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WonderMan3

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

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I released your earlier post.  I think it got stuck because you added SO many pictures.  Please everybody else: DO NOT quote this post in its entirety!!!

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4 minutes ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

I released your earlier post.  I think it got stuck because you added SO many pictures.  Please everybody else: DO NOT quote this post in its entirety!!!

 

Thanks! Sorry. Will break up into smaller posts if that happens again.

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For Wednesday’s dinner we made a reservation at Hola Tapas. We weren’t sure what to expect. They were having a special that night for the dining experience reduced to 21 Euro. But our server told us you would have to pay tax on it so it would be pretty much the same price (what was the point then I was thinking?). We didn’t like the limited selection from the dining experience anyway so we just ordered a la carte. For drinks the server offered us sangria. According to the menu though the sangria was priced higher than our Yacht Club package limit. He said it would be covered though and it was. So we continue to be confused about what drinks are or are not covered by the YC drink package. 

 

For our dinner choices we started with the Iberico Ham and a cheese platter, which were both great. Then for the tapas, Mike tried the ham croquette, the El Serranto (which looked like an egg mcmuffin)and the Spanish Omelette. He wasn’t thrilled with the croquette as he didn’t realize it would be so creamy inside. But he thought the other two items were great. I chose the ham croquette also along with Patatas Bravas, the cod and potato croquettes and the Pincho de Tortilla (which was like a slice of Spanish omelette in a sandwich with crunchy potato sprinkled on top). I liked all except for maybe the cod croquettes; I didn’t need as many as they served. I was so full I couldn’t even finish everything. We skipped dessert.

 

While the food was enjoyable the service was odd. The place was near empty when we got there so our server was giving us total attention, and by total attention I mean he was literally visiting our table every one minute. He kept checking in “is everything okay”. The first three times it was appreciated but after like the 8th time it got really annoying. When he wasn’t at our table we would notice him watching us from across the room; we felt claustrophobic. I know his intentions were good but he was just trying way too hard. The worst moment of the meal was right when we had just finished eating; an intensely loud combination of music and yelling started emanating from the atrium. Apparently they were doing some sort of show that involved the ceiling video screen and ship entertainers. When I tell you it was insanely loud, Mike and I literally had to shout at each other or to the server to hear each other. All the patrons in the restaurant were looking around confused as to what was happening. I’m not sure why the staff didn’t close the door to keep out the noise but we wanted out of there as soon as possible. We rushed the server over to issue the check and we exited into a crowd of people in the atrium that we had to almost push through to get out of there; the performance with dancers was talking place directly outside the restaurant. Not a great way to end an otherwise solid meal.

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6 hours ago, SirWolf said:

The Carousel Lounge on MSC Meraviglia has a dedicated YC line with no or little waiting time. The “priority” access includes quicker check of tickets , pick a cocktail and being escorted to the seats. Our YC butler offered to escort us from the YC lounge to the Cirque Du Soleil theatre lounge for the second show. That was even quicker since he used one of the priority elevators.

Thanks for taking the time and writing this review. Unfortunately we had similar (negative) experience with food and service on our Baltic Sea cruise on Meraviglia earlier this month.

The photos in your review are stunning.

 

The first show we went to I did see a sign for that on one side but they were letting anyone go in either line just to speed things along. And yes, we were offered the escort from YC, but it didn’t make sense for us to go all the way from the casino back to YC to be escorted back to the theatre which is next to the casino.

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After Wednesday’s dinner we did some play in the casino but weren’t having much luck. Back in the cabin after that we found a couple invitations from Voyagers Club as well as our chocolate ship gifts. These are very well

intended but not practical. Mike tried eating his yesterday not realizing it was solid chocolate not hollow. He got about 10% through it and gave up. I’m just going to leave mine in the cabin as I can’t be worrying about it getting crushed in my bags during transit and I don’t like solid chunks of chocolate anyways.

