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WonderMan3

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

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Following closely now as we will go for our 10th MSC cruise on the Seaview in October.

 

But I better not read the YC menus otherwise I regret that I will notbe able to get this in the MDR :)

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24 minutes ago, WonderMan3 said:

 

If you read through my review you will see that my primary complaints have nothing to do with English being spoken (it has been a barrier though in certain situations). My issues have been over service and food quality and lack of understanding of basic drink orders. I mean, when I cruise with Celebrity I am encountering a whole ship full of international staff who somehow have no issue in making the drinks I request (once in awhile someone might get a little confused but they still try to resolve the issue). so it has nothing to do with me being American and them being international. I suppose much of staff training comes with the kind of experiences they are having with travelers onboard. If they are used to Europeans just ordering beer and wine then an American coming along with a cocktail order is an adjustment for them. I am the customer though. If you have all the ingredients for the drink I want at the bar then I should be able to get what I’m seeking. The proper response from staff should be “Hmmm, I’m not familiar with that. Let me try to help you out and see that you get it.” Not. “We don’t have that.” Or “I don’t know” That has nothing to do with country of origin, that’s just basic service. Personally I do agree that Americans have a different perception of service on cruise lines than Europeans but that’s based on the precedent in service set by Celebrity, Royal, NCL, etc. It’s not that we’re more demanding, as is being implied, it’s that we have been trained to expect more. I suppose if I only ever cruised Carnival in a basic cabin then MSC’s service might seem fine or possibly better. Having cruised with some of the best service people at sea on Celebrity though, I guess I do expect more. I don’t necessarily fault the MSC staff for what they weren’t trained to do but I am allowed to express dissatisfaction over it.

 

 

Really enjoying your review and I can see where simple things that should be easy could be annoying. MSC is making a huge push into the North American market and is trying to expand their business here. They need to be more aware of the likes and dislikes if they’re to be successful regardless of where a ship is cruising from. I will be interested to see how this weeks goes and your overall opinion of this line and the YC. We love Celebrity and realize every cruise lines have their differences. We’re trying NCL’s Haven in a few weeks as they have a ship within driving distance from our home. 

 

Thanks for taking the time to post such a comprehensive review. The photos are absolutely beautiful.

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For me the best part is the ambience of the YC lounge for breakfast, afternoon tea and evening drinks. You don’t seem to spend much time there. I rarely strayed from the YC areas. 

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I don't know what MSC is using for a yardstick [meterstick?] for the Yacht Club [the way every other auto maker uses BMW], since the few other European cruise lines haven't yet gone to 'ship-within-a-ship' areas and in fairness MSC did originally price the YC well below other similar offerings.  But they have chosen to start competing in the luxury [or at least premium] category, so it is fair to judge them by that standard.  In Suite Class on Celebrity, the attitude is almost always to try to get to 'yes.'  On true luxury ships, like Crystal, that is the only standard.  MSC must train their staff this way.  Otherwise the increasing numbers of YC cabins – and especially the forthcoming 'luxury class' all-suite ships – will start sailing empty or at huge discounts.  I don't expect MSC staff to show the 'American' friendliness, but I do expect an orientation to service.  That is what I'm not hearing in WonderMan3's reviews.

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35 minutes ago, Gettingwarmer said:

For me the best part is the ambience of the YC lounge for breakfast, afternoon tea and evening drinks. You don’t seem to spend much time there. I rarely strayed from the YC areas. 

 

This is true. On Bellissima, we were there for boarding day and that was it. We’ve been there multiple times, including today at least 3 times. We like the ambiance of Seaview’s lounge better than Bellissima which felt more rigid. Also, Mike loves the fact that there is the outdoor deck adjacent to the lounge for him to smoke.

Edited by WonderMan3

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1 hour ago, cruisingator2 said:

We’re trying NCL’s Haven in a few weeks as they have a ship within driving distance from our home. 

