stroll and found 3 Casino Rewards envelopes on our door for our 30% discount off a future cruise…nice. Lezle was working the Topsail Lounge this morning when I stopped by to look at the breakfast snacks they were offering.  He mentioned, “you got your discount letter with $50 on it, right?”  I’m not surprised he knew all that since he’s the one who probably put it on our door.  While we were chatting about the casino, he pointed to a couple having coffee saying they got a free cruise (more on them when I talk about disembarkation). I normally cruise NCL and book my cruises through their Casinos At Sea department where I get a free inside room then pay to upgrade to the Haven.  This was my first experience with MSC’s Casino Dept and it seems more generous, at least in my limited experience. Their offers also seemed to be based on time in the casino playing as DW and DSIL just play penny slots.  My DW will go a whole week on $100, and she still got a 30% discount letter.

On Board Future Cruise Booking: Since I did not use this last year, I do not know if this is a change to their program, but now MSC is offering OBC if you book a future cruise while onboard.  For YC reservations, you gt $200 obc which will make enough casino money to make DW feel like she’s on Rodeo Drive!  Plus, they automatically transfer the reservation to your travel agent on record for your current cruise, so I should get around $600 more OBC for next year’s cruise, I think.  Now, I will say, MSC is definitely raising prices as a Spring Break cruise before discounts (4 people, YC Deluxe Suite) was approx. $9K and next Summer was a little over $8K.  Using both the Casino 30% discount stacked with our Voyager’s Club 5% discount, I booked for next April on the Seaside again (we love this ship and crew), and it came out to just about the same price we paid for this cruise using just our 10% Military Discount…yikes!

               Tonight’s dinner pics are still stuck in e-tron purgatory on my laptop as I used the GoPro to take the pictures. We also handed out tip envelopes tonight, I’ll talk more on that in a few.  As previously stated, tonight’s show was a full 30 minutes of Michael Jackson songs and dancing…high energy, especially sitting in the front row.  Lezle took us down about 8:05pm as he knew it would fill up quickly.  It was nice being escorted folks waiting in line to get in right down to the front row 😊 Then came the dreaded luggage drag to the hallway before midnight Checked with the concierge and gave her a few more $$ to keep our account at $0 then went to the Lounge to chill while DW and DSIL went for one last hurrah at the casino.  I did remind them we had to get up at 6am the next morning, sooooo, they only stayed out until 2am because the casino kicked them out.  Seriously, where do these two get their stamina from???

Tipping:  This has got to be one of the most personal topics on a cruise right up there with your personal opinion of the food!  On Wed, our account showed 4 charges of $87.50 to cover the week’s automatic gratuities.  We still choose to tip above this as this $$ makes a difference in the lives of these very hard-working crew members.  Interesting note in talks with both Lezle and Vishnu (both butlers) about being on the Seaside next year, they both emphatically said they are staying on the Seaside.  They explained that although it’s more work serving in the North America market than a European cruise, Americans tip much more than other nationalities so they can send more home to their families (their words, not mine so don’t pile on me).  We chose to give additional tips to our butler Lezle, Wall Ninja (seriously, what was her name???), Andrei and Christian, a little to the Concierge Eva, the Topsail Lounge bartender (his name is Sagar Kaup, tell him the guy who likes “The CEO martini” says hello!), one of the butlers who always worked the Topsail Lounge at night ( his name is Sonal Chari), and Vishnu (even though he wasn’t our butler, he still helped Lezle take care of us in first-class fashion). Amounts are subjective, but we gave out an equal amount in additional tips as our automatic gratuities for the amazing service we received from the YC Staff! I will say, Wall Ninja found us Friday night and couldn’t stop shaking our hands and thanking us for the extra tips…group hugs.

Day 8, Disembarkation :  This is an area where MSC Yacht Club excels!  Easiest disembarkation, just like last year.  They cruise daily requests you exit your room by 7:30am, but Lezle said no problem for 8am for us.  Talk about slight miscommunications (in a good way), we got ourselves up at 6am, up to the YC Restaurant for one last round of fresh eggs benedict by 7am, back in the room for final potty breaks and one last check of the room for any items, and we were ready at 7:55am when Lezle came knocking on our door at 8am.  He thought he was escorting us up for breakfast and was pleasantly surprised when we said we were done and ready to walk off the ship!

               Lezle grabbed another couple waiting at the Concierge desk and took us to the elevator for one final, priority service ride down.  He walked us past all the lines of pax waiting to disembark and dropped us at the security/card scan area.  Hugs all around.  I chatted with the other YC couple disembarking with us, and recognized they were the ones Lezle pointed out on Friday as receiving a free cruise through the casino.  Talk about different experiences/perspectives on what makes your cruise.  He explained they were on a free cruise this time and paid to upgrade to the Yacht Club to try it out.  He said they would not do that again, thought the food was lousy/steaks well done, the best meal they had was Friday night when they chose to eat in the MDR, and it wasn’t worth the extra money.  (queue the awkward silence here…).  I chuckled and tried to lighten the mood while waiting in the security line and said, “well, any meal I don’t have to cook and clean up is a great meal to me ?lol?”

               YC luggage is the closest to the baggage area exit in the VIP section (signs hanging from the ceiling).  Remembering the cluster of pax waiting to depart when we arrived to embark a week ago, I immediately asked a luggage porter to assist us with our bags.  He took us all the way to the G Terminal parking garage, cutting around the throngs of folks, and even took our bags right to our land yacht and loaded them for us.  I gave him a $40 tip for the great service and loading our bags for us.  Pulled out of the garage and paid our $154 for parking and we were off to MIA airport to drop off DSIL and it was only 8:30am…nice disembarkation and a good way to end another great MSC Seaside cruise in the Yacht Club! We already have plans to be back again.

I know this was a loooong review, but hope I’ve managed to share some details, tips, good ideas that will help make your cruise a more enjoyable one.  I learned so much from these Cruise Critic boards and am glad to have the opportunity to give back.  Holler if you have any further questions!

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Wow, PSMarkle. Thanks for taking the time to write your review. Really enjoyed it.   Hope to have an equally enjoyable YC experience on our upcoming cruise MSC. 

 

I picked up a few wise pointers from your review and thank you for same.

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Dear PS, You did not disappoint!!!  I read each line to DW and she said she just experienced a second week on board. Thank you.

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Thanks for the great review and observations.  We are looking forward to our November cruise in the Yacht Club.

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What a super informative review, Thank you! 

Am hoping Lezle will be there in October? Did he mention when he goes on vacation? He was my butler this past May and was indeed great, so hoping I get lucky and have him again. The Ninja I think was Anna? 

What suite # were you? 

Thanks again for refreshing my prior memories. Am counting the days until I’m back on her again.  🙂

 

Edited by sheilb4

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2 minutes ago, sheilb4 said:

What a super informative review, Thank you! 

Am hoping Lezle will be there in October? Did he mention when he goes on vacation? He was my butler this past May and was indeed great, so hoping I get lucky and have him again. The Ninja I think was Anna? 

What suite # were you? 

Thanks again for refreshing my prior memories. Am counting the days until I’m back on her again.  🙂

 

Pretty sure he will be there in Oct.  We were in Cabin 16015, and have booked same cabin again for April.  Great location right across the hall from the YC bathrooms on Deck 16 which came in handy with 3 girls getting ready at the same time!

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37 minutes ago, rattanchair said:

Dear PS, You did not disappoint!!!  I read each line to DW and she said she just experienced a second week on board. Thank you.

And thanks to you, sir, for your postings while onboard!  I truly enjoy this cruise critic community!

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Thanks for the great review!  We are on Meraviglia in YC in February and I learned a lot of information from you. 

 

Tho we have been on 30+ cruises, this is our first time on MSC.  There seem to be several changes from what I originally read a few months ago, when we were booking, but do not think the changes will really be a concern.  Looking forward to the new experience.  You have been a big help!

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26 minutes ago, DiamondDiva said:

Thanks for the great review!  We are on Meraviglia in YC in February and I learned a lot of information from you. 

 

Tho we have been on 30+ cruises, this is our first time on MSC.  There seem to be several changes from what I originally read a few months ago, when we were booking, but do not think the changes will really be a concern.  Looking forward to the new experience.  You have been a big help!

Alas, the week of our Spring Break is the week the Meraviglia sails back to Europe. Was really hoping to sail on her!  The YC is a far better experience than the Haven on NCL.  The Haven is great, it's just the YC is a lot more individual customer focused, IMO, at about 1/2 the price.  What's not to love about that!

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Many thanks for the review, our first MSC/YC experience awaits us in Feb 2020!   We have been RCCL cruisers up to this point and are excited to switch things up a bit.  Again, thanks for the detailed info it's greatly appreciated😀  

 

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Just now, Amercury said:

Many thanks for the review, our first MSC/YC experience awaits us in Feb 2020!   We have been RCCL cruisers up to this point and are excited to switch things up a bit.  Again, thanks for the detailed info it's greatly appreciated😀  

 

Dear friend, get ready to be totally pampered in the YC.  Everything may not be perfect, but you will enjoy the luxury lifestyle experience!!

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59 minutes ago, psmarkle said:

Pretty sure he will be there in Oct.  We were in Cabin 16015, and have booked same cabin again for April.  Great location right across the hall from the YC bathrooms on Deck 16 which came in handy with 3 girls getting ready at the same time!

Oh that’s good. Fingers crossed, lol, and thanks for letting me know. If I’m lucky I will have him for both weeks of my B2B! Awesome. 

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B2B?  When I grow up, I wanna be just like you!  A few more years until I retire and become a cruise critic regular poster on my 3-4 cruises a year (maybe 5 if I can convince DW, perhaps?)! Excited for you!

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12 minutes ago, psmarkle said:

B2B?  When I grow up, I wanna be just like you!  A few more years until I retire and become a cruise critic regular poster on my 3-4 cruises a year (maybe 5 if I can convince DW, perhaps?)! Excited for you!

Haha... I worked many many long hours for this.. a special (big) birthday treat to myself. 

Very fortunate and excited. 

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We would disagree with the OP when it comes to Robert Mondavi Private Selection in the YC.  Those wines generally sell for around $10 - $12 (retail price) and are a very basic low cost product.  We would expect better in the YC and were surprised when we saw a similar wine on the Divina (Yacht Club).   In fact, on the Divina they once tried to pour some Mondavi Woodbridge wine until we made it clear we expected better options.  While we are not wine snobs, for the prices paid to be in the Yacht Club we simply expected better.

 

Hank

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