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5 hours ago, WonderMan3 said:

And here is disembarkation information.

 

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The luggage tags for disembarkation are the “saddest” thing on a cruise... 😢

 

GREAT review. Thank you.

Looking forward to your final thoughts.

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Our final day on Bellissima on Thursday was a sea day, so that was an opportunity for us to sleep in. Mike had caught the sinus cold I had earlier in the trip so he needed some extra sleep. We weren’t planning on it but we wound up sleeping until 10am. The bed has been very comfortable which makes it easy to not want to get out of it. By the time we were dressed and showered we had missed breakfast at the Yacht Club. Mike needed coffee right away so we walked to the buffet as that is the only place on the ship where he found brewed coffee closest to American-style. I didn’t realize he was making this hike every morning but there were no coffee options in the Yacht Club that he liked. On our way to the buffet we had to walk past the pool. Even though it had been overcast in the morning the pool area was still probably about 75% full. It looked like a zoo, so we were thankful in that moment to be in Yacht Club. When we entered the buffet and found the coffee station all the coffee mugs were gone. Mike asked a staff member if he could get a mug and he was directed to go all the way to a coffee station at the back of the buffet. This is just an example of the differences we have encountered with service vs. Celebrity. Here on MSC the staff don’t feel like they have been trained on how to go the extra step in solving a service issue. They do their job within the four corners of what they are required to do and nothing more. There are a few exceptions I’m sure but I can’t think of any above and beyond service situation on this cruise that we have experienced. On Celebrity it happens all the time; from the simple friendly hellos in the hallways from staff you don’t even know to the bend-over-backwards-to-meet-your-needs service from the butlers and Luminae staff. 

 

So after Mike got his coffee, we walked back to Yacht Club so he could have a smoke. Since we missed Yacht Club breakfast we decided to go to the brunch they were offering at Butcher’s Cut.  They had promoted it to us when we were there for dinner a few nights before and said that we wouldn’t need a reservation. When we arrived at the restaurant it was totally empty. Only one other table arrived while we were there. It was the same staff who had served us dinner both nights so they remembered us. I was feeling hungry so I ordered both the Country Chicken and Biscuit and the Strawberry French Toast while Mike ordered the Wild Blueberry Pancakes. My items were awesome. The chicken and biscuit were stacked like a sandwich but it was too big to eat that way. Mike’s order was a surprise though. He received three tiny pancakes that looked like they came straight out of the buffet. There was also no blueberry compote on top as described in the menu. He pointed that out to the server who didn’t seem to understand so Mike just dropped it. He was very unhappy though especially when seeing my orders. I told him to call the server back to resolve it but he didn’t want to deal with it so he just ate the pancakes as they were. We’re not sure if that’s the actual size the pancakes were supposed to be or not but I’d recommend avoiding that item on the menu.

 

After eating we went to the casino for awhile. I left when I wasn’t winning much of anything but make managed to rack up several hundred dollars in wins so he kept playing. Back at the room I relaxed for awhile. I popped up to the Yacht Club pool at one point to check out how busy it was as the sun had come bursting out and it was a nice day. Most chairs had towels laid out on them so it looked fairly busy. I also saw kids there for the first time all week, and they had clearly been in the pool and headed for the hot tub. I lost interest at that point and went back downstairs. I wanted some bread in order to have some more of my pesto and tomato paste spreads so I asked Mike to stop at the buffet on the way back to the room to grab me some.