Last summer we cruised with friends who were in Haven.  We, however were in the AFT balcony cabin right next to their Haven suite.  They had a fabulous cabin and great service from their butler/concierge.  We tagged along with them to a couple of meals in their special restaurant and with them to leave the ship for excursions.  Our cruising experience and theirs were night and day. ie: they had fresh berries everyday, we had none in any restaurant or on the buffet.  If I were to EVER cruise NCL again( doubtful) it would have to be in the Haven.  The price difference between what we both paid was exorbitant however. 

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On Preziosa I I managed to get French Martinis in the YC lounge but they weren’t that good so I reverted to Kir Royales which were on the menu and stuck to them. I loved the food but maybe you are looking for too many American things on this line. When we go on American lines we go with the flow and put up with the American bacon etc. 

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Good evening all:

 

In some ways one might call me one of the MSC "cheerleaders" with 6 happy cruises with them done plus plans for some more even outside the YC; but TBHH, it is also clear for me; and I have no problems on admitting it; that MSC SHOULD carefully to read very attentively this very well written and superbly photo documented review. Why? Well: TBHH; one thing are the obvious cultural differences between the USA and Europe. That is expectable. When us the continental Europeans go on a restaurant, we usually drink wine or beer, not full cocktails. For the cocktails we go on a bar or lounge. That is one thing. But to serve a virgin banana split instead of say an alcoholic mudslide on the rocks is a quite different sort of thing!... And realistically speaking regarding the MSC's entrance on the luxury or at least premium market, it seems to me that @Host Jazzbeau has said it all!... If MSC wants to have a significant share on that market... They need to abide by that market standards. No more, no less. Otherwise; empty cabins, huge discounts, more services cutbacks. It is a vicious cycle.

 

Have a nice day!... 🙂

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1 hour ago, Gettingwarmer said:

When we go on American lines we go with the flow and put up with the American bacon etc. 

But American Bacon is delicious. : )  The bacon served on the cruise lines I've been on is not the brand of bacon I buy at home.  I buy artisan bacon. Bacon on the cruise is overly salty and at times pretty fatty.   I'm pretty sure most of the American cruise lines have English back bacon too? 

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I love experiencing and submerging in different cultures and find some of those differences to be fascinating. But as Wonderman has pointed out, good service is good service, regardless of the culture. Indifference and dismissive behaviors by those in the service industry should be addressed, in this case by MSC. Look at how many people have viewed this review. Some may dismiss Wonderman’s observations as simply Americanized complaining while others, specifically Americans like myself who are considering a change, may view it as significant enough to pass on trying the product. Admittedly, I will carefully consider the OPs remarks but will ultimately decide for myself with first hand experience. But MSC should pay attention bc with over 12,000 views thus far, many could decide not to take the chance and move on. 

Wonderman, you have my continued gratitude for taking the time to write this review. 

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So last night proved tough for sleeping due to the motion of the ship. I think part of the problem may be our position on the ship being so far up (Deck 18) and forward. It wasn’t bad where stuff was sliding around but it was a constant bouncing kind of like mild airplane turbulence. Add to that we had a whistling wind coming through our balcony door. I went to the door at one point and pushed to see if something was just not aligning correctly. Because it was pitch black out and sounded horrible I didn’t want to try and open the door and then shut it again in the middle of the night in case a huge gust of wind was to blow in. So I left it until the morning but the noise contributed to us both tossing and turning (I could hear it even with my ear plugs in). When we finally got up at 9am the ship was still rocking and the wind sound still loud. Since it was light out I looked out and saw it actually didn’t look that bad on the water. I went to unlock the door and found that it actually wasn’t locked, hence the reason it wasn’t sealing right. I felt a little stupid not having figured that out the night before. I assume that the butler or room attendant had opened the door to access the balcony and forgotten to Iock it after turn down. I know we had it locked when we were in the room prior to that because we were still there when we sailed out of Barcelona harbor into open water when the wind picked up and the seas started to bounce. We would have heard that whistling from the door right at that point. So we’re feeling a little tired today after having a not fully restful sleep. The bed was very comfortable though. Kudos to MSC with their mattresses!

