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WonderMan3

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

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13 minutes ago, cinnamon said:

I wasn’t referring to where the ship’s are registered, just where the offices and company are based.

The office that handles the worldwide cruise business is in Naples, Italy. 

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1 hour ago, perakcruiser said:

Of cause, as a Vegetarian it would be crazy to pay the extra charge for Celebrity as the top reason to book them is the higher quality of dead animals :classic_cool:

 

 

 

I'd be willing to pay a little more and get better dead animals 😉

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2 hours ago, CruisingFox27 said:

We've never had excuses made because it been excellent, the current review I'm following is from an American traveller and it's certainly exceeding their expectations. It's personal and your nationality doesn't always mean you'll love or hate something. Many reviews from US passengers sailing have been very positive.

 

It didn't meet the expectations of the OP and their review is appreciated.

Do you mind posting a link to the review you are following?

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10 hours ago, Europeantraveler1 said:

Thank you for your detailed account of your cruise on MSC.  Our 50th wedding anniversary will be next year so we’ve booked a short, seven-day Mediterranean cruise on the new Grandiosa for next June with our family of seven-all in the YC!

 I was a bit more excited about this very special celebration prior to reading your reviews concerning, especially, the quality of food in the YC restaurant/deck.  I have read so many favorable reviews of those who had cruised on MSC ships in the YC section and who had been impressed by the service; ambiance; and food!  I remember one particular passenger that raved about the unending supply of lobster that was being served at poolside! 

It seems to be that the emergence of the YC was, at the onset, the 

creme de la creme!  And as word spread, more and more people booked into YC for this fabulous, very affordable luxury cruising. Unfortunately, it seems that the luster and once unbelievable luxury of the YC is beginning to fade (?).   :0(

 

I hope you manage to achieve your original level of excitement for your upcoming 50th anniversary cruise!  Like you, I have followed this thread from the beginning and appreciate the perspective and perceptions of the OP.  But, that's all they are...perspectives and perceptions, which must be taken with a grain of salt.  And I mean no offense to the OP.  But everything about vacation is subjective to the individual.  Wonderman reported on many things that would not bother me in the least, and other things that I would find irksome as well (like no chair cushions).  But nothing is his review will deter me from embarking with my DM in late February to give it a try for myself.  I think even Wonderman may be of the opinion that despite his experience, he's not opposed to cruising MSC again with his free cruise certificate.  

Anyways, that's just my take on it.  There's lots of reviews out there...take them all with a grain of salt.  And congratulations of 50 years!!

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I too have been following the OP’s review and thank him for taking the time to share. We too are booked on MSC next spring on the Grandiosa. I plan to keep an open mind and board the ship with excitement. It will be interesting to compare the YC to Celebrity’s suite perks and NCL’s Haven which we will be trying today when we board the Bliss. Of course I will also keep in mind the price that we paid for each cruise with MSC coming in much less than the other two.

 

There were two areas of concern on this review that would make me unhappy. No cushions on the chairs. The crews excuse was ridiculous and finding out that the previous sailing had the same issue shows that there is an issue. Also watching managers berate cruise staff. I don’t like seeing guests mistreat or talk down to crew and the same with managers and to do it in clear view of guests makes it even worse. I see this as an internal cultural problem with on board training.

 

I loved Adams photos. Beautiful. Thanks again for sharing.

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3 hours ago, perakcruiser said:

Of cause, as a Vegetarian it would be crazy to pay the extra charge for Celebrity as the top reason to book them is the higher quality of dead animals :classic_cool:

 

 

I'm not a vegetarian, but I don't eat red meat.  I've taken 4 cruises on X and 1 on NCL.  I've eaten in Blu on X and I don't think their dead animals (I'm speaking of chicken mostly) are high quality.  Organic, free range would be high quality.  These were neither. 

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30 minutes ago, Georgia_Peaches said:

I hope you manage to achieve your original level of excitement for your upcoming 50th anniversary cruise!  Like you, I have followed this thread from the beginning and appreciate the perspective and perceptions of the OP.  But, that's all they are...perspectives and perceptions, which must be taken with a grain of salt.  And I mean no offense to the OP.  But everything about vacation is subjective to the individual.  Wonderman reported on many things that would not bother me in the least, and other things that I would find irksome as well (like no chair cushions).  But nothing is his review will deter me from embarking with my DM in late February to give it a try for myself.  I think even Wonderman may be of the opinion that despite his experience, he's not opposed to cruising MSC again with his free cruise certificate.  