 

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For our final dinner on board Bellissima we reserved L’Atelier Bistrot again as we had enjoyed our meal on the previous visit. We arrived at 7pm to find only one other table occupied. We saw our server Alam from the prior night and he and Putu the server/bartender came over to chat with us. We asked Putu if he remembered how to make our French Martini. He said he did and he went to work on making our first round. Alam said we were not in his section and introduced us to the server who was overseeing that section. He told Alam he could have our table though which was nice. For our appetizers I tried the Quiche Lorraine, which was outstanding, while Mike got the Vichyssoise again. For our main entrees I got the Sole Meuniere with a side of fries and some Roquefort cheese while Mike ordered the Beef Bourguignon with a side of mashed potatoes. Both were excellent but my fish had issues. When I ordered it Alam had asked if I wanted the fish deboned and I said definitely. When it arrived though it was still on the bone. Alam apologized and took the fish back to have it deboned. It took around 10 minutes though so that Mike was more than halfway done by the time it arrived. We were both full from dinner so we decided to skip dessert. Drink service through the meal was a bit slow since Putu was acting as both server and bartender. Overall it was another enjoyable meal and I highly recommend a visit here unless you absolutely cannot stand French food. 

 

After dinner we made our our final visit to the casino to play off our player’s points. You get $5 in free play for every 500 points. I had around 7000 points while Mike had over 8000. We played through the points quickly and then headed back to the cabin to pack. It took us about an hour to pack and after putting the bags out we decided to turn in.

 

(Menu for the Bistrot was posted in my comments about our first visit there.)

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Today was our disembarkation day from Bellissima. We woke up at 6am and then once showered and dressed we finished our last minute packing of our carry on bags. They never dropped our bill off to the cabin like the disembark information said they would so Mike stopped at the concierge desk on his way to get coffee to take care of it. While there the concierge said while we had to vacate our cabin by 8, we could stay on the ship until 10. Mike told him we needed to leave around 8-8:15am. He said for us to come there at 8:15 to be escorted off. We headed up to the Yacht Club Grill once it opened at 7:30am. Mike ordered his usual omelette while I just went with a croissant, some bacon and hash browns. We got to watch the sun rise out of the Mediterranean while we ate; it was a nice way to end our first cruise.

 

Heading back to our room to get our bags at 8 we ran into our butler Jhonny. When we told him about going to the concierge at 8:15, he said that was not necessary and that he could walk us off right then and there. He took my carry on which was heavy and proceeded to walk us to the elevator and then down to 6 where there was a lengthy line to get off the ship. He escorted us past everyone in line and right to the security agent which was a huge time saver. Then he walked us down to the baggage area where our items were all waiting for us. He even helped us bring our bags out to a taxi. We gave him a tip and said farewell as we hopped in our taxi to take us to our hotel in Barcelona for the night between cruises. This was one of the easiest disembarks we’ve ever experienced.

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Thanks very much for your review so far. Appreciate you aren't enjoying the food very much, I'm sorry about that. It's funny, my next-but-one cruise is on Celebrity (first time) whereas I've done several on MSC - interesting to see your perception when the roles are reversed.

 

Enjoy your night in Barcelona and the next leg on Seaview! Hope the food improves for you. Looking forward to your updates and thoughts.

 

I've got a soft spot for Barcelona, I'll be there myself in around 3 weeks. 😄

Edited by Captain-John

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Can't wait to hear from your Part 2. All the food on MSC looked good to me but we all have different tastes.  Have a fun and relaxing double dose of cruising!

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Thank you for the review to date......really enjoying reading it and your photos are fabulous.

Looking forward to hearing your perspective of Seaview. Mike will not have to walk so far for his smoke as there is a very nice area in front of the TSL where you can smoke. I loved this outside area on Seaview. It is also very convenient first thing in the morning to bring back a lovely coffee from the TSL (the butlers will usually insist on carrying it for you).

I hope you have had an enjoyable day and evening in Barcelona.

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Thanks again for this great review.  We're starting to think about packing now (for the Seaview cruise immediately following yours) and had a look at the MSC dress code suggestions – which seem very formal, especially compared to the pictures in your review.  

I went over the dailies that you posted and if I caught everything, you had:

 •  White Party; • Tropical Party; • Gala Night; • Flower Glory Party

Did you feel a need to have special clothes for any of those events?  If you had dined in YC Restaurant on Gala Night, would people have been wearing suits [I'm not going anywhere near a tux, so please don't say you saw those!] or sport coats?