 

By the time we were showered and dressed at 10am we had missed breakfast at the YC dining room. Mike went up for a smoke at the YC Grill and said there was a wicked wind up there and was just too blustery to sit up there and eat. He talked to the grill chef who turned out to be our chef from Teppanyaki last night. He told Mike that someone could bring any food we selected from the buffet back down to our room for us. So he came back to get me. He was right about how windy it was. A few brave souls were determined to have their breakfast at the Grill tables despite the wind whipping all around them and the pool sloshing about sending some spray around. We each ordered omelettes from the chef and then selected some other items from the buffet. We covered each of our plates with another plate to prevent the wind from blowing food off. I told Mike we could manage getting the plates back to the room ourselves; there was no need to impose on the staff. So we did just that. We had juices and water in our mini bar so that took care of drinks. We ate at our couch and it was a very comfortable breakfast en suite! The omelettes were good but the waffle I got was very hard. 

 

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13 hours ago, Georgia_Peaches said:

I love experiencing and submerging in different cultures and find some of those differences to be fascinating. But as Wonderman has pointed out, good service is good service, regardless of the culture. Indifference and dismissive behaviors by those in the service industry should be addressed, in this case by MSC. Look at how many people have viewed this review. Some may dismiss Wonderman’s observations as simply Americanized complaining while others, specifically Americans like myself who are considering a change, may view it as significant enough to pass on trying the product. Admittedly, I will carefully consider the OPs remarks but will ultimately decide for myself with first hand experience. But MSC should pay attention bc with over 12,000 views thus far, many could decide not to take the chance and move on. 

Wonderman, you have my continued gratitude for taking the time to write this review. 

 

I just read that MSC has received approval to build a new double terminal in Miami capable of handling two 7,000 passenger ships at a time.  We can discuss if it is reasonable to expect MSC to tailor it's product to American expectations in the Mediterranean, but if MSC expects to be successful in Miami they will need to find a way to address most of Wonderman's observations.  I may decide not to try MSC but I'm glad they are coming to Florida market if they can help keep the cruise prices reasonable.

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Continuing with Sunday...

 

After breakfast we had over an hour until we had to meet for our tour on Corsica. Since it was lousy weather out we couldn’t go up to the top deck so we just relaxed in the cabin. We knew we wouldn’t be out of the cabin until noon and I figured the butler and room attendant were waiting to get in the room. What I didn’t know at the time was that Mike had already given Stanis a heads up that we wouldn’t be leaving until around noon. When it got close to noon Mike went to smoke at the lounge’s outside deck and I told him I’d meet him there. This next part I want to explain very carefully so what transpired as a reaction to it is clearly understood. 

 

As I left the cabin to go meet Mike I was startled because Stanis was standing against the wall directly across from the cabin with a miserable look on his face. I said “hello” and that we were leaving the cabin now so they were free to do what they needed to do. I was about to ask Stanis a question when he just started walking down the hall towards his cleaning equipment. Mind you there was no reaction to my greeting, just silence. He was going the direction I had to go so I just followed him and let him know that there was an issue with the toilet. It had been a low flush since we got to the cabin but the night before it had turned into a flush with a 30 second delay. We thought the toilet might be heading for a breakdown and them to be aware. When I raised the issue to him I was met again with silence. I continued on explaining the issues with the flushing. He continued to go about getting his cleaning items and totally ignoring me. I was getting irritated at this point so I said to him “hello” and he turned my way and asked him if he was okay with this. Again, he said nothing and just walked with his things back down the hall and quietly said “goodbye”.  I was dumbfounded. Never in all my years of cruising had I had a staff member be so blatantly disrespectful. I wasn’t going to confront him about it though as I realized it would go nowhere with his  current demeanor. I have to imagine that he was annoyed that we left the room so late although when I arrived to the lounge and told Mike the story he revealed that he had already given the butler a heads up on our departure time so it was not a surprise to him. At that point Mike and I discussed it and made the decision to speak to the head butler about this. In all of our many cruises with a variety of butlers and room attendants this was the first time we had felt uncomfortable enough to raise an issue to a supervisor. We were already feeling a bit iffy about him based on our first introduction when he seemed very disinterested and acted like he couldn’t wait to get out of the cabin. He also never gave us a full introductory tour of our cabin like they did on Bellissima. So I’m not sure what his problem with us was as we had only been pleasant and made like one request since we arrived for some extra waters. The head butler is Kamil. He was working in the lounge checking off names for shore excursion departures. We didn’t want to disturb his work with this issue now so we just asked if he was available to speak when we came back from our excursion. He said he was and to just go to the concierge desk and they would page him.