Anyways, that's just my take on it.  There's lots of reviews out there...take them all with a grain of salt.  And congratulations of 50 years!!

 

LOL, if you take them “with a grain of salt” then why bother reading any reviews in the first place?

 

Just reading over the last array of comments it’s clear that a few people are big fans of MSC and no matter what someone else says that’s not going to change their mind. And that’s fine. My goal was not to change anyone’s mind but rather to present an honest and detailed view of my own experiences. Some people just have lower expectations and can overlook poor food quality and service and that’s fine, each to their own. I will just say here that this continual line of dialogue that keeps coming up about European vs. American service expectations is a bit of hogwash. Things that I raised as service issues like our surly butler, lack of cushions in the higher-cost suite area, no buns for hot dogs or hamburgers at the YC Grill, poor quality food at times in the YC dining room, the rushed feeling at spa appointments, the ridiculously loud music blaring into the specialty restaurants  at times from the atrium, etc. have nothing to do with American vs. European expectations. I have traveled all over Europe by land and not encountered service issues like these and never in a luxury service establishment like an upscale hotel. I also live in the United States and have had plenty of poor service experiences here. Things like the difficulty with getting a cocktail or language issues could perhaps be attributed to it being a European based cruise line since culturally Europeans don’t drink cocktails as much, with the great variety that we do or with dinner usually. And the sometimes English speaking issues could be due to having a predominant Italian clientele so the staff might be less focused on English. Although I have to say here that many of the staff also struggled with Italian too and some actually were relieved - at least two said this to us - to speak English as they were more comfortable. And it seems odd to not emphasize English when you have plenty of Germans, French, Spanish and Brits onboard too, most of whom don’t speak Italian. Overall though, good service is just plain good service, and you know it when you see it, and I don’t care what part of the world you’re from, when you plunk down a chunk of cash for what is described as a high-end service experience you expect to get that. I have certainly had complaints about my travels on Celebrity (you can read my multiple blogs over on that board) but the service issues there were generally one-offs, isolated to a particular staff member, a particular meal or venue on a particular ship. Having done two cruises with MSC almost back to back I can see some things that may be ship specific or staff member specific but I also noticed some things that may be a trend for the company as a whole. 

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18 minutes ago, calicakes said:

I'm not a vegetarian, but I don't eat red meat.  I've taken 4 cruises on X and 1 on NCL.  I've eaten in Blu on X and I don't think their dead animals (I'm speaking of chicken mostly) are high quality.  Organic, free range would be high quality.  These were neither. 

 

I’ve eaten at plenty of top end restaurants on land and in multiple suite and specialty restaurants on multiple cruise lines and while I can say I have had some really good food experiences on board ships, nothing I’ve had on a ship will compare with the high quality experiences I’ve had at land-based restaurants. When I rate ship food, I only compare to other ship experiences.

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Posted (edited)

The audience for a review is typically a) those considering MSC and b) Those already booked.

 

This is an extremely well balanced review for those considering MSC. The information provided should give you a slew of variables to weigh against  other cruise line choices. No cruise line is perfect, and MSC does fall short in areas which may be important to you.

 

For those of you already booked; a well balanced review like this can often bring anxiety (as we have seen in some responses). After all, it's too late to change. More often than not, I find that the closer to sailing date a member is, the more vehemently they defend a cruise line (any cruise line, not just MSC). It's human nature to want to make sure you have made the best choice.

 

MSC is a budget (value driven) cruise line. There would be far less disappointed people if we all remember that and don't try to paint MSC as something it's not. You don't get campaign on a beer budget. MSC has to cut corners in some areas. Basic economics. 

 

I'm not a MSC hater. I am in the final decision making process of booking 6 cabins for this spring. However; I am making sure that everyone who has yet to sail MSC knows what to expect. I expect that the service, food quality, and overall procedures will be less than Celebrity (the line we chose to sail last year). But when weighing the pros and cons, our group can sail MSC for about 70% less than Celebrity. Since many of us take several vacations a year, it's easy to overlook quality issues. After all, it's really not fair to hold MSC to the same standards as a cruise line charging double.

 

To Wonderman3: Thanks for a terrific review! Your efforts to paint a full picture of the experience are much appreciated :).

 

 

 

 

Edited by BermudaBound2014

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6 minutes ago, WonderMan3 said:

 

LOL, if you take them “with a grain of salt” then why bother reading any reviews in the first place?