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Have enjoyed reading your very informative review and am looking forward to hearing your opinion of the Seaview.  We are sailing on the Seaview in the YC for our first MSC cruise next May.

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Your review!  What a great way to spend an hour!  We did this itinerary two years ago on Meraviglia and loved it so much, we booked again for Bellissima, debarking from Marseilles on October 19. We had a YC interior on Meraviglia and booked one again but we just bid on a balcony. They offered me $1000 off for a casino discount so bidding for a balcony edges me back to my original price 

 

We are Elite on Princess so got the black card on our first cruise. (We have never sailed on Celebrity).  

 

We had zero complaints about our first MSC cruise so I will be curious to see if the food quality has declined, food being so subjective. We enjoyed Butcher’s Cut and will definitely try Atelier based on your review. Hope the casino is kind to me (it was last time). 

 

We found the service excellent.  We use local providers for excursions as well. And Malta was far away one of the most interesting ports. 

 

In any event, enjoy the next leg!  After our cruise, we are taking the train to Paris for a week, then flying to Vienna for a week for business and pleasure. 

 

Thanks, again!  

 

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13 hours ago, Captain-John said:

 

I've got a soft spot for Barcelona, I'll be there myself in around 3 weeks. 😄

Which cruise are you on? We are on one from Barcelona on the 18th

 

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8 hours ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

Thanks again for this great review.  We're starting to think about packing now (for the Seaview cruise immediately following yours) and had a look at the MSC dress code suggestions – which seem very formal, especially compared to the pictures in your review.  

I went over the dailies that you posted and if I caught everything, you had:

 •  White Party; • Tropical Party; • Gala Night; • Flower Glory Party

Did you feel a need to have special clothes for any of those events?  If you had dined in YC Restaurant on Gala Night, would people have been wearing suits [I'm not going anywhere near a tux, so please don't say you saw those!] or sport coats?

 

We honestly didn’t pay attention to the dress code. Mike wore slacks and a button down shirt each night. I wore slacks or nice jeans with a button down shirt (polo shirt one night) one night and we were fine. Dress around the ship was very casual. On the gala nights (I think there were two?) there were people dressed to the nines but that was maybe 30-40%. We didn’t eat in YC that night so can’t reference about that dining room. I think we were in Butcher’s Cut on one of those nights and maybe 25% of the people there were dressed up. One group of Russians strolled in wearing shorts. The whole ship had an NCL feel to it. Dress however you like. No one will care.

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Forgot to mention one other thing from disembark day. Right before we were going to leave the ship Jhonny dropped off two envelopes for us from the casino. When I opened them later at our hotel I found that we had each earned certificates for 30% off a future MSC cruise plus onboard credit ($250 for me, $275 for Mike). The certificates have to be used for travel within 9 months and can be combined with Voyagers Club discounts for an even greater discount. It’s doubtful we’ll be able to use them though as we already have a May cruise booked on Seaside (another deal from a local casino), and I don’t see us adding a cruise between now and then.

 

Also sharing some random photos from Bellissima that I hadn’t posted yet including from the British pub (we didn’t eat or drink there but it was always busy in the evenings), sushi bar, champagne bar, casino, atrium and main pool (the pool shot was from after docking in Naples and it was still relatively busy out there even on a port day).

 

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1 hour ago, Gordoncruickshank said:

Which cruise are you on? We are on one from Barcelona on the 18th

 

 

We get off Preziosa on the 9th and are in Barcelona for 2 nights before flying back to Auld Reekie. 

 

Are you sailing on Preziosa or Bellissima?

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1 hour ago, Captain-John said:

 

We get off Preziosa on the 9th and are in Barcelona for 2 nights before flying back to Auld Reekie. 

 

Are you sailing on Preziosa or Bellissima?

Preziosa. We fly from Edinburgh as well. Not looking forward to the 6.30am flight

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