 

With that behind us for the moment we sat and waited for our Corsica excursion to depart. This was the one and only MSC excursion we booked called “Discover the Calanques”. It was an approximately 5 hour tour that would take us out to visit the Calanques of Piena which are massive red rock cliffs along the ocean. Our meeting time was 12:05 but we did not leave until 12:35. MSC has a great perk for being in Yacht Club in that they give you priority boarding for your excursion bus. You go to the YC lounge to wait for your tour to leave and then a butler escorts the people in your group (possibly multiple groups) out of the ship to the buses. It’s supposed to put you first on the buses but somehow it didn’t work out exactly correct as when we got to our bus there were already 10-12 people onboard who were not YC guests. The bulk of the tour group members then showed up after us YC people, so Inhabe to assume that the people on the bus first must’ve left their meeting point on the ship early once they had their stickers and went down to the bus. Kind of defeats the concept of YC getting first priority but oh well. 

 

We have been avoiding cruise ship tours in Europe for years now and prefer to take private tours. I can’t remember now why I booked this with the ship but I know it was the only MSC tour I liked the sound of from any of our ports. Once the tour was under way we remembered why we stopped booking ship tours. We had around 50 people in the group. There were two guides as we had a combined group of English and Spanish speakers. So one guide would give a dialogue in English and then the other guide would follow with a dialogue in Spanish. This became very irritating. I have never been on a tour that was mixed language. If I had known this tour was going to be set up like that it I would not have booked it. It’s not a problem with Spanish being spoken it’s that half our guide’s time on the tour had to be in silence waiting for the other guide to speak. The bus had cramped legroom which is the only reason I appreciated the two otherwise unnecessary restroom stops (the first on the way out for 30 min with refreshments, and the second on the return for 10 min). We also made an unplanned stop for another 10 minutes on the side of the road on a mountain as a passenger was feeling carsick. Special note if you take this tour. If you get motion sick easily you should definitely take a Dramamine before the tour as you go along a lot of winding mountain roads. Total time going out was 2.5 hrs including the 40 minutes for stops. We only had 30 minutes at the viewpoint stop to see the calanques. Then it was 2 hours back including the stop. You do get some magnificent views of the Calanques from the bus for about 10 minutes each way in and out of the viewpoint stop too. The Calanques themselves were absolutely magnificent and this is a must see for Corsica. I would highly recommend booking a private tour if you can though as you’ll spend less time making pit stops and you’ll be able to stop at viewpoints the bus could not.

 

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Upon returning from our Corsica excursion we dropped off our stuff at the cabin and went to the concierge desk to page Kamil. He met us in the lounge and we talked to him about how we were feeling uncomfortable with Stanis’ service and wished to have a new butler assigned. I described the service issues I saw and Kamil said they would make the change and apologized. We also made sure to mention that his assistant Solange has been just wonderful, always smiling and friendly and chit chatting, so we wanted to continue to have her services. We then started chatting about the ship and how we had just been on Bellissima and how we were already starting to feel a bit more like for Seaview after only about a day onboard. The friendliness and service has definitely been better in this Yacht Club than on Bellissima. Many of the staff on that ship seemed either on edge or unhappy. The staff on Seaview seem much more relaxed. I wonder if it’s because Bellissima is the newest ship and the staff are under much more scrutiny? Anyway, we thanked Kamil and then hung out in the lounge a bit in the outside deck with some cocktails. The cocktails on the Yacht Club bar menu have not been very good (like the Blue on Blue or their version of the Mai Tai) so going forward we’ll stick with standard cocktails we know they can make. The lounge itself is very comfortable with friendly servers. The atmosphere just feels more inviting than Bellissima’s. 

 

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After finishing our cocktails we walked upstairs to the YC dining room to take a peek at their menu to see if their was anything we wanted for dinner. We found a few things so we headed back to the cabin to get ready for dinner. While we were preparing a knock came at the door and a friendly looking fellow named Nonnant (I think I’m spelling it correctly) introduced himself as our new butler. He checked in on a few issues like the toilet which he said they had addressed while we were out for the day. He then gave us gifts from Kamil, two MSC thermos mugs. I thanked him and told him we would let him know if we needed anything. He didn’t get to meet Mike at the time so he Honnant actually showed up at the YC dining room during our meal and introduced himself and brought us the Daily Planner for the next day which was nice but odd. We thanked him and told him he could leave it in the cabin at turndown. We guessed he was trying extra hard because of our prior butler experience and now the staff probably flagged us a being “difficult” a la Elaine on Seinfeld. 😄😄

 

Dinner this night was probably the best of our meals at Yacht Club on either ship so far. The service was very good. Our server took our drink orders and when we he didn’t recognize them (Mike wanted a White Russian and I wanted a Vodka and cranberry) he asked if he could write them down to share with the bartender. The bartender knew what a White Russian was though so no issues. For the meal we both started with the Tuscan Soup, which was tasty, then Mike followed with an order of pasta in tomato sauce while I had the Fennel Risotto, which we both liked, and then for the main entree we both had the Chicken Oscar, which was mediocre; we expected the crab to be laid on top of a chicken breast in hollandaise not to be what looked like a processed chicken roll. For dessert, Mike had some sorbet while I had the Black Forest cherry gateau which was tasty. Desserts have been the thing that I think MSC has been most consistent with.

 

After dinner we closed the evening out with our nightly visit to the casino where we both had some nice wins but still finished down for the night. So far we are not liking this casino as much as Bellissima as it smaller and more compact so it feels much more crowded and noisy and the smoke is very noticeable.

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On ‎9‎/‎22‎/‎2019 at 6:06 AM, WonderMan3 said:

We had a dinner reservation for 8pm at the Teppanyaki restaurant which conveniently is on deck 16 just around the corner from Yacht Club. We wound up being one of only two couples dining in the entire restaurant which was odd. That couple was Dutch but speaking English and chose to sit on the complete opposite side of the table from where we were which indicated to us that they had zero interest in socializing with us. They went on and on chatting and laughing with the head server but were cold as ice to us. Not that we were looking to make new friends but in prior visits to hibachi style restaurants it tends to be a social

Sorry the other dining couple didn't seem to want to be social.  Probably a good thing.  You two seem to be able to find the good in so much.  My husband and I would have had dinner with you two and we would have thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Hope the rest of the cruise goes GREAT!!

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On 9/22/2019 at 11:35 AM, WonderMan3 said:

If they are used to Europeans just ordering beer and wine then an American coming along with a cocktail order is an adjustment for them. I am the customer though. If you have all the ingredients for the drink I want at the bar then I should be able to get what I’m seeking. The proper response from staff should be “Hmmm, I’m not familiar with that. Let me try to help you out and see that you get it.” Not. “We don’t have that.” Or “I don’t know” That has nothing to do with country of origin, that’s just basic service.

It may very well have something to do with American vs European culture and service expectations.  In my experience (and I may be an outlier) I have found very different service paradigms, especially in restaurants and bars, in the US vs Europe.  Your experience is a prefect example.  Service providers in the US tend to respond to a customer issue with a "so sorry, let me see if I can fix that for you" attitude.  In Europe that's less often the case.  In the US the waiter approaches your table and introduces himself "Hello I'm Donny and I'll be serving you today".  In my experience that is not the norm in most of Europe.  There the waiter is not trying to be your friend, is paid a good wage to do a specific job, isn't dependent on tips and does not see himself as "at you service" (i.e. no served/servant relationship).  I know, I know, at tourist oriented destinations European waiters often introduce themselves - but this is for the sake of the American patrons.  

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9 hours ago, ipeeinthepool said:

 

I just read that MSC has received approval to build a new double terminal in Miami capable of handling two 7,000 passenger ships at a time.  We can discuss if it is reasonable to expect MSC to tailor it's product to American expectations in the Mediterranean, but if MSC expects to be successful in Miami they will need to find a way to address most of Wonderman's observations.  I may decide not to try MSC but I'm glad they are coming to Florida market if they can help keep the cruise prices reasonable.

It does make me wonder whether MSC's foray into the Caribbean is actually targeting American cruisers or Europeans cruising that area. I would agree that if they are targeting Americans, they have room for improvement, but maybe we aren't their primary target - even in the Caribbean? 

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1 minute ago, mnocket said:

It does make me wonder whether MSC's foray into the Caribbean is actually targeting American cruisers or Europeans cruising that area. I would agree that if they are targeting Americans, they have room for improvement, but maybe we aren't their primary target - even in the Caribbean? 

 

If Americans aren't the primary target for several large ships leaving for the Caribbean from Miami, then MSC needs a new business plan.

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2 minutes ago, mnocket said:

It does make me wonder whether MSC's foray into the Caribbean is actually targeting American cruisers or Europeans cruising that area. I would agree that if they are targeting Americans, they have room for improvement, but maybe we aren't their primary target - even in the Caribbean? 

 

European cruise lines that don't target Americans in the Caribbean wouldn't be building a large terminal in Miami.  They could avoid some US regulations by basing on e.g. a French island and only visiting US ports as day stops [Ponant does this].

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39 minutes ago, mnocket said:

It may very well have something to do with American vs European culture and service expectations.  In my experience (and I may be an outlier) I have found very different service paradigms, especially in restaurants and bars, in the US vs Europe.  Your experience is a prefect example.  Service providers in the US tend to respond to a customer issue with a "so sorry, let me see if I can fix that for you" attitude.  In Europe that's less often the case.  In the US the waiter approaches your table and introduces himself "Hello I'm Donny and I'll be serving you today".  In my experience that is not the norm in most of Europe.  There the waiter is not trying to be your friend, is paid a good wage to do a specific job, isn't dependent on tips and does not see himself as "at you service" (i.e. no served/servant relationship).  I know, I know, at tourist oriented destinations European waiters often introduce themselves - but this is for the sake of the American patrons.  

Loving your review but I think the majority of differences you are experiencing are cultural differences.

As Mnocket said waiters in the UK and Europe do Not tend to incessantly hover over you, chat to you or try and become your “friend”. Thankfully this would be classed as extremely rude and poor service. 

Also regarding the Dutch couple THEY would have probably thought it very rude if the had been in the restaurant first and you had sat next to them. They would be there to dine not make friends. Heck I would have found it weird if the whole restaurant was empty and someone sat next to me.

 

I don’t think a lot is poor service although I agree you have had a few minor issues but in the main you have just been experiencing a different service model. 😀

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24 minutes ago, pinkpanther52 said:

 

I don’t think a lot is poor service although I agree you have had a few minor issues but in the main you have just been experiencing a different service model. 😀

 

If MSC continues to use the "service model" that Wonderman experienced for the cruises in the Caribbean, they will fail.

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