 

 

From my perspective, the mark of an useful review is if the logic behind the complaint is also discussed.  As an example someone can say they didn't like the service from there butler but issue is much better understood if the reviewer also provides the reason.  This is an area the Wonderman's review has been exceptionally useful, he has provided a lot of background info so the rest of us can decide if we would also have a similar complaint.

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12 hours ago, Europeantraveler1 said:

Thank you for your detailed account of your cruise on MSC.  Our 50th wedding anniversary will be next year so we’ve booked a short, seven-day Mediterranean cruise on the new Grandiosa for next June with our family of seven-all in the YC!

 I was a bit more excited about this very special celebration prior to reading your reviews concerning, especially, the quality of food in the YC restaurant/deck.  I have read so many favorable reviews of those who had cruised on MSC ships in the YC section and who had been impressed by the service; ambiance; and food!  I remember one particular passenger that raved about the unending supply of lobster that was being served at poolside! 

It seems to be that the emergence of the YC was, at the onset, the 

creme de la creme!  And as word spread, more and more people booked into YC for this fabulous, very affordable luxury cruising. Unfortunately, it seems that the luster and once unbelievable luxury of the YC is beginning to fade (?).   :0(

 

 

I have been following this board for over a year now and have been watching longtime MSC travelers complain about things being removed that were included before, service declining in some areas, prices going up, etc. So if the Yacht Club experience has degraded from what it was a few years ago I wouldn’t be surprised. (There were definitely no unending supply of lobsters poolside on either of my cruises!) MSC is in a massive growth stage right now, and they are going to look to make cutbacks and nickle and dime wherever they can. Part of that is just an industry trend as other cruise lines like Celebrity and NCL have been doing the same. I have to give MSC credit though for designing the best ship within a ship suite concept that I have seen so far. If they can just up the food quality, provide a consistent and slightly higher level of service and expand amenities just a bit (like the responsibilities of the butler), they would have an amazing product. All the potential is there. I would be willing to pay a bit more for that too.

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Well, we’re all set to go on the Grandiosa and we are all excited to experience MSC!  I think I’ll make myself a little notebook with common, Italian phrases in it so I have an easier time communicating with our Italian crew members.

However, depending on our experience, this may be a “one-time” attempt at MSC.  My husband and I (both retired) cruise at least once a year, but the cost for seven people in the YC, as opposed to any other line, made it possible for us to pay for/ plan for this.  We knew Grandiosa was set to sail this November so we thought a new ship would be awesome!  I also got word that the individual assigned as captain is exceptional!  I believe his name is Captain Massa (or something like that) and since that info was posted,  there have been only glowing and positive responses on CC.  

We have sailed on Princess; HAL; and Oceania.  If I could afford to,...I’d sail on Oceania (Riviera or Marina) every time!  There is literally nothing I can find that is a negative with Oceania.  The Marina will be refurbished next year and when we sailed on the Riviera (sister ship and same size as the Marina) in January of 2018,  we did so not for the itinerary (Caribbean) but for the ship.  And it was fabulous!  We stayed in a room with concierge perks; the cabin/bathroom were great; the “dine at any specialty restaurants w/o extra cost” was wonderful and the food....was EXCEPTIONAL; the staff always cheerful and wanting to please...I could go on and on.

The only downside to the cruise...my husband’s kidney stone decided to make its way through his system and he was indisposed for the last two days of the cruise (sea days).  It was horrible and once back on land, we got home as quickly as possible and he had to have surgery.  UGH!

Our cruise plans for 2021 are to sail to Northern Europe,....and I very much wanted to see the fjords (the significant ones) near Bergen.  Cost-wise, HAL’s Nieuw Statendam offers a 21-day cruise from Amsterdam up that way and then back down to include Oslo; Helsinki; Copenhagen; St. Petersburg; etc..etc..for a much more affordable fare than Oceania.  You get what you pay for but we just can’t afford the $20,000+ it would cost on the Marina for a somewhat similar itinerary.  I’m still trying to figure out the logistics...maybe we can stay in an interior cabin???  ;0)

Thank you, Georgia-Peaches and all those wishing us well on our 50th anniversary!  As we get older, I’m starting to think, “How much longer will I be able to cruise ANYWHERE?  We are seniors - I’m in my late 60’s and my husband early 70’s - and for the most part, in good health.  But, I don’t know how many more sailing years we have left, so there’s somewhat a desperation in our planning.....I’m trying to squeeze everything to do with traveling into the years we have left.  So there’s more of an urgency NOT to make any mistakes of choosing the right product for us.  Not everyone will relate to what I just said but they will most certainly come to that point in their lives when they might begin to understand our thinking.....

In the meantime,.....Happy Sailing to you all on whichever cruise line you choose!  We appreciate those who take the time and make the effort to post their detailed experiences and pictures!!  It’s been so helpful!!!  

 

 

 

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Congratulations on your 50th anniversary! You should be well taken care of on the Grandiosa. Capt. Massa is extremely personable! If you happen to encounter Onil Jay Pedernal in the YC you will absolutely love him! He will either be a butler or assistant butler as he was just recently promoted and also a brand new father. He is an amazing young man! Enjoy your cruise!

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2 hours ago, WonderMan3 said:

LOL, if you take them “with a grain of salt” then why bother reading any reviews in the first place?

Fair question.  Taking a review with a grain of salt does not preclude me from enjoying the review, and in this case, the pictures.  Both were awesome!  I just won't decide yay or nay about something until I've tried it myself.  And that was my point to the poster who is celebrating 50 years.

 

I also agree with your commentary on the expectation of good service and food  not being made to sound as if it is an "American" thing...because it's not.  

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1 hour ago, Europeantraveler1 said:

Well, we’re all set to go on the Grandiosa and we are all excited to experience MSC!  I think I’ll make myself a little notebook with common, Italian phrases in it so I have an easier time communicating with our Italian crew members.

 

 

Just to clarify, when I reference some staff having English communication issues, they were not Italians. I encountered two Italian crew members that I can recall. Everyone else was from India, Kenya, Brazil, Madagascar (lots of staff from there), etc. My understanding though is that they are given a crash course in both Italian and English, unlike an American cruise line where they only have to learn English. Having to learn two languages that are not their native tongue and the fact that they may be communicating in Italian more than English due to the make up of the clientele is likely why they are not as proficient in English. It’s the passengers that are Italian in large numbers, not the crew. If you speak English then speak English to the crew unless you happen to speak Spanish, French, etc. and that is a language the staff member is fluent in. You trying to fumble through Italian to a non-Italian crew member who is not fluent either would just be a comedy of errors.

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30 minutes ago, Georgia_Peaches said:

Fair question.  Taking a review with a grain of salt does not preclude me from enjoying the review, and in this case, the pictures.  Both were awesome!  I just won't decide yay or nay about something until I've tried it myself.  And that was my point to the poster who is celebrating 50 years.

 

I also agree with your commentary on the expectation of good service and food  not being made to sound as if it is an "American" thing...because it's not.  

I agree completely.  Two people can have the exact same experience and come away with totally opposite opinions - hence the need to take any single reviewer's opinions with a "grain of salt".  Readers with a similar cruising background, expectations, values, etc.  will find WonderMan3's opinions more relevant than others.  Certainly people coming from Crystal, Celebrity suites, or Carnival would have different opinions of the same Yacht Club experience.  WonderMan3 wrote a very good review in that it provided information and opinions in a well written and interesting style.  His pictures are great.  

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Europeantraveler1 said:

I’d sail on Oceania (Riviera or Marina) every time!

Dear ET1,  Your commentary  is poignant and touching, especially since it mirrors our situation. Funny thing, I have a Oceania brochure and am checking out dates now because of your exclamation! Thank you for posting.

 P.S. No 'grain of salt' here, doctor's orders.

Edited by rattanchair
P.S.

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49 minutes ago, WonderMan3 said:

My understanding though is that they are given a crash course in both Italian and English, unlike an American cruise line where they only have to learn English. Having to learn two languages that are not their native tongue and the fact that they may be communicating in Italian more than English due to the make up of the clientele is likely why they are not as proficient in English.

They also have to learn basic German! 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Europeantraveler1 said:

Well, we’re all set to go on the Grandiosa and we are all excited to experience MSC!  I think I’ll make myself a little notebook with common, Italian phrases in it so I have an easier time communicating with our Italian crew members.

 

I am sure you will have a great time on the Grandiosa but there is a quite good chance that you will not meet one Italian crew member. Yes there are some Italians in higher positions in the MDR, but the only deal with you if there is a wine problem. The vast majority of the staff comes from Indonesia and the Philippines. The usually are able to communicate in Italian and German, but they surely prefer English.

Edited by perakcruiser

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7 hours ago, WonderMan3 said:

 

I have been following this board for over a year now and have been watching longtime MSC travelers complain about things being removed that were included before, service declining in some areas, prices going up, etc. So if the Yacht Club experience has degraded from what it was a few years ago I wouldn’t be surprised. (There were definitely no unending supply of lobsters poolside on either of my cruises!) MSC is in a massive growth stage right now, and they are going to look to make cutbacks and nickle and dime wherever they can. Part of that is just an industry trend as other cruise lines like Celebrity and NCL have been doing the same. I have to give MSC credit though for designing the best ship within a ship suite concept that I have seen so far. If they can just up the food quality, provide a consistent and slightly higher level of service and expand amenities just a bit (like the responsibilities of the butler), they would have an amazing product. All the potential is there. I would be willing to pay a bit more for that too.

 

I agree that MSC really gets the ship within a ship suite concept.  Celebrity is trying, but they're not there yet.  Celebrity's food quality is way better than MSC, although MSC's risotto is sublime.  Celebrity's prices lately, however are insane.  $776/night for a sky suite on a cruise thats allegedly on sale?  Not happening.

 

About to take my second MSC cruise in the Seaside Yacht Club.  We booked this when they first entered the US market.  They offered no single supplements, so a bunch of women are going.  We each have our own suites for a 7-night cruise for under $2,000/pp.  Internet adds $79 to the cost.  Drinks are included, so no need for a drink package.  Works for me!

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Such a great thread. We loved the Meraviglia Yacht Club Med cruise out of Genoa two years ago. And immediately booked Bellissima for same itinerary.  We fly to Marseille on Oct 17th for the oct 19th cruise. I bid on an upgrade to a balcony but no word yet. Then after—a week in Paris and then a week in Vienna. 

 

Thanks for the great review and thoughtful commentaries!  

 

And ET1, we are you, tho only married 8 years. I am 66, DH is 71. And we both have been diagnosed with cancer (he is Stage 4, I am 2B). Last year, I got the diagnosis on the deck of the Queen Victoria. So had to delay surgery for 21 days! (Can’t miss a cruise).

 

So cruising and living our lives and blowing our retirement accounts. We have 4 cruises booked through 2021!  And contemplating a world cruise. (I maintain my DH can’t die if we have a cruise booked). So many countries to visit.  So many books to read. So many martinis to sample. So many trivia contests to win. 

 

Live your life. Live your life. 

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Posted (edited)
55 minutes ago, Happy Cruiser 6143 said:

 

 

About to take my second MSC cruise in the Seaside Yacht Club.  We booked this when they first entered the US market.  They offered no single supplements, so a bunch of women are going.  We each have our own suites for a 7-night cruise for under $2,000/pp.  Internet adds $79 to the cost.  Drinks are included, so no need for a drink package.  Works for me!

 

Wow what a great deal! I have been wanting to do a solo cruise but haven't found this kind of a deal.

 

 

muggo11

 

That was very touching. Been dealing with cancer in family too much. 

 

Much love to you two and all the happiness this world has to offer.

Edited by wmwmarmstrong
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12 minutes ago, muggo11 said:

And ET1, we are you, tho only married 8 years. I am 66, DH is 71. And we both have been diagnosed with cancer (he is Stage 4, I am 2B). Last year, I got the diagnosis on the deck of the Queen Victoria. So had to delay surgery for 21 days! (Can’t miss a cruise).

 

So cruising and living our lives and blowing our retirement accounts. We have 4 cruises booked through 2021!  And contemplating a world cruise. (I maintain my DH can’t die if we have a cruise booked). So many countries to visit.  So many books to read. So many martinis to sample. So many trivia contests to win. 

 

Live your life. Live your life. 

Dear M11, your post has me crying. Godspeed!!

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2 hours ago, wmwmarmstrong said:

 

Wow what a great deal! I have been wanting to do a solo cruise but haven't found this kind of a deal.

 

 

Deals like that are extremely rare.  Don't wait for them, just jump in.  Solo cruising is fun.

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3 hours ago, muggo11 said:

 

And ET1, we are you, tho only married 8 years. I am 66, DH is 71. And we both have been diagnosed with cancer (he is Stage 4, I am 2B). Last year, I got the diagnosis on the deck of the Queen Victoria. So had to delay surgery for 21 days! (Can’t miss a cruise).

 

So cruising and living our lives and blowing our retirement accounts. We have 4 cruises booked through 2021!  And contemplating a world cruise. (I maintain my DH can’t die if we have a cruise booked). So many countries to visit.  So many books to read. So many martinis to sample. So many trivia contests to win. 

 

Live your life. Live your life. 

 

Love your attitude!  Happy cruising and life to you both.

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