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WonderMan3

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

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2 hours ago, voyager1964 said:

Very informative review!

May I ask, why did not you use room service for early breakfast?

 

Thanks

 

The menu is limited on hot items. No eggs, bacon and hash browns which are all the things we like.

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Heads up for anyone on the Seaview sailing after mine. They have changed the port of Ajaccio, Corsica to the port of Toulon, France. It will apparently be a tender port.

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1 hour ago, WonderMan3 said:

Heads up for anyone on the Seaview sailing after mine. They have changed the port of Ajaccio, Corsica to the port of Toulon, France. It will apparently be a tender port.

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Last time we were there which was on Celebrity we were berthed at La Seyne-sur-Met albeit it was quite a bit outside Toulon and they used boat transfers from the pier to the city.

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This is probably the most honest and well balanced review I have read on here.

 

I don't want to derail the thread but I sailed on Bellissima in July (not in the YC)

 

I found the ship stunning but crowded at times, the buffet was probably the best I had encountered but the main dining room I thought was average.

 

the reason I would be reluctant to sail MSC again was the service, our air conditioning never worked the whole week, I spent hours at the reception desk and this was never fixed (despite me being told 4 or 5 times it had been)

 

there was also an incident involving my son at the kids club that was dealt with appallingly that left him very upset and my wife furious for the rest of the trip.

 

It seems like the default position on our cruise was the customer is never right and even if they are we will tell they're not.

 

I will qualify this by saying I am not American nor I am a fan on the overtop "service" that is sometimes expected by our friends across the pond.

 

It's a shame because I would have loved to have tried one of the seaside class ships.

 

 

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7 hours ago, WonderMan3 said:

Heads up for anyone on the Seaview sailing after mine. They have changed the port of Ajaccio, Corsica to the port of Toulon, France. It will apparently be a tender port.

 

That may only apply to your cruise and not to future ones.

 

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9 hours ago, WonderMan3 said:

Heads up for anyone on the Seaview sailing after mine. They have changed the port of Ajaccio, Corsica to the port of Toulon, France. It will apparently be a tender port.

So sad for the people affected. But MSC is still selling tomorrows Cannes departure with Ajaccio! That is very nasty. 

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3 hours ago, Beamafar said:

 

That may only apply to your cruise and not to future ones.

 

 

That is why I said “the Seaview sailing after mine” not “sailings after mine”. The letter I attached clearly shows the date for this change that is impacted.

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17 hours ago, WonderMan3 said:

Heads up for anyone on the Seaview sailing after mine. They have changed the port of Ajaccio, Corsica to the port of Toulon, France. It will apparently be a tender port.

 

Thanks for the heads up!  That's our cruise.  The MSC website is still not showing the change.  If you get any info about the new options for Toulouse, please post them.  [Corsica was one of the two ports that caused us to book this cruise.  If they cancel La Spezia, we should just stay in Barcelona for another week!]

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12 hours ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

Corsica was one of the two ports that caused us to book this cruise.  If they cancel La Spezia, we should just stay in Barcelona for another week!]

Sounds just like "If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else" YB.

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13 hours ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

[Corsica was one of the two ports that caused us to book this cruise.  If they cancel La Spezia, we should just stay in Barcelona for another week!]

Exactly the same here. I am planning not to leave the boat in Genua, Civi, Barcelona and Palma. But the family cancelled already my Palma seaday plan.

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1 hour ago, perakcruiser said:

Exactly the same here. I am planning not to leave the boat in Genua, Civi, Barcelona and Palma. But the family cancelled already my Palma seaday plan.

I can only dream of the day when ports of call in the Med become so been there done that, that I don't want to leave the ship.  Much like the Caribbean is for me on this side of the world...sigh 😉

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So I finally have some time to continue with my updates from Seaview. Picking up on Monday morning...

 

After breakfast we went back to our cabin to collect our things for the day. We went down to the concierge desk to find out where the disembarkation was for Genoa today. We figured we didn’t need a butler escort and just found our way to the gangway on Deck 6. Unlike the previous week in Genoa on Bellissima, we had to exit with the disembarking passengers and take a zig zagging route the cruise terminal past baggage claim. The week prior we had exited separately from the disembarkers right into the pier and then a quick duck in to the terminal past baggage claim. We thought perhaps that is the route you go with a butler escort. As we were arriving near the terminal exit we were met by our driver guide Cristian. I had reserved through a company called Lunaetours. They had set up our tour of Genoa last week too as well as our tour in La Spezia for the next day. It was more convenient to use just one company for three tours. Unlike our tour guide Paola from last week, Cristian was just a driver guide. This meant he could not guide us around the towns we would be visiting, but he was free to give us as much information as he wanted while driving us around. We’ve had some great driver guides in the past.

 

Our itinerary for this day was to visit three of the less touristy towns along the Italian Riviera, Sestri Levante, Chiavari and Camogli. We had done Portofino and Santa Margherita on prior cruises so I wanted to choose something new for us. The original order for the visit was as I listed but since there was rain in the area I asked Cristian if we could reorder the visits and start with Chiavari since that was the one I had the least interest in. By putting it first I hoped that would give time for the rain to move on. What’s great about private car bookings like this is you can change your itinerary at will. We made our way out of Genoa and we had a little discussion with Cristian about the recent bridge collapse in the city. After that though he stopped talking and barely said a word until we got closer to Chiavari (it was about a 40 minute drive from Genoa) which we found odd. Normally driver guides tell you about the local area and culture while you drive or at least ask you where you’re from, get to know you, etc. Cristian did none of that. When we got to Chiavari the rain had stopped. Cristian got out and walked us a couple blocks to the main city square. He pointed a couple buildings out and then told us the streets to check out nearby and where to find him at the end of our time. We had about an hour to walk around.

 

Chiavari is not really a tourist town so we got to see more of the local life happening. There was a market going on in the main square while we were there. The town is known for its series of porticos under which you can find lots of shops and cafes. You can stroll along protected from the elements. We wandered from the main square down some side streets. We popped into a bakery to buy some focaccia and farinata (a local specialty that is an unleavened bread made from chickpea flour) and then made our way out to the marina. The town was nice but nothing special. Most of the shops except for food shops were closed because it was Monday so there wasn’t much to do but wander and take photos. We met Cristian back at the vehicle and drove on to the next town.

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It took us only about 15 minutes to drive from Chiavari to Sestri Levante. This town is popular for its beaches and is unique in that it is on a peninsula so that it has bays on two sides. On one side are the popular tourist beaches facing Baia delle Favole and on the other side is the bay of the fishermen, the Baia del Silenzio, which is a popular photography spot. We did a stroll through town but about halfway through it started to rain pretty steadily so we took shelter at a trattoria and had some drinks while we waited for the rain to pass. We spent about 90 minutes here. It was a very pretty town. Would’ve loved to have seen it in the sun but still managed to get some nice shots despite the clouds and rain.

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Great photos of the greatest country on Earth! 😊 You're a very talented photographer. Very much enjoying your detailed travel log. We haven't been to Sestri Levante but it looks wonderful, even in the rain. 

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11 hours ago, rattanchair said:

Sounds just like "If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else" YB.

 

More like "When you come to a fork in the road, take it..."  We'll go with the flow.  I hope MSC offers an excursion from Toulon to Aix-en-Provence -- then all will be right with the world.

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Continuing with Monday’s adventures...

 

After leaving Sestri Levante we drove on to the town of Camogli which is on the opposite side of the promontory from Portofino. This was about a 40 minute drive. During this time again Cristian was virtually silent, giving us no information about any of the area around us. As we arrived to Camogli he gave a quick explanation about how the town is laid out and where to meet him when we were done. He also gave a recommendation for a restaurant called Rotonda, which was on the beach. Walking into town we took a turn and found ourselves on the beach. I wanted to take photos so we kept walking until we were forced to cross through a beach bar in order to continue further down the beach to the center of town. Turns out this beach bar was Rotonda. They were empty so we decided to stay and have lunch. We got a table with a beautiful view of Camogli. Just as we arrived at the restaurant all the gray clouds from the morning moved on and the sun came bursting out to make for a beautiful remainder to the afternoon. Our lunch was average; Mike had a roast beef dish which he didn’t really like as it was served cold, and I had focaccia with cheese and pesto which was not as flavorful as others I had in the area. It was basically a tourist place not a place for outstanding food. After lunch we continued to explore the town. Along the way we bought a painting at a store selling work by local artists. We had about 2.5 hours in Camogli. I wished we had more time there. This was definitely my favorite town we visited this day. 

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WonderMan3,

Your pictures are amazing! You have en expert eye for capturing the perfect angle! Thanks for taking the time to share with all of us.

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After leaving Camogli we made one final stop on our way back to the ship. I asked Cristian if we could visit Boccadasse, which is an old fishing neighborhood of Genoa. I had wanted to visit there last week during our day touring Genoa but I wasn’t feeling well so we skipped it. This was an easy add to this day as it is located on the outskirts of Genoa and we could easily stop there when going back to the ship. The neighborhood buts up against the sea with a series of colorful buildings. We only had about 20 minutes here which was enough to do a quick stroll (it’s a small area) and grab a gelato. Then we headed back to the ship. Overall, we had a great day but were a bit disappointed in the services of Cristian. He was nice but too sedate for a driver guide. He just didn’t measure up to the guides we’ve had before. Unfortunately we were stuck with him for our tour in La Spezia the next day as well as he was pre-assigned by the tour operator.

 

The final photo below is of Boccadasse taken from the ship as we cruised away from Genoa. 

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Edited by WonderMan3

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Once back on the ship around 4pm, we headed for our cabin to relax for a few hours. We enjoyed the sailaway from Genoa and then got ready for dinner at 7pm. We made reservations for Butcher’s Cut for this evening. We had enjoyed our meals there on Bellissima and this proved to be just as good or better. We got a nice table by the window so we could see the views sailing away from Genoa. Our server was Roman who was very friendly and efficient. My only potential issue with him was at one point Roman’s assistant had delivered some butter to the table and I asked the man what kind of butter it was as there were two. As he started to respond to me, Roman suddenly appeared, cut him off and answered the question. The poor assistant sunk his head and quickly moved away. This is a trend we have noticed on these cruises where the server assistants are treated harshly by the servers (I mentioned interactions at Teppanyaki in an earlier post, and we saw a tense dynamic with this a couple times on Bellissima). There was also the standard confusion over ordering cocktails that we run into basically every night. It took a couple explanations to Roman to ask him to check with his bartender (the specialty restaurants all share the same bar) about making a mudslide as he would remember making it for us two nights before. The food was mostly excellent. We used this for our Black Card meal so we had to select from the dining experience. Mike got the tomato soup, which he loved. I got the Caesar salad, which was not as good as the Bellissima version; it looked like the croutons had been slightly burned and the salad had a smoky flavor which I didn’t like that. We both had the filet mignon for the entree which were both excellent, as was the mashed potato side dish. And to finish I had the peanut butter and chocolate chip cookie which was prepared perfectly, warm and gooey with ice cream on top (the Bellissima version was not good), while Mike just had some sorbet. (You can see the menu posted further up the thread from our first visit.) It was another great meal.

 

After dinner we finished off the night per usual with a visit at the casino. We met the casino host that night who said that since we both were on track with our casino points to earn some sort of discount that we should sign the paperwork for that now to save time later. 

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Edited by WonderMan3

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Great photos and descriptions. You're spoiling us! 😀 I wonder what the deal was with your driver Cristian. Was he Italian? I visit Italy often and the one thing I can say is that they're not taciturn, and I say that as someone who is very garrulous himself. Glad you are having good time and enjoying the food. 

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30 minutes ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

Any update on shore excursion offerings for the new stop in Toulon on Sunday?

 

No. Nothing else has been left in our cabin. I suppose they wouldn't anyway since we debark in Barcelona. I looked in the shore excursion section on the TV in the cabin but it is set to only show you excursions specific to your cruise.

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