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WonderMan3

LIVE from 9/13 Bellissima and 9/21 Seaview - 7nt Med cruises - Yacht Club

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Hello everyone! My name is Adam and I will be sailing on the 9/13 departure of the Bellissima followed by the 9/21 departure of the Seaview. I have done several "LIVE FROM" threads before over on the Celebrity Cruises forum and figured I'd do one to chronicle my MSC adventures. This will be my first time sailing with MSC. I had been monitoring the cruise line for about a year and was intrigued by the look of their newer ships as well as how they set up their Yacht Club suites area when unexpectedly in August of 2018, my husband and I each got free cruise offers for MSC from one of our local casinos, Mohegan Sun. We picked up our vouchers in September with me earning a free balcony cabin and my husband earning a free oceanview cabin. The vouchers were good for any cruise up to 10 days covering most destinations that MSC visits. We were told when we picked up the vouchers that we could combine our vouchers into one cabin on one sailing and immediately get an upgrade to a standard suite. From there we could upgrade to Yacht Club for an additional cost. After reviewing MSC's itineraries at home I decided to have us book two separate cruises that were almost back-to-back. The cost to upgrade from our Oceanview Cabin to Yacht Club was $2400 total, and the cost to upgrade from our Balcony Cabin to Yacht Club was $1600 total. So it cost us a grand total of $4000 for 14 days in a Yacht Club suite. This was a great price seeing as these cabins were selling for a total of $9600 on MSC's website for the same dates. I chose the Bellissima and Seaview as I wanted to try some of MSC's newer ships and I wanted to do a European itinerary as I wasn't thrilled with the Caribbean itineraries on Seaside. Our sailings are out of Barcelona. I set up our itinerary to arrive one day prior to boarding Bellissima, then we have a one overnight in Barcelona between cruises, and then we finish off our trip after Seaview with a two night stay in the beachside city of Sitges, which is about 30 minutes south of Barcelona. So far we have booked a few items in advance like the unlimited internet package (in order to save 20%), a few spa massage appointments and the two Cirque du Soleil shows on Bellissima. We typically avoid cruise shows but we love Cirque so are looking forward to see how these shows are. We were also able to do a Status Match to our Celebrity Elite Plus status which gave us Black Card status on MSC.

 

So just a little bit about me. As I mentioned above, my name is Adam and my husband's name is Mike. We've been together for over 23 years and have been cruising together since 2003. We live in Provincetown, Massachusetts, which is a small resort town at the tip of Cape Cod. We have been loyalists to Celebrity Cruise line in recent years having done 10 cruises with them since 2013. We enjoy traveling in suites but the recent escalation in prices from Celebrity has put us off and we currently have no cruises booked with them for the first time in years. We are active casino players but even the discounts given by Celebrity's Blue Chip Club were not enough to make cruising with them reasonably affordable anymore. That's why these MSC cruises came at the perfect time. If we enjoy MSC enough we may find ourselves cruising with them regularly. Now I am going into these cruises with reasonable expectations set. I have read many reviews from fellow cruisers about MSC including those who have cruised both Celebrity and MSC. I know that both the food and butler services may not be up to the level that we are used to with Celebrity. But we are keeping an open mind and will judge based on our own personal experiences.

 

We are in the final stages of departure right now. I'm all packed but Mike is still working on his bags. We're lucky today in that we have a very late departure. Our flight doesn't leave from Boston Logan until 11:10pm and our airport shuttle doesn't pick us up until 6pm, so we have had all day to make our final arrangements. Our flight is with an airline called LEVEL. They are one of these newer low-cost European carriers offering a few Trans-Atlantic flights to select U.S. cities. I had never heard of them until booking. I chose them primarily because they were the only carrier offering non-stop service from Boston to Barcelona as I hate to make connections. We booked into their Premium Economy class which gives you more leg room and includes meal service and other amenities which all cost extra in standard economy. The ticket also supposedly gives you the ability to change seats for no charge but only within 24 hours of departure. When I went online yesterday to check the seats though there were no other options available other than seats in the middle three section like we were assigned. At least we got first row with a bulkhead though.

 

I'll do my best to keep this thread as LIVE and current as possible, but sometimes I have fallen a bit behind with other LIVE threads due to internet connectivity issues or just being very busy having fun. If you have questions about the ships I will also do my best to get answers for you. Hope you can follow along with us!

 

 

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Looking forward to your 'live from' posts and your thoughts and impressions of the YC experience on the two ships.

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I have come over from the X board... waiting for another great review!

Love the way you work out these great itins and travel plans.....

 

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You got a fantastic deal for 14 days in the YC.  I predict that you will be more than pleased with MSC Yacht Club.

 

Bon Voyage!

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Adam - as promised, here I am to follow along.  Very much looking forward to your LIVE review. Safe travels and have fun!

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Following from Celebrity. Is it weird that I’m just as excited for your embarkation day as I get for my own?  💁‍♀️

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So we are here at Logan Airport in Boston waiting for our flight. Our airport limo arrived right on time and then it was a quick and comfortable ride to Boston with no traffic. We arrived at the check-in gate for Level and found a huge line of passengers waiting. Luckily that was for the economy section. Premium class had no one waiting. We still had to wait a few minutes for them to open the counter as we had arrived a little more than 3 hours prior to departure. Check-in was quick and then it was off to security. Our ticket gave us access to the first class line but that line was just as long as the economy line. Still, we were through in less than 10 minutes. After security we decided to grab some dinner at Burger King. They include a meal on the flight but that would mean waiting to eat until after midnight. Eating at close to 9pm was already much later than we eat at home. Now we are just sitting and waiting to board our flight.

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We have arrived in Barcelona! Flight boarded, departed and arrived right on time. Our first experience with Level was pretty good. While they did it have separate lines for boarding Premium or Standard, they called Premium first so there was priority access. We were in the first row of their Premium Class which gave us bulkhead seats that had even more leg room than the other seats in Premium which was great. The seats were a bit larger and more comfortable than standard economy with a foot rest that was welcome but not easy to manage. There was a video screen at the seat that featured a variety of free movies and TV shows. You could control by touch or with a remote control attached to the seat. WiFi was included as well but unfortunately was not operating on this flight due to “upgrades to the system”, whatever that means. The food and beverage service was included with the fare unlike standard economy where you pay extra. Their beverage options were very limited though; only Coke, Diet Coke, OJ, Apple Juice, coffee, tea or water. They had limited alcohol selections but it wasn’t clear if they were complimentary or not. The dinner was average. We both had a chicken dish with mashed potatoes, potato salad, coffee cake, bread and a granola bar. The morning snack was just bread, yogurt and another granola bar. Flight attendants were all very pleasant. It was very bare bones though for a Premium Economy. We did Norwegian’s Premium Class last year and it was much better.

 

Arrival at Barcelona was a bit cumbersome as we had to deplane on the tarmac and take a shuttle bus to the terminal. It took about 20 minutes from plane stopping to getting to Customs. Customs had what looked like a long line but it only took 10 minutes to get through. When we got to baggage ours were already there so that meant no waiting. We grabbed a taxi outside. Here there was another very long line but it moved quickly. So overall not a terrible experience at Barcelona airport.

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Glad you made it safely.  I love Barcelona as an embarkation port...so much to see and do.  I hope you enjoy.

Just as an aside, I think it's strange that your meal consisted of both mashed potatoes and potato salad.  🤔

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Following along, I was also wondering about MSC, since Celebrity and Azamara are getting so expensive.

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Enjoy!  Looking forward to following along.  We are boarding the Seaview in Barcelona on 09/28, in the YC.

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I'm very excited for your review. We are also booked next year on their newest ship, the Grandiosa in a YC suite and will be boarding in Barcelona as well. We usually cruise Celebrity and RCCL in suites but their prices are becoming too expensive.

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2 hours ago, Georgia_Peaches said:

Glad you made it safely.  I love Barcelona as an embarkation port...so much to see and do.  I hope you enjoy.

Just as an aside, I think it's strange that your meal consisted of both mashed potatoes and potato salad.  🤔

 

Yes, I thought that was a bit odd too. 😄

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2 hours ago, WonderMan3 said:

 

Yes, I thought that was a bit odd too. 😄

 

Read your Celebrity Edge cruise review just before we went on the Edge and now will be reading the MSC review right before our MSC Meraviglia cruise - we will be in the Yacht Club too.  Your detailed reviews and pictures are absolutely one of a kind.  Thanks!

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Very interested in what you think on your first MSC cruise.  

We go in Feb 2020 on our first MSC cruise...

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6 hours ago, Georgia_Peaches said:

Glad you made it safely.  I love Barcelona as an embarkation port...so much to see and do.  I hope you enjoy.

Just as an aside, I think it's strange that your meal consisted of both mashed potatoes and potato salad.  🤔

Barcelona is so easy for cruising....despite the need to take a shuttle to the terminal, we breezed right through.."welcome to Barcelona"...

 

Primary rule in Barcelona..watch your wallets at ALL times!  Other than that...enjoy!

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We arrived at our hotel around 1:30 this afternoon. We are staying at the Pullman Skipper which is located near the Port Olimpic and the beaches. It cost us $32 plus tip for the taxi ride. The hotel is very modern but still has a warmth to it. Check-in was friendly and efficient. Our room wasn’t quite ready when we arrived but we only had about a 5 minute wait to get our keys. Our room is on the 4th floor overlooking an inner courtyard with a pool with some view of the sea. I had reserved a superior room in order to get a balcony. Mike appreciated this tremendously as they allow smoking on their balconies which means he doesn’t have to go downstairs every time he wants a cigarette. Size of the room is just right although it is showing some wear and tear like a big rip in the carpet at the center of the room. For 249 Euro I find the hotel a little overpriced, but it was honestly reasonable compared to the hotel rates I was seeing at many other Barcelona hotels.

 

After checking in we freshened up and then decided to head up to the roof top pool. The hotel has two pools. The rooftop pool is heated while the inner courtyard pool is not. The pool area is nice with views out to the Mediterranean. They had an array of loungers and couch-like seating. The pool was larger and deeper than we expected (up to 6 ft and long enough for people to do laps) and felt very refreshing after a long travel day. They have a bar that serves a limited food menu. Mike had a beer and I had a cocktail along with a grilled chicken sandwich. For those three things the cost was over 40 Euro which was a bit pricey especially since the food was mediocre. After eating and swimming we showered and dressed and headed out to check out the Barcelona Casino which was around the corner from the hotel. We played for a couple hours on the slots. Mike wound up winning a few hundred dollars but I wound up down. 

 

After the casino we made the short walk back to the hotel for dinner. We checked out the menu for the hotel’s restaurant Tendiez and found some things we liked. After we started out with some tropical cocktails, Mike ordered a beef dish that was similar to a short rib while I had an array of tapas including Iberico Ham, Patatas Braves, Lobster Croquettes and a Ham & Buratta Toast. Everything tasted great. The weather has been pleasant today (although a bit breezy here near the ocean) so we were able to dine outside. The restaurant had its own DJ playing some upbeat lounge music while we dined. We noticed the inner courtyard pool area was all lit up with a giant video screen at the bar. The hotel has a great vibe to it. Definitely trending towards hip contemporary but not so trendy that you feel uncomfortable. We are very happy with our hotel choice.

 

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Hello looking forward to your review. we have been n the yacht club twice and loved it.  Never crowded never chaotic very relaxing.  No saving chairs because there are more than needed.  The food at the pool bar in convenient and they have a nice breakfast too. I noticed that you gamble and have received discount from celebrity, in the past we have received a 30% discount on our next cruise after earning I think it was 1500 point in the slots.  I would not mis out on this, it makes the yacht club that much more enjoyable the next time.  They also give you on board credit on your next cruise and you do not need to book it while on the ship. Enjoy